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How to draw and manipulate arrows in Microsoft PowerPoint



Whether you're pointing to a picture or chart for highlighting, moving or demonstrating a process flow, PowerPoint offers a wide variety of arrowheads. How to Use Them:

Drawing a Simple Arrow Shape

First, let's go through the steps to draw a simple arrow. On the Insert tab, click the Shapes button. In the Lines group, click the Line Arrow drop-down menu.

A crosshair icon is displayed. Hold down the mouse button and drag to draw the arrow. Release the mouse button to finish drawing the arrow.

Here's the result:

Resizing, rotating and changing the arrow color

Need to adjust your simple arrow? No problem. If you do not change anything, your arrow defaults to the normal settings that are black for the color and 3/4 point for the width. But maybe you need a thick, short, dark red arrow or a long, thin green arrow. You can make changes in no time.

Resizing an arrow

You can change the length of your arrow by clicking and dragging the handle at either end of the arrow. If you do not want the arrow to rotate while resizing, hold down the Shift key as you click and drag.

Changing the Color of an Arrow

To change the color of an arrow first, click to select the arrow. On the Format tab, click the Shape Outline button, and then click the color you want.

Changing the thickness of an arrow

Click to change the thickness of the arrow Click the "Shape Outline" button, point to the "Weight" menu, and then click the desired strength.

Turning an arrow

You can turn an arrow by clicking and dragging the arrow handle on both ends of an arrow. This is the most useful option when the arrow needs to point to a specific object in the presentation.

However, there are more rotation options available. Select the arrow and switch to the "Format" tab. Click the Rotate button and choose a rotation option. Hover over each option to preview the arrow.

For even more rotation options, click the More Rotation Options command. In the Formatting Size options, you can specify an exact rotation in degrees.

Using Block, Arc, and Link Arrows

You do not have to settle for a straight arrow. Many other types of arrows are available, including block arrows, curved arrows, and connecting arrows. Let's take a look.

How to Create a Block Arrow

On the Insert tab, click the Shapes button. Click the desired arrow style from the Block Arrows drop-down menu. In this example, we use an upward-pointing block arrow.

Your pointer becomes a crosshair symbol. Click and drag to draw the arrow to the size you want and release the mouse button to exit.

You can use the same formatting tools we talked about in the previous section. and so on. You can also use one of the eight white handles to change the size of the entire arrow. Grab the yellow handles to shape the head and shaft of the arrow separately.

To create a curved arrow

On the Insert tab, click the Shapes button. In the Lines section of the drop-down menu, click one of the curved arrow shapes. You'll find one with a single arrowhead, one with two heads, and a simple curved line with no arrowheads.

Your pointer turns into a crosshair symbol. Click and drag to draw the arrow. Release the mouse button to complete the process.

After drawing the curved arrow, you can change the curve by dragging the yellow handle in the center of the arrow. Here we pulled it to the right to make a more complete turn.

For more curved arrow options, check the curved arrows in the Block Arrows section.

Remember, as with any other shape, you can use the default formatting tools to change the color, border, and so on.

To create a straight connection arrow

Finally, there is the connection arrow. These are great for joining the types of shapes you want to use in flowcharts or org charts.

On the Insert tab, click the Shapes button. In the "Lines" section of the drop-down menu, select one of the connecting arrows. As with curved arrows, the difference is how many arrowheads you want.

Your pointer becomes a crosshair symbol. Click and drag to draw the arrow. Release the mouse button to complete the process.

After drawing the connecting arrow, you can grab the yellow handle to change the shape of the arrow. Use the white handles on both ends to change the length of this arrow section.

How to Merge Arrows and Shapes

When you add arrows to existing shapes, it may be helpful to hold them together if you need to move, edit, or align them on a slide. To keep arrows and shapes connected, you can group them together. This also helps make arrows that connect shapes look more like a flowchart look more seamless. Let's see how it's done.

Suppose we have two rectangular shapes, and we want a connecting arrow between them.

On the Insert menu, click the Shapes button. Choose a connection arrow from the drop-down menu. We go with a simple, single-headed elbow arrow

Move the pointer over the shape from which the arrow is to come, and you'll see the four handles at the edges of the shape turn gray

Click on one of these gray handles and drag (mouse down) to create the arrow. Move the pointer over the shape you want to connect to the other end of the arrow, and you will see that the gray handles also appear there. Position the pointer over one to catch the arrow, and then release the mouse button.

You have now connected two shapes with an arrow.

The true beauty When you move a shape, the arrow stays connected. It is not necessary to reposition the arrow later.

And of course, you can use any formatting or repositioning tricks that you've talked about in the rest of this article on your linked arrow without breaking the connection.


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