How to Add an Arrow in Google Docs

411342 How to Add an Arrow in Google Docs

Adding arrows in Google Docs can help draw attention to important points in your document or visually represent a process flow. Arrows are versatile formatting elements that can enhance comprehension and highlight key ideas.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover several methods for inserting arrows in Google Docs, including:

  • Using keyboard shortcuts
  • Typing arrow symbols
  • Inserting special characters
  • Drawing arrows with the built-in drawing tool

We will also provide tips on customizing the appearance of arrows to match your document’s design.

Keyboard Shortcuts for Arrows

One easy way to add arrows is by using keyboard shortcuts. Here are the most common arrow shortcuts in Google Docs:

  • Right arrow: –> (type hyphen hyphen greater than)
  • Left arrow: <– (type less than hyphen hyphen)
  • Up arrow: ^
  • Down arrow: v

To type these shortcuts:

  • Ensure there are no spaces between the characters
  • Press Enter after typing the shortcut to render the arrow






The shortcut arrows allow you to quickly insert arrows without opening menus or tools.

Typing Arrow Symbols

You can also type Unicode arrow symbols directly into a Google Docs document:

↑ ↓ → ← ↔ ↕

To type arrows:

  • Copy the arrow symbol you want from a table
  • Paste the symbol into your document
  • Press Enter to render the arrow

This method allows you to insert less common arrows like double arrows or diagonal arrows.

Inserting Arrows from Special Characters

The Special Characters tool in Google Docs contains a wide selection of arrows to choose from:

  1. Go to Insert > Special characters
  2. Select Symbols from the left menu
  3. Choose Arrows from the right menu
  4. Double click the desired arrow to insert it

With Special Characters, you can insert multiple arrows at once without having to copy/paste symbols.

Drawing Arrows in Google Drawings

For full customization over the style and direction of arrows, use the built-in Google Drawings tool:

  1. Go to Insert > Drawing > New to open a blank canvas
  2. Select the Line or Arrow shape style
  3. Click and drag to draw an arrow of any size and direction
  4. Customize the color, style, thickness, and arrowheads

The drawing tool allows you to create a wide variety of arrows. You can draw flowcharts, annotate images, indicate relationships, and more.

Customizing Arrows

To make arrows stand out or match your Google Doc’s design:

  • Change color: Select arrow > Fill color (or line color for open shapes)
  • Alter style: Choose solid, dashed, dotted lines, or double arrowheads
  • Adjust thickness: Use the Narrow or Wide line settings
  • Resize arrow: Click and drag the circular resize handles
  • Rotate arrow: Hover near the edge to show rotate handle

Well-formatted arrows effectively direct your readers’ attention!

Tips for Using Arrows Effectively

Follow these best practices when adding arrows:

  • Use sparingly – Too many arrows can be distracting
  • Keep consistent – Stick to one or two arrow styles throughout the document
  • Pair with text – Add a label, caption, or callouts explaining the arrow’s purpose
  • Check contrast – Ensure arrow colors stand out clearly against the background
  • Watch direction – Point arrows to the intended targets
  • Simplify diagrams – Complex drawings with many arrows can confuse readers

By thoughtfully incorporating arrows into your Google Docs, you can boost comprehension and create visually striking documents!

When to Use Arrows in Google Docs

Arrows have a wide range of helpful applications:

Illustrating Process Flows

Use a series of arrows to depict multi-step processes, cycles, sequences, or workflows:

Process flow diagram

Diagram showing sequential steps with connecting arrows

Annotating Screenshots

Point out UI elements, features, or areas of interest in annotated screenshots:

Annotated screenshot

Screenshot with arrows highlighting key buttons and text

Linking Related Content

Draw arrows between associated paragraphs, images, or other page elements to demonstrate relationships:

Related content

Arrows connecting two related pictures

Calling Out Details

Isolate key points, statistics, terms, or passages in the text with pointer arrows:

Callout arrow

Arrow emphasizing the most important figure on the page

Diagramming Concepts

Use arrows to link concepts in diagrams illustrating abstract ideas, taxonomies, hierarchies, and more:

Concept diagram

Diagram with arrows mapping relationships between concepts

With so many helpful applications, arrows can enhance comprehension and emphasize important details in nearly any type of Google Doc!

Common Questions about Arrows in Google Docs

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about working with arrows:

How do I delete an arrow in Google Docs?

To delete an arrow made with drawing tools, click the arrow to select it and press the Delete key. For a shortcut or special character arrow, simply highlight it and hit Delete.

Can I change the arrowhead style or size?

Yes, arrows drawn with the Google Drawings tool have fully customizable arrowheads. Double click the arrow, then alter the arrowhead fields in the Format options pane.

Is there a way to make arrows curved or bend at angles?

The Google Drawings tool includes options for curved, bent, and polyline arrows that can bend at different angles. Use the Drawing tool’s curve and polygon shape options.

Can I make arrows thicker or thinner?

Arrows created as drawings can be adjusted to have thicker, bold arrows or thin, delicate arrows. Use the Wide or Narrow line thickness presets.

How do I quickly duplicate the same arrow many times?

Copy and paste your arrow to easily duplicate it. With drawing tool arrows, right click > Save and re-insert the arrow drawing multiple times while keeping all customizations.

Wrap Up

With this comprehensive guide, you are now well-versed in the variety of methods for adding and customizing arrows in Google Docs to enhance your documents!

From simple keyboard shortcuts to fully styled drawings, arrows provide useful visual cues that can improve any Google Doc’s clarity and comprehension for readers. Use them to illustrate flows, annotate screenshots, link related content, call out key points, or diagram concepts.

As you incorporate arrows in your documents, follow best practices like using them sparingly, keeping styles consistent, pairing them with text, and pointing them accurately.

Arrows ultimately help readers focus on important ideas within documents. Add them to your Google Docs writing toolbox to boost engagement and understanding!

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