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The better Word striped border page or sign

A better way to make a Microsoft Word sign or page with a diagonally striped border which gets around the problems of using a page background and gives more flexibility.

In short, add the striped border as image in the document itself, expanded to fill the whole page and moved to the bottom layer ‘Behind Text’.  That image can be moved around so the stripes appear exactly ‘right’.  Then add a text box or what else you like on top of the page/image.

Striped image over the entire page

Happily, there’s another way to get the striped border look which bypasses the limitation of using a standard page background by letting you control exactly where the stripes are on the page.

Here’s one final result, notice how the stripes are positioned in the top left and bottom right corners? Instead of having blank/white at the corners. That’s because this method gives greater control over the background or edge image placement on the page.

First – find the striped image you want.  There are many options for color and thickness of the stripes.   We prefer using SVG graphics (in Word 365 and Word 2019/2021/LTSC) because they are scalable.

Insert ‘Behind Text’

Insert the image into a blank page then change the Layout Options to ‘Behind Text’.  That ensures any other content will appear over the pattern.

Then expand the image so it fills the entire page.  An image can be expanded beyond the page edge then moved in small steps with the left/right arrows so the positioning is exactly as you want. 

Add text box

Insert a text box to go over the page background.

  • Resize the box to show as much or little of the border stripes as you like.
    • The faint green guidelines will help center the box on the page both vertically and horizontally.
  • Change the text box fill color to match the lighter background color at Shape Format | Shape Fill.  Knowing the exact color code (Hex or RGB) of the background helps make an exact match.
  • Change the Shape Format | Text | Align Text to Middle.
  • Add whatever text, graphics or image you like to the text box.

Page Background shortcomings

We’ve already shown how to make a striped border for a Word document using a picture as the page background.  That’s works fine for most people and it simple to do.  However, the more fussy details oriented of us have problems with the page background approach.

Word’s page background doesn’t allow modern SVG graphics (Why? Who knows?) which is annoying because SVG’s a great for patterns and don’t lose quality when expanded to fit across a whole page. 

There’s also no control over the exact positioning of the image on the page.  See the top left corner of this example … some designers would prefer the corner to be the black stripe instead of the yellow.  With page background there’s no way to move the image around the page so it looks exactly right.

The picture page background is hard to accidentally change which is a consideration if the sign is shared with others who are less confident in Word.  They can change the wording of the sign without worrying about how the border effect is made.

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