Vellum flower icon Vellum Help

Heading Background Style

You can use a Heading Background to add a backdrop behind the first page of an element in your print edition.

Configuring a Heading Background

Any Style can be configured to use a Heading Background. With the Style selected, click the Configure button:

Button used to configure a Style

In the list of Style features, select Heading Background:

Heading Background Feature selected

Heading Background Presets

Vellum comes with built-in Heading Background presets that you can easily incorporate into your book:

Carousel showing preset options for heading background

The Heading Background you select will be automatically applied to every Chapter of your print edition.

Custom Heading Background

If you have your own artwork you’d like to use for a Heading Background, use the Create Custom button below the carousel. You can then provide and configure the image to use as a background:

Custom heading background editor without image
Custom heading background editor with image


Background Image
Drag your image onto this thumbnail, or click to select the file on disk.
Image Presence
Use this control if you need to adjust the presence of your image. Decreasing this value can make any text that appears above the background more legible.
Image Span
This controls whether your image spans just a single page or an entire spread. When configured as a spread, the image will span both pages whenever the opposite page is empty (e.g. for Chapter 1).
Image Extent
Use this to control how close to the edge of the page you want your background to go. If you want the image to go to the very edge of the page, select Full Bleed.

Note: Full Bleed is automatically selected when you make your image span the full spread

Use White Text
If your image is very dark, you can use this option to change all text (and ornaments) on the page to be white.

Note: If you haven’t provided an image, this will change the background to black.

Apply To
Use this popup menu to indicate that your custom background should apply to all elements of a specific type – Chapters, Parts, or Volumes – or that you’ll be configuring Individual Elements.

To clear your custom background and return to presets, press the ⓧ shown in the upper left.

Adding an Image

Before you add an image, the feedback section provides a recommended size for any image used as a background:

Recommendation that an image is 1312 by 2212 pixels

The recommended size is based on the trim size you’ve selected for your book as well as the state of the controls above.

If you are working with full bleed, the image you add should match these dimensions exactly. For help with this, you can make use of one of the available Full Bleed Image Templates.

Size Feedback

Once you provide an image, Vellum will indicate whether the image will work for your configuration:

Feedback stating that image satisfies size requirements

Individual Elements

In some cases, you may want a heading background to appear on a specific element and not on all elements of a particular type. To do this, use the Apply To popup:

The Apply To popup menu showing `Individual Elements` which causes the `Using Name` text field to be displayed

Selecting Individual Elements will reveal the Using Name text field, which allows you to name the background. Enter a descriptive name so that it is easy to find in an element’s Heading Background menu.

An element will show this menu when:

  • You have a heading background that applies to Individual Elements
  • You don’t have a heading background that applies to the selected element’s type

When it’s available, this menu will appear in the gear menu to the right of an element’s title:

The Heading Background menu allows you to choose from available backgrounds

You’ll also find the Heading Background menu in the main menu, under Chapter. You can use this version of the command to set the heading background for multiple elements at once, if necessary.

Using Multiple Backgrounds

In some cases, you may want to use unique heading backgrounds across multiple elements.

To add an additional background, press the Use Multiple Backgrounds button:

The Use Multiple Button at the bottom of the custom controls for Heading Backgrounds

For more details, see our guide to Using Multiple Heading Backgrounds.

Full Bleed

Using a Full Bleed background will increase the dimensions of the PDF generated by Vellum. For example:

Trim Size 6 × 9 in
PDF Dimensions 6⅛ × 9¼ in

If you’re using KDP for your print edition, be sure to indicate that your PDF uses Full Bleed in Bleed Settings.