Is it possible to set a notebook's background to a nonscrolling image?
In version 9 there is a new option called
The picture below was made by setting this option in the option inspector to
In version 9, Mathematica includes a feature for doing background images which was implemented for slide shows. However, it wasn't documented because, although enough support was included for slide shows, the feature has distinct limitations which shouldn't be enshrined in documentation, and its usage is not the most straightforward at this point. I'll discuss its usage, but I must emphasize that it was left undocumented for a reason. Slide show notebooks will certainly be forward compatible with future versions of Mathematica, but edge cases experimentally discovered by users may not be forward compatible.
The option is
The most trivial form of a nine-patch image is one that scales the entire image. Such an image would have a fully black frame with white pixels in each of the corners. Here's a function which modifies an image to a nine-patch which scales the entire image:
And here's an example of the function's usage:
Additionally, the front end only presently understands a limited subset of possible color spaces for the image, which may exclude, for example, images which are imported from some types of external files.
Some of the images used for slide shows have more customized scaling behaviors than the one I demonstrated here. Those images can be listed by the following command:
I would expect that, in a future version of Mathematica, you may see a different option name, a much more flexible specification of possible right-hand side values, and first-class support for nine-patch bitmaps.