How to Draw in MS Word

By Kathryn Hatashita-Lee

Create a drawing on a digital canvas with Microsoft's predesigned shapes to help communicate your meaning. Word includes a Shapes gallery with time-saving drawing elements, such as lines, arrows, circles and stars, for quick insertion. Explore the Drawing Tools ribbon to customize each shape for your presentation. Your drawing can also include text to enhance your document with detailed content to grab the reader's attention. For example, your custom illustrations can add visual appeal to newsletters, reports and invitations for onscreen viewing and printouts.

Insert the Shape

Step 1

Click the "Insert" tab on the command ribbon and click the "Shapes" arrow button in the Illustrations group to open the chart of shapes.

Step 2

Select "New Drawing Canvas" to display a framed rectangle on your document. The canvas includes a border with sizing handles. Click the frame's sizing handle and then drag to the change the canvas dimensions to suit your document. Click the frame to change the cursor to a four-arrow icon and then move the canvas to the preferred location on your document.

Step 3

Click inside the drawing canvas to bring up the Drawing Tools ribbon and the Format tab. Click the "Format" tab to display editing tools arranged in the Insert Shapes and Shape Styles groups, for example.

Step 4

Click the "More" button in the Shapes gallery in the Insert Shapes group to display the chart of shapes organized in sections, such as Basic Shapes, Block Arrows and Stars And Banners. Select the preferred shape icon. The cursor changes to a "+" symbol.

Step 5

Click and drag on the drawing canvas to insert the shape. Press and hold "Shift" and then drag the cursor to help maintain a perfect shape, such as a square or circle. A frame with sizing handles surrounds each inserted shape. Select a sizing handle, drag and release to change the configuration. For example, insert the "Triangle" shape and then select and drag a sizing handle to change the angles.

Customize the Shape

Step 1

Click the inserted shape to bring up the Drawing Tools Ribbon and its Format tab.

Step 2

Click the "Format" tab on the Drawing Tools ribbon and then select a tool to customize the shape. For example, click the "More" button in the Shape Styles group to display the chart of color samples. Point over a color style to preview the effect on the shape. Select the preferred sample. For example, select the gold "Accent 4" sample to update the shape's fill color. The recently selected sample displays in the Shape Styles gallery for quick future access.

Step 3

Continue selecting options to customize your drawing canvas. For example, to insert text in the shape, right-click the shape, select "Add Text" and then enter your text. Click outside the shape to set the text and hide the sizing frame. To style this text, select the text to display the small dialog box and then click the options, such as "Bullets" or "Styles."

Step 4

Press "Ctrl-S" to save this drawing in your Word document. Save your document frequently or save different versions of this document as different files if you want to refer to earlier drawings.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some graphics, such as the Line and Arrow shapes from the Lines section on the Shapes chart, include tiny square connectors to help you link elements together to form new ones -- for example, a right-angle arrow.
  • If you want to insert a shape directly on the document without a movable drawing canvas, click the "Insert" tab on the ribbon and then click the "Shapes" arrow button in the Illustrations group to open the chart of shapes. Select the preferred shape and then click and drag to insert it in the document. The selected shape will be saved to the chart’s Recently Used Shapes section for quick access.
  • To insert a text box, click the drawing canvas, click the "Format" tab on the Drawing Tools ribbon and then select "Draw Text Box" in the Insert Shapes group. Click and drag the cursor to insert the adjustable text box. Enter the text. Select the text and then edit the text by clicking "Text Fill" in the WordArt Styles group or selecting "Align Text" in the Text group, for example.
  • To remove one shape, click inside that shape and press "Delete." Press and hold the "Ctrl" key, select more than one shape and then press "Delete" to remove multiple shapes at once.
  • To remove the whole drawing canvas, click an empty space in the canvas and then press "Delete."
  • Information in this article applies to Microsoft Word 2013, Small Office Premium. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.