Saturday, January 31, 2009

Maths backgrounds for worksheets and Powerpoint

As an upper school teacher, we sometimes ignore the requirements of appearance of our materials and focus on presenting quality content. This is evident in the material available on the web.

When I get a moment I like to (in the words of my wife) make things pretty and spend the time to ensure there is a background on worksheets, a powerpoint slide with a coloured background and the like.

One site I like to use is There are some great free backgrounds there for Powerpoint. I really like the orange one and have used it a lot.

Here is a background I made for a recent certificate for the summer school using the MSWord 2003 equation editor.

Have no fear the image is bigger. Just click on it, right click the image and save it. Here's a simple way to make it a watermark in Word 2003.

  1. Open up a Word document.
  2. Go Format->Background->Printed Watermark
  3. Select the Picture Watermark option
  4. Click Select Picture
  5. Find where the background is saved and select it
  6. Change the scale to 200% (or to whatever works for your image unless you want a tiled image)
  7. Ensure the washout checkbox is selected
  8. Click apply

Voila. A professional background for your MSWord 2003 document.

Sometimes you will find the washout selection too light for your printer. In that case you need to insert the picture, send it to behind the text and increase the brightness of the picture to a printable level that doesn't interfere with the readability of the text. This is the way I usually do it as my printer is temperamental but it makes it a bit of a cow to work with the page.

Here's how it turned out.


  1. Cool idea. There is a lot of investigation and discovery involved in Math. It takes creativity to solve problems and that's why Math teachers are often the first persons that other people go to when they want a creative solution to a problem.

    I don't know why some teachers still persist in spreading the notion that Math is all about doing things one way all the time. It isn't.

    This is one of the reasons why kids grow up thinking that Math is difficult. in real life, you have to solve problems creatively. When you find a method that works well given the resources you have, it doesn't mean that method will work in another situation, that is, given another set of variables.

  2. A good blog, but I do not understand why complicate your life. I prefer to use templates for this purpose. For example, I take the templates here There are many themed templates, which you can find easily. I hope you understand what I'm saying and make the right choice.


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