How to Make Arrows in Microsoft Word

You can draw arrows in Microsoft Word 2013 without using the Character Map utility or copying them from other sources, such as Web pages. Use the a built-in Shapes feature to draw various types of arrows, from simple line arrows to block arrows. You can format the arrow after you draw it and change its fill and outline colors, size, and style.

A formatted arrow shape in Word 2013.
Add effects to arrow shapes.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Step

Switch to the Insert tab in Word, click the Shapes icon in the Illustrations group and then select one of the arrows from the menu. You can select a line arrow or a block arrow, depending on what you need.

The Shapes menu on the Insert tab.
Word remembers your actions and displays the recently used shapes in the Shapes menu.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Step

Click and drag anywhere in the document to draw the arrow. The arrow is inserted when you release the mouse button, and then Word switches to the Format tab automatically.

A sample block arrow in Word 2013.
To reposition the arrow, click and drag it around the document.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Step

Select a different style for the arrow from the Shape Styles group to change the look of your new arrow.

Step

To change the fill color, click the Shape Fill button in the Shape Styles group and select a different color from the Theme Colors or Standard Colors section. Select No Fill to remove the fill color.

The Shape Fill menu in Word 2013.
The Shape Fill button looks like a paint bucket.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Step

Click the Shape Outline button to change the outline color of the arrow, and then select a color from the Theme Colors or Standard Colors section. To remove the outline, click No Outline.

Step

Optionally, change the thickness of the outline by selecting a different value from the Weight sub-menu. To use a dashed line as the outline of the arrow, select one of the options from the Dashes sub-menu.

The Shape Outline menu in Word 2013.
Create custom colors by clicking More Outline Colors.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Step

Add effects to your new arrow by clicking the Shape Effects button in the Shape Styles group, selecting an effect -- Shadow, for example -- and then choosing the desired style -- such as Offset Diagonal Bottom Left.

The Shape Effects menu in Word 2013.
Select No Effect instead of a style to remove the effect.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Step

Change the text position -- if you plan on adding text -- inside the arrow shape by clicking the Align Text button in the Text group and selecting Top, Middle or Bottom from the resulting sub-menu.

The Align Text menu in Word 2013.
Word
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Step

Add text to the arrow by right-clicking it in the document and selecting Add Text from the context menu. Type the text and format it using the options in the WordArt Styles group, if necessary.

The context menu after right-clicking the arrow.
You can also paste text inside the arrow.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft