How To Put An Image Behind Text In Google Docs

Google Docs is the cloud-based word processing system offered by Google. Despite its many virtues, Docs does have a downside: it has a relatively limited feature set. Unlike Microsoft Word, which has a behemoth feature list, Google Docs focuses on doing a few basic things and doing them well. For 99% of users 99% of the time, this is more than sufficient. However, sometimes, you need Google Docs to have features, and in those moments, it can let you down.

One feature many users wish Google Docs would provide is the ability to add backgrounds. Unfortunately, Docs does not support background images in your documents directly. However, there are a few workarounds that will let you add a background image to Docs, and in this article, I will show you how.

Top Three Google Docs Workarounds to Add Images behind Text

There are at least three ways of adding a background image to your Google Docs file. If you have other suggestions or approaches, then, by all means, share them with us in the comments section at the end of this article!

Three Workarounds to Add Image Behind Text in Google Docs includes:

  • Use Microsoft Word to add the background image, then adjust the image transparency when you import the file into Docs.

  • Use Google Slides to add the image.

  • Use Google Docs by utilizing the Drawings feature.

Let’s break these three options down.

Option 1: Use Microsoft Word to add Google Docs Background

The MS Word method requires you to have a licensed copy of Microsoft Word through the Retail package, Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365), or the free Office Online software.

  1. Create your document in Google Docs with the text (but without the background images) and other elements that you want for your final document.

  2. Copy the contents of your Docs document and paste it into a Word document or save the file as a .docx file (most accurate) by choosing “File -> Download as -> Microsoft Word (.docx).”

  3. Open the .docx file in Word and select “Insert > Picture” from the main ribbon.

  4. Choose your picture in the File Explorer popup window and select “Insert.” Your picture now appears in the Word document.

  5. Right-click on the picture and select “Wrap Text -> In Front of Text” because Google Docs doesn’t support the “Behind Text” option.

  6. Save the Word file and close Word.

  7. Go back into Google Docs and select “File -> Open.” Choose “Upload” and select the Word file that you just saved. The image gets inserted into Google Docs.

  8. Right-click on the image and select “Image Options.” Adjust the transparency slider to your needs, then save your doument. You now have (sort of) a background image in your Docs document.

Option 2: Use Google Slides to add Google Docs Background

Another option for creating a simple document with a background image using just Google tools is to utilize Google Slides. This option works well when you don’t need a lot of text and don’t need editable text unless you include some around the image.

  1. Create a new blank presentation in Google Slides.

  2. From your blank slide document, click on “File -> Page Setup,” then choose Custom and set the height to fit within your Google Docs page. Adjust sizes based on margin settings, so 11″ width is 9″ with 1″ margins.

  3. Click on the “Slide” tab and choose “Change Background.”

  4. In the “Background” dialog box of Google Slides, click on “Choose Image.” Browse your computer for the image you want to add and click on “Open.” Once the image is uploaded, click on “Done.”

  5. Repeat the steps above for each Goodle Slides page, then add text boxes and paste your Google Docs content.

  6. Once you’re done placing and editing text, take a screenshot of the slide. Then, open a new Google Docs document and insert the image. It’s not editable text, but it works. Adjust image size if needed.

Option 3: Use the Drawings feature in Docs to add a Background

If you prefer to stick with Google Docs to create your background image under text, you have to use the “Drawings” feature and add text boxes.

  1. In your current Docs file, position the cursor and select “Insert -> Drawing -> + New.”

  2. Click the “Image” button and select the file you want to use as a background.

  3. Change the transparency of your image if you need to by clicking on the “pencil” icon and clicking on “Transparent.”

  4. Select the “Add Text Box” button and place the text box where you want your foreground text to appear. Next, type in the foreground text, setting its font, color, and size as you prefer. Presto, instant background image!

Using the steps above, you may need to fiddle with your images and get the text to match existing content. This technique is better for very simple text overlays than a transparent background image on a standard text document, but it works.

As you can see, there are ways to add backgrounds to Google Docs, just not in ordinary ways. You sacrifice features, but it works until Google decides to add more features.

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