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 document. 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 Google 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.

Images, Text, and Google Docs

As you can see, there are several ways to add backgrounds to Google Docs, you just have to get creative sometimes. Even though the image quality might suffer, it gets the job done and Google will hopefully improve on that problem soon.

10 thoughts on “How to Put an Image Behind Text in Google Docs”

Jana says:
The first option didn’t work for me. 🙁
Mariano says:
Hi, the image/text looks pixelated when doing this (insert>drawing). Any setting I might be missing? Thanks
Mone says:
@Mariano No there is no setting you are missing. A drawing is always lesser quality in Google Docs. Therefore when you turn your document into a drawing it becomes less quality.

It is in the code, probably two different teams who didn’t think this up together…

Yves Leroux says:
Inserting text as an image is so very awkward compared to other software. You really want to move and resize the picture around as a background.
Morgan says:
Copy your text, select Insert>Drawing> new. then paste your text into the drawing and hit “save and close”. Now your text is in image form and you can take the image you want for a background, make it transparent, and put it over your text.
Gabriel says:
Thank you! Very useful.

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