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Many businesses have existing paper stationery that they'd like to have available directly in a word processor. Unfortunately converting's not easy.

I would like to copy my husband's business office stationery into word or word perfect 12 so that when we have letters to write it will be written on the stationery, is this possible?

Possible? Yes. Easy? Not really.

I've done it once or twice, and my approach has always been a little time consuming, though once done I have exactly what I want.

There are two ways I can think of off-hand to do what you're looking for.


If you scan an existing piece of stationery, you can then set the resulting graphic as the background or "watermark". As we'll see in a moment, this may not always yield acceptable results, but it's an option.

Once you've scanned your document, in Word go to the Format menu, Background item, and Printed Watermark... sub item. Click on Picture and unclick Washout. Now use the Select Picture button to locate and load the stationery image you just scanned.

Now the fun starts. Much of this will be dependant on the specifics of your stationery, but you may now need to experiment with:

  • margins

  • scaling

  • transparency / washout

  • probably several other things

If this works for you, as complicated as it is, it might be the easiest of the two approaches.

However, if you can't get it quite right, or you need more explicit control over exactly what goes where, or if you ever need to make even the smallest change to your stationery, the next approach might be more appropriate.


The approach I took when I needed to recreate my dad's stationery was to carefully and meticulously recreate it in Word by hand. That means I had to find matching fonts and retype the textual information on the letterhead. Then I spent time adjusting the spacing around all the elements of the letterhead until when printed it matched the original paper version.

All in all a bit of work, but the result was a near perfect match that I then saved as a document template in Word. Now when I need to create a new document on his letterhead, I can just select it from the available templates and off I go.

I've duplicated the look of other paper documents in this same fashion. It's tedious, but so far it's generated the best results for me.

"The approach I took ... was to carefully and meticulously recreate it in Word by hand."

Now, I will say that I was "lucky" in that my fathers letterhead was all text based. This get a little more dicey if graphics are involved, or if the letterhead/stationery is complex.

It's all still quite possible, just more work.

Find a "Word Jockey"

Depending on your own familiarity with Word or Word Perfect, this might also be one of those cases where finding someone who is intimately familiar with either of those two programs to do it for you might be a reasonable option. Much of the trial and error and tweaking in either scenario above relies heavily on knowing how best to perform those operations in your word processing programs to get the best results.

Sometimes finding that someone, someone I sometimes call a "Word Jockey" because they know all the ins and outs of the program, to do it for you is the quickest solution of all.

Well, next to deciding that it's time for a new design and having it created in your word processor from the start.

By the way, if readers have any good tips for converting existing paper stationery to a Word template, feel free to add it to the comments below. It's not an uncommon scenario.

Article C2962 - March 14, 2007 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

March 15, 2007 5:19 AM

I don't know if this will work in all cases but I just scanned in my logo to a photo editing program and made the changes I wanted then I copied and pasted it into the Header/Footer section of Word. Very simple and worked fine for me.

March 16, 2007 11:34 AM

Typo! Stationery, in your context, is spelt with an 'E'(!)
E for Envelope (if any other readers have trouble remembering it!)

Leo Notenboom
March 16, 2007 4:46 PM

Hash: SHA1

And a bunch of times too. Thanks! Fixed 'em.

Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (MingW32)


Brian Gargate
March 17, 2007 3:37 AM

I scan and copy the original letter-headed document and make it a Word document. I put that Word document it into a folder called STATIONERY and then copy and paste that Word document a number of times until there is a 'pile' in the Stationery folder. When I need to send a letter I choose a 'copy document' from the pile and type the letter. Then I change the name of the 'copy document' so it can be identified and file it a 'sent' folder

March 17, 2007 7:50 AM

Whether scanning an entire letterhead to insert in Word, or just the graphic and typing in any text, there is an easy way to save and insert the finished product in new documents. Simply select it all and click on "AutoCorrect Options" under "Tools". Make sure you have "Formatted Text" clicked under "Replace with", and choose whatever letters you want to save it with (I usually use just "aa"). That way just a few keystrokes can bring up the letterhead you have created. This can also be done in WordPerfect (which I prefer), using the Quick Word feature.

March 18, 2007 8:34 AM

Scan the letter header section only, and then insert into a dot (template) in the header/footer section.

Worked well for me, and no messing around with spacing, fonts etc.

March 20, 2007 12:53 AM

Re: Letterhead

1. Scan document
2. Open scanned document
3. that is "Print Screen"
4. Open Paint program
5. Paste into Paint program
6. Press the escape button
7. Using the Select tool, surround just the Letterhead itself (Important: Be sure NOT to resize the graphic)
8. Copy
9. Open MS Word
10. Goto View then Headers and Footers
11. Paste the Letterhead
12. Click on the graphic and center justify.
13. Close Headers and Footers
14. Save document as a .dot (Template)

Hope this helps - Truman (Word Jockey)

March 20, 2007 7:22 PM

I "think" this will work; just scan that portion of the letterhead one wants to use and insert the file into a document template as a graphic, then save as a template. Should work, I tried a practice form. Keep it motto.

Production Music
May 27, 2008 11:13 PM

I did this with a full page image and I somehow ended up with a 48mb file... from four pages with a background image that was under 2mb. Suggestions?

Production Music

January 11, 2012 11:33 PM

Have not tried to get A4 paper on pc yet but was wondering what a .dot Template is?

Mark J
January 12, 2012 1:05 AM

A .dot template is essentially a regular MS Word document that when opened and edited won't be saved with the .dot extension. It will default to document1.doc. You can create one by creating a document, and saving it as a .dot file. is the default template which opens when you start Word. If you save a document as, you will get that document when you start Windows.

January 12, 2012 10:32 AM

thanks,so when I scan an A4 paper on printer does it show on pc screen?

January 12, 2012 12:26 PM

The image of the paper should show on your computer screen, but really, it all depends on the software that the printer uses.

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