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Formatting Arrowheads for Line Shapes in PowerPoint 2003 and 2002 for Windows

Learn how to format arrowheads for line shapes in PowerPoint 2003 and 2002 for Windows. You can add arrowheads at one or both ends, and choose many styles and sizes for the arrowheads.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2003 and 2002 for Windows

OS: Microsoft Windows XP and higher




Learn PowerPoint

Learn how you can Convert Text Boxes to Placeholders in PowerPoint.



We previously explained how you can format a line with color, weight, and dash styles in PowerPoint 2003 and previous versions. Now, let me show you how you can add an Arrowhead on one or both sides of a line.

Arrowheads can only be added to lines within open shapes.

AutoShapes, such as rectangles, circles, etc. are closed shapes. Regular line AutoShapes, such as straight lines, curves, scribbles, etc. are open shapes. Figure 1 shows a thick line around both a closed shape, and an open shape.

Samples of lines (outlines) in closed and open shapes
Figure 1: Samples of lines (outlines) in closed and open shapes

Figure 2 shows you some samples of lines with Arrowheads on one or both sides.

Sample arrow styles (lines with arrows)
Figure 2: Sample arrow styles (lines with Arrowheads)

Follow these steps to add an Arrowhead to a line:

  1. Select the open shape that you want to apply an arrow style. Alternatively, if you just want to follow this tutorial step-by-step, launch PowerPoint. Most of the time, PowerPoint will open with a new slide in a presentation, users can change the slide layout to Blank by selecting Format | Slide Layout, and then choose the Blank layout in the resultant Task Pane.
  2. You will find the Line shape option in the Drawing Toolbar located below the PowerPoint interface (the 4th icon from the left in Figure 3) and the Arrow option (the 5th icon from the left in Figure 3). Select either the line or the arrow, and click and drag on the blank slide to draw a line.
  3. Note: If the Drawing Toolbar is not visible (normally at the bottom of the PowerPoint interface, above the status bar), choose View | Toolbars | Drawing. This is a toggle option that alternatively shows and hides the Drawing Toolbar. Learn more about the PowerPoint 2003 interface here.
  4. You can change the weight and dash type of the line. Remember that the size of the Arrowhead is related to the weight (thickness) of the line.
  5. Select the line shape, and from PowerPoint's Drawing toolbar, choose the Arrow Style option as shown in Figure 3.
  6. Drawing toolbar
    Figure 3: Drawing toolbar
  7. This opens a flyout menu, with different arrow styles for lines, as shown in Figure 4.
  8. Arrow Style
    Figure 4: Arrow Style
  9. This menu provides some samples of common arrow styles, choose any of them, or choose the More Arrows... option from the flyout menu (refer to Figure 4 ).
  10. This summons the Format AutoShape dialog box as shown in Figure 5. In this figure, all options except those concerned with Arrowheads have been faded out to highlight the unfaded areas referred to on this page, your dialog box will not have those areas faded out.
  11. Format AutoShape dialog box
    Figure 5: Format AutoShape dialog box
  12. Under the Arrows options, you can customize your arrow style by changing the Begin style, the End style, the Begin size, and the End size.
  13. Figure 6 shows you the Begin style drop-down, the End style drop-down has the same options. In both these drop-downs, you'll find options for 5 Arrowheads, and a No Arrow option.
  14. Begin style
    Figure 6: Begin style
  15. Choose any of the 5 Arrowheads, and you'll be able to choose them each in nine sizes from the Begin size or End size drop-downs. Figure 7 shows you the Begin size drop-down, and not surprisingly, the End size drop-down offers the same options!
  16. Begin size
    Figure 7: Begin size
  17. Once you are done, click OK to apply and get back to the slide.
Related Link: Learn how to do more with AutoShapes in this free excerpt from my book: Cutting Edge PowerPoint For Dummies, read a free chapter called AutoShape Magic here.

See Also:

Shape Lines: Formatting Arrowheads for Line Shapes in (Glossary Page)

Formatting Arrowheads for Line Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Formatting Arrowheads for Line Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Formatting Arrowheads for Line Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Formatting Arrowheads for Line Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows
Formatting Arrowheads for Line Shapes in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows

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