How to Draw and Manipulate Arrows in Microsoft Word

951359 How to Draw and Manipulate Arrows in Microsoft Word

Whether you need to point to an image for emphasis or demonstrate where to click for interactivity, there is a wide range of arrow shapes that you can create and customize in Microsoft Word.

Drawing a Basic Arrow Shape

First, let’s review the steps on how to draw a basic arrow:

  1. On the “Insert” tab on the Ribbon, click the “Shapes” button.
  2. In the Lines group on the drop-down menu, click the “Line Arrow” option.
  3. A crosshair symbol will display. Click and drag to draw the arrow.
  4. Release the mouse button to finish.

After drawing the arrow, you can customize it:

  • Change Length: Grab the white circles at either end of the arrow to lengthen/shorten each side.
  • Change Direction: Click and drag the yellow diamond in the middle to curve the arrow.

Drawing Connector Arrows

You can also insert connector arrows that link two shapes or objects:

  1. Go to the “Insert” tab and click the “Shapes” button.
  2. Hover over “Lines” and pick a connector arrow style.

After drawing the connector arrow, you can:

  • Change the curve by dragging the yellow handle in the middle.
  • Alter the length of each side with the white handles.

Adding Text to an Arrow

To add text:

  1. Right-click the arrow and select “Add Text” from the context menu.
  2. Type the desired text.

You can then format the text box like any other:

  • Change font, size, color, etc.
  • Alter text alignment inside the box.

Drawing Double-Headed Arrows

For arrows with heads on both ends:

  1. On the “Insert” tab, click “Shapes” > “Block Arrows”.
  2. Select your desired double-headed arrow style.

Just like with curved arrows, you’re just choosing how many arrowheads you want.

Manipulating Existing Arrows

To adjust existing arrows:

  1. Click the arrow to select it.
  2. Drag the white handles to lengthen/shorten each side.
  3. Use the yellow handle to curve the arrow.
  4. Grab the green circle to rotate the entire arrow.

You can also copy/paste arrows or save custom arrows to the Shapes gallery for quick access later.

Arrow Keyboard Shortcuts

For efficiency, memorize these handy keyboard shortcuts:

  • Ctrl + Shift + Left/Right: Nudge arrow left/right
  • Ctrl + Left/Right: Move arrow in larger increments
  • Shift + arrow keys: Resize arrow symmetrically
  • Ctrl + arrow keys: Resize arrow from one end

Using Arrows and Shapes for Emphasis

Arrows, callout boxes, and other shapes can add clarity and emphasis to your Word documents:

  • Point to text for extra attention.
  • Link annotations to parts of an image.
  • Diagram a process with a flowchart.
  • Map relationships between concepts.

Get creative with different arrows, connectors, geometric shapes, stars, banners, and more!

Arrow Tips and Tricks

Here are some additional pointers for mastering arrows in Word:

  • Hold Shift while dragging to constrain angles to 45° increments.
  • Use arrow styles under “Lines” for straight arrows. Use styles under “Connectors” if you need curved arrows.
  • Make sure “Shape Outline” and “Shape Fill” are toggled on under the “Format” tab if you want the arrow to be visible.
  • Right-click arrows and cut/copy/paste formatting to quickly format multiple arrows consistently.
  • For easy access, add custom arrows to the Quick Access toolbar.

And there you have it! With all of these arrow types and formatting options, you can customize arrows to suit any situation. It’s likely more than you’ll ever need to know, but having these advanced tools at your fingertips can help save time and effort.

Whether you’re designing process flows, annotating images, or highlighting key points, put these arrow tips to work in your next Word document!

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