Whatever your reason for wanting to protect your images, it can be a time-consuming process to add a watermark manually to each photo using your image editor.

There are several websites that allow you to upload small batches of photos so you can watermark them without installing any software on your PC or laptop, but this is inconvenient for bigger collections of images.

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Enter uMark Lite, a free utility that can be used for personal and professional use and will watermark batches of images with minimal effort.

Here's how to use it.

1. Head to freewatermarksoftware.com and click the Download button. A zip file will be downloaded. You should extract the three files and then run setup.exe. Follow the instructions to install uMark.

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2. During installation, you'll need to enter an email address to activate your free licence. When you click Activate and then Continue on the next screen, uMark will start in Pro mode. After 15 days it will revert back to free mode, but you can buy a licence if you miss the advanced features.

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3. Run uMark 3 from your Start menu - use the search box if it hasn't appeared after installation. The main window will open. Click Add Images and browse to the folder in which your photos are stored, select those you wish to watermark, and click Open.

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4. Click the Add Watermark button. You can add a Text or Image watermark, or choose a saved watermark (you don't have one yet, but we will create one for use next time).

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5. We'll create a simple text watermark, inserting the special character for copyright, change the font size to 48 fixed, the position to the middle of the image and leave transparency at 50 percent. You can enable horizontal and vertical tiling if you want your text to appear all over your images.Click Ok, then click the small disk icon and enter a name to save your watermark.

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6. Click Start Watermarking and the Output Options window will open. Choose where to save your images, in which format they should be saved (the default is the same as source) and click Start. If you want, you can also rename the images with certain attributes such as the date or a counter, and resize them. Click Set as Default to retain the settings for next time.

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Note that uMark will fail to watermark the images if you choose the folder in which the originals are stored as the output folder, and choose not to rename the images. This prevents your originals being overwritten.

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