One of my readers, Edwin, asked me if it was possible to insert a watermark into a group of merged cells in his Excel worksheet. He actually wanted a comment in there but wanted it to be constant and stay behind any entered text.
Excel does not provide this sort of capability but there are some workarounds that I told Edwin about:
- If he wanted his comment to be text rather than a graphic, he could use a text box. Simply create a text box that is the same size as your merged cells and position it over those cells.
- Then add your comment to the text box.
- Format the font as light gray for your text box.
- Make sure your text box has no border and the background is transparent.
It is very important that your background is transparent since you cannot position the text box behind your worksheet. Your text box is on the drawing layer which is always over your worksheet. You can arrange objects on the drawing layer but you cannot more the drawing layer itself.
If folks use the tab key to move into the merged cells, they can type and it will appear in the cells. You might have to fiddle with colors and appearance because the gray text in your text box will not go away when you enter text in the underlying cells.
Please note, however, that if someone uses their mouse to click on the merged cells they will instead, select your text box. You can get around this obstacle by selecting your merged cells, making sure they are not protected and then protect your worksheet as a whole. By default, text boxes are protected so the cannot be selected in a protected worksheet. So now, if someone clicks on the merged cell, it is the cell that is selected, not your text box.