In today’s article, you’ll learn the step by step process to change or add a page or background color in Microsoft Word.
Whether you want to color only one page, half a page, or all the pages with different colors, this guide will teach you how exactly to do it.
You’ll also learn the setting that will allow you to print the page color in Word.
Without any further ado, let’s get started.
How to add or change page color in Word
Adding and changing background colors is done mostly by designers. Even though Microsoft Word isn’t a graphic design software, there are several reasons why you may want to change the background color of a page.
Note: Microsoft Word doesn’t print the pages’ background color by default. You’ll have to instruct Word to do so through some settings. In a jiffy, I’ll show you how to print pages with the background color in Word.
To change page color in Word, go to the Design tab (or Page Layout for Word 2010) and click Page Color in the Page Background group. From the palette of colors that appears, click to choose the color you wish to add to the pages. If you can’t find the color you want, click on More Colors.
You can also change different page colors for each page, or for only one page. However, this task can’t be achieved with the Page Color tool. I’ll soon show you how to make this happen.
Note that these steps will teach you how to add color to all the pages in your Word document. Adding color to one page or different colors for different pages will come later in this article.
For more details on this one, obey the following step by step instructions with pictures.
- Go to the Design tab (for Word 2013, 2016 and 2019 or Office 365).
If you are on Word 2010 or earlier, you won’t see the Design tab. Instead, you should go to the Page Layout tab.
- In the Page Background group, click on Page Color.
- The Color Palette will appear with lots of colors. Select the color you wish to apply to the pages.
As soon as you select the desired color, all the pages in the document will change to the color you choose.
Using Standard Colors & More Colors
Looking at the Page Color palette, there are two categories of colors. The Theme Colors category and the Standard Colors category.
- Use the colors under Theme Colors if you want your page background color to vary when you change the document theme.
- Use the colors under the Standard Colors group if you don’t want your page background to change when you change themes.
- Use the More Colors option if you don’t find the color you want in the Standard Colors category. This will display the Colors dialog box with more different colors for you to choose from.
Changing Page Color on Mac OS
For mac users, if you want to change the page color in Word, go to the Design tab and click on the Page Color button, then select the color you wish to apply to the pages. Click on the More Colors button if you don’t find the color that will fit the pages.
The steps for this task are the same for both the Mac and Windows version of Microsoft Word.
How to remove Page Background Color in Word
You can also remove the page’s background color is you don’t need it anymore.
To remove background color in Word, go to the Design tab (or Page Layout for Word 2010), in the Page Background group, select the Page Color drop-down button. Then click No Color. This will remove the pages’ background-color leaving the default blank page color.
For a more step by step guide on this task, obey the following instructions with screenshots.
- Go to the Design tab (For Word 2013 and later) or Page Layout tab for Word 2010.
- In the Page Background category, select the Page Color drop-down button.
- Near the bottom of the drop-down, select No Color.
This will remove the background color of the page leaving the default blank background color.
How to print background color in Word
Depending on the color you choose as your background, printing a background in Microsoft Word can waste so much ink or create a mess. Just to let you know.
Word doesn’t print page background colors by default. If you want it to print, you need to enable the Print background colors and images checkbox.
To print page background color in Word, go to File > Options. In the Display category, select the Print background colors and images check box, then click the OK button to apply the changes. Now press Ctrl+P on your keyboard to print the document with the background.
Different colors for different pages
Officially, there’s no feature in Microsoft Word yet that allows you to apply different background colors to different pages. However, you can make it happen the hard way.
To change page color for one page or different colors for different pages in Word, insert a rectangular shape and resize it to the same height and width of the page, position the shape to fill the page, and then fill it with the color that you want. Right-click on the shape and change the Wrap Text setting to Behind Text.
For a more detailed steps, obey the following instructions:
Step 1: Set the view option to Multiple Pages
Multiple pages allow you to view more than one page on the screen at the same time. This way, you can simultaneously view and work with as many pages as you want.
To view multiple pages at the same time in Word:
- Go to the View tab.
- In the Zoom group, click on the Multiple Pages button.
As soon as you hit on this button, you’ll see the pages resize and display multiple pages on your screen.
If you still want to view even more pages, reduce the zoom percentage by using the zoom control on the bottom right corner of Microsoft Word.
Step 2: Insert a rectangle shape
To insert a shape in Word:
- Go to the Insert tab.
- In the Illustration group, click on the Shapes drop-down.
- Under the Rectangles category, click to select the rectangle shape.
- Go to the page that will have a different background color and draw the rectangle shape on it.
- Resize the shape to fill the entire page.
Step 3: Fill the shape with the color you want.
To fill a shape with a color:
- Click to select the shape.
- The Drawing Tools > Format tab will appear. In the Shape Styles group, select the Shape Fill drop-down and select the color you wish to apply to the page.
As soon as you select the color, it’ll fill the entire shape.
Step 4: Make the colored shape the background of the page
After you apply all the above steps, you might have noticed that the shape appears to cover all the content on the page. This is not what you want.
The ideal way is to send the shape behind the text. To do so:
- Right-click on the shape.
- Go to Wrap Text > Behind Text.
This setting will send the shape behind the text on the page.
You’ll now see the shape as the background color of the page.
Do this to all the pages whose background color you want to be different.
If you want to make different background colors for more than one page in your Word document, just copy and paste the rectangle shape and position it to fit the other pages, then fill them with the colors of your choice.
Color half a page in Word
You may also want to color half a page in Word.
This need often arise when you want to design something like a flyer or brochure in Microsoft Word.
As there is no page design feature that can allow you this option, you can creatively use the shapes method to layout and design a single page with different colors.
To add color to half a page in Word, insert a rectangular shape using the Insert tab. Then resize the shape to fill half of the page. Now change the color of the shape and also make sure you use Wrap Text > Behind Text to make the text appear on top.
It’s very easy to apply any color to all the pages in your Word document.
However, adding or change the color of some pages (or a single page) is a piece of work. The easiest way is to use the shape method. Its disadvantage is that it requires more work on your part.
For any question or suggestion, please let me know in the comment section below.