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This is the scrooge's quick and dirty method. Others will give you methods using tools that cost lots of money (maybe even thousands of dollars). I couldn't afford them, so I had to find a quick and dirty cheap method.

I used Excel 97 to do this. (My workplace hasn't updated yet!) I'm told this function has disappeared from later versions. By all means, experiment, but I guarantee this to work only with Excel 97.

See an example

A watermark is just a low contrast, low brightness background. So you need a method to create one. Well, it just so happens that Microsoft Excel has a watermark function that can be applied to any graphic that gets pasted onto an Excel spreadsheet. Very handy.

I use it in conjunction with Paintshop Pro - which is about 5 times cheaper than Photoshop. (Hey, I'd love to own Photoshop, but I can't afford it!)


To use these two programs to make a watermark background for a web page, here's how:

1. Open Excel with a sheet that has no gridlines ( Tools/Options/View, then deselect Gridlines);

2. Switch to Paintshop Pro;

3. Open the graphic you want to use as your watermark (in Paintshop Pro);

4. Copy it (Control C);

5. Switch to Excel;

6. Paste (Control V);
(The graphic will now be on your Excel spreadsheet. It will be selected - ie you will be able to see its handles and the Picture palette will be displayed.)

7. If the graphic's background colour is different to that of the spreadsheet, select the Set Transparent Colour tool on the Picture palette and make the background (of the pic you just inserted) transparent;

8. Make sure the graphic is still selected (it's handles are showing) and click the Image Control Tool on the Picture palette;

9. Select Watermark from the list. (The graphic will now be low contrast, low brightness);

10. Select a range of cells so that the watermark is in the right location relative to your plans for it in NOF;

[Note: You'll have to experiment here. Make it about 1200 wide and deep enough so that when it tiles, it doesn't repeat more than you want it to. 1200x800 is a good size to start with.]

11. Copy the range you just selected (Control C);

12. Switch to Paintshop Pro;

13. Paste. (Control V);

14. Save As in whatever format you want (probably jpg) to a convenient place in your Assets folder;

15. Run the jpg through Ulead Smartsaver or some other compression utility to make it no more than, say, 9kb in size;

16. Use it as your background in NOF.

[Note: If you want a background colour, then before you do Step 6, create a box in Excel, double click it, select it's fill colour (from the full palette that is available for boxes), size it as big as the graphic you are about to create - maybe 1200x800, THEN do Step 6 ie paste your desired watermark grahic over the box.]

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