How To Add Watermark in PDF in PDFpen

Add watermark to PDF. Is it one of those things you’d like to figure out how to do but have put off because you imagine it’s complicated and you don’t have time to learn something new?

Well…do you have five minutes?

Watermarking a PDF is actually really simple. If you already have an image you’d like to imprint over a document—your company logo, for example—turning that into a watermark takes less than a minute.

In this article, we’ll show you how to add watermarks to PDFs in PDFpen.

But first, here’s a quick intro to watermarks and why you’d want to watermark PDF documents in the first place.

What is a watermark on a PDF document?

Ever stumble upon a document with “DO NOT COPY” written over it? That’s a watermark. It’s a specific type of watermark—a text imprint as opposed to an image.

You can basically turn anything—including a drawing you make using PDFpen’s drawing tools—into a watermark.

Watermarks can be applied to all pages of a document, one selected page, or a range of pages. 

Commonly used text watermarks include:

  • Restrictions, such as Do Not Copy, Internal Use Only 
  • Document status information, such as Paid, Draft, Confidential, Final Copy, Approved
  • Owner or recipient identification, such as a company name or a unique code 

The most commonly used image watermarks are company logos.

Why watermark a PDF

Watermarks are generally used to prevent the mishandling of documents.

In 5 PDF Errors That Could Cost You Your Job, we discussed how, in many industries, professionals have access to inside information that they can’t make public until a certain date.

But sometimes, due to a lack of organization or a breakdown in communication,  these agreements are broken.

A simple way to prevent this is to watermark PDF files. A PDF document with an Embargoed until… watermark makes it clear that the content is to be kept confidential until a certain date.

Watermarks can also be used to trace document distribution. For example, a PDFpen user, Mark, watermarks his CVs to identify the agencies that sent them, as he explains below:

“In the past, I’ve needed to send out my CV as a PDF to different agencies, but then they would broadcast fax my CV to facilities where I might already be working, irritating the agency with whom I’ve already contracted. Custom watermarking the PDF allows me to attribute to which agency the CV came from.”

Some organizations create unique codes for document recipients and watermark the PDF files accordingly. 

Note: High-security watermarking is complex and involves adding transparent, nearly impossible-to-remove imprints on PDFs. PDFpen’s watermarking capabilities are limited in that the watermarks are visible and can be removed with the use of a PDF editor. 

How to add watermark in PDF  

To add watermark in PDF, follow these steps:

1. Open a PDF in PDFpen

2. Add text, an image, or a drawing to the document

To add text, use the Text tool in the toolbar

To add an image, choose File > Insert


To add a drawing, use the drawing tools in the toolbar

Text imprint created using the Text tool in PDFpen.
Text imprint created using the Text tool in PDFpen.

3. Scale and format the imprint

4. With the imprint selected, choose Edit > Watermark > Convert to Watermark

Convert to watermark dialog in PDFpen.
Convert to watermark dialog in PDFpen.

5. Choose how and where you want the watermarks to appear

Opacity refers to the degree of transparency. The default is set to 100%, which means no transparency.

Rotation refers to the direction of the text. To display a watermark diagonally, choose 45 degrees.

Watermark set to 20% opacity and 45 degrees rotation
Watermark set to 20% opacity and 45 degrees rotation

Tip: If you make a mistake, use Ctrl or Command+Z to start over.

How to remove watermark from PDF

You can remove a watermark from any page or range of pages:  

  1. Open the sidebar and choose Thumbnails.
  2. Select the thumbnails of the pages you want to remove watermarks from or Shift+Click to select all.
  3. Choose Edit > Watermark > Remove Watermark from Selected Pages

Your turn: Add watermark in PDF

In this article, we covered:

  • What is a watermark on a PDF document?
  • Why watermark a PDF
  • How to add watermark in PDF
  • How to remove watermark from PDF

Now’s your turn to apply what you learned. If you don’t have PDFpen yet, you can download a 30-day free trial to test watermarks and other useful security features.