How to Make Arrows in InDesign

By Jane Buchanan

Adding an arrow to a document allows you to focus the reader's attention on a specific paragraph, sentence or image, making arrows a useful tool to ensure critical information is actually read and memorized. The Adobe InDesign desktop publishing application lets you add arrows to your documents by accessing a specific panel within the program.

Step 1

Click on the "Direct Selection" tool and select the path you wish to add an arrowhead to. Alternatively, you can create a new line by using the Line tool.

Step 2

Open the Stroke panel by clicking on "Stroke."

Step 3

Select the arrowhead you wish to add to your path by picking it from the "Start" drop-down menu if you want to add it at the beginning of the path, or from the "End" menu to place it at the end. It is, of course, also possible to create a double-headed arrow by selecting an arrowhead symbol from both of the menus.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you wish to have a greater choice of arrow styles to choose from, you can install one of many free or paid third-party InDesign plugins. To install your plugin, simply extract it to the "Plug-ins" folder inside your main InDesign installation directory or use its built-in installer if one is available.
  • You can rotate your new arrow by clicking on the path with the Selection Tool and using the anchor points to manually rotate it. If you wish to reverse its end and start points, you can do so by opening the "Objects" menu, selecting "Paths" and clicking on "Reverse Path."
  • You can add arrowheads at the beginning or at the end of a closed path. However, those will remain hidden until you open that path.
  • If you add arrowheads at the start or at the end of a compound path which contains one or several open subpaths, they will appear at the end or at the start of each of the open subpaths.