3 ways to make arrows in Adobe InDesign (with steps) (2023)

Many design purists believe that it's possible to draw the viewer's attention through your design using subtle visual cues that seem to flow - but there are definitely times when all you need is a giant red arrow, showing you the way.

InDesignIt doesn't come with any predefined vector arrow shapes, but you can still create accurate arrows quickly and easily.

There are three ways to create different types of arrows in InDesign. Follow us and see how it works!


  • Method 1: Creating Arrows Using the Line Tool in InDesign
  • Method 2: Create curved arrows with the pen tool
  • Method 3: Using the Glyphs panel to add arrows
  • a final word

Method 1: Creating Arrows Using the Line Tool in InDesign

To create a perfectly straight arrow in InDesign, create a stroke path and adjust the start/end squiggles in the Stroke panel.There are several ways to do this, but the easiest method is to uselineTool.

3 ways to make arrows in Adobe InDesign (with steps) (1)

switch tolinetool with theToolcontrol panel or keyboard shortcut\(That's a backslash in case that's not clear!)

Click and drag your mouse anywhere on the page to create your line. You can adjust the placement later if you don't get it exactly where you want it on the first try, so don't worry too much about it.

3 ways to make arrows in Adobe InDesign (with steps) (2)

Next, open theLeakBlackboard. This oneLeakThe panel includes a wide range of options for customizing the appearance and structure of strokes, including the ability to add arrowheads.

This panel should be visible in most InDesign default workspaces, but if it is lost, you can restore it by opening thiswindowmenu and clickLeak🇧🇷 You can also use the keyboard shortcutcommand+F10(just useF10if you are on a PC).

3 ways to make arrows in Adobe InDesign (with steps) (3)

Locate the section titledstart end, as highlighted above. This onestartdropdown is the one on the left and thisFimThe dropdown menu is on the right.

The start of your line is the first point you clicked withlineand the end of your line is the point where you released the mouse button to complete the line.

3 ways to make arrows in Adobe InDesign (with steps) (4)

Depending on which direction you want your arrow to point, open the appropriate drop-down menu and select one of the arrowheads from the list.

There are six different preset arrowheads and six preset endpoints to choose from (although you can always draw your own with the pen tool if none of the presets suit you).

3 ways to make arrows in Adobe InDesign (with steps) (5)

Select an arrowhead style and it will instantly be applied to the appropriate end of your line. You can edit them at any time, so don't worry if you accidentally place the arrowhead on the wrong side of your line!

The arrowheads can be a little small if you use the default line width, though it depends on how you want to use them. There are two ways to increase the size of the arrowhead: increase the stroke weight or increase the size of the arrowhead itself.

3 ways to make arrows in Adobe InDesign (with steps) (6)

To increase Stroke Weight, find theweightconfiguration on top ofLeakpanel and lift it. This will make the arrowhead bigger, but it will also make your line much thicker.

3 ways to make arrows in Adobe InDesign (with steps) (7)

To enlarge just the arrowhead, use theScaleconfiguration belowstart endSuspended menus.

You can also use therelay a messageOption to customize whether your line's anchor point coincides with the tip of the arrowhead or the base of the arrowhead.

Congratulations, you've just created an arrow in InDesign! While this covers the basics, you can mix and match your arrows with additional colors, line styles, and more to create the perfect arrow for your layout.

Method 2: Create curved arrows with the pen tool

If you want to give your arrow a freer look, you don't need to use the line tool to create the stroke.InDesign lets you apply a stroke to any vector path, including curved paths created with the Pen tool, and this opens up many new creative possibilities for your arrows.

switch toHardtool with theToolcontrol panel or keyboard shortcutP🇧🇷 Click once anywhere in the document to define the first point of the path, then click and drag to define the second point and curve of the line.

3 ways to make arrows in Adobe InDesign (with steps) (8)

Before releasing the mouse button, you will see a preview of your curve as shown above. As soon as you release the button, your curve will be drawn using your current trace settings.

If you want to adjust the curve later, you can use a combination oftool penit's atDirect Selection Toolto adjust curve control handles and anchor point positions.

Once you're satisfied with your curved line, you can use the same method for adding arrowheads that I described in the first section: open the Stroke panel and use the Start/End section to add an arrowhead at the appropriate point, add line to your curve.

3 ways to make arrows in Adobe InDesign (with steps) (9)

You can also use multiple curves or any other shape you like! It's almost as easy as creating a perfectly straight arrow, but you have complete control over the end result.

If you're serious about taking custom arrows to the next level, you can even draw the outline of the arrow shape entirely with the pen tool and skip the preset flourishes altogether. It depends on you!

Method 3: Using the Glyphs panel to add arrows

There is another way to add arrows to an InDesign layout, although it won't work in all situations. Many professional fonts have a wide range of symbol characters that are almost never used in regular typing, but are still there, waiting to be used - as long as you know how to find them.

switch toTypetool and create a new text frame, or use the Text tool to place the cursor in an existing text frame.

Next, open theTypemenu and clickglifento open theglifenBlackboard. You can also use the keyboard shortcutchange+possibility+F11(to usechange+Alt+F11on a PC).

3 ways to make arrows in Adobe InDesign (with steps) (10)

On themTo search forType "arrow" in the "Arrow" field and you'll see if the currently selected font has matching arrow characters.

3 ways to make arrows in Adobe InDesign (with steps) (11)

Double-click the selected glyph in the search results and it will automatically paste into your text frame.

You can use it entirely within a text frame or convert it to a vector shape to use as a layout element outside of text frames. To convert, select the arrow in your text frame with the text tool, open the Text menu and clickcreate contours🇧🇷 The arrow is converted to a vector path.

The vector path is anchored to the text frame so you cannot move it. Select it withselectiontool and then presscommand+xforCutout of the frame, and then presscommand+vforNecklaceback to the page, outside the frame container.

a final word

This covers the most common ways to create arrows in InDesign! It's nice to dream of being so talented that you can guide your viewers without arrows, but sometimes you just need a big red arrow to show people exactly where to look. This can save a lot of time and often makes for a better user experience - and that's what really matters.

Have fun driving!

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How do I get an arrow at the end of a line in InDesign? ›

Use the Start and End menus in the Stroke panel to add an arrowhead or other shape to the end of an open path.
  1. Use the Line tool to draw a line, or create an open path.
  2. With the line or path selected, open the Stroke panel, and choose a style in the Start and End menus.
Jul 23, 2021

How do you make arrows in Adobe? ›

Find the Custom Shape tool at the top of the window and click it. Then open the drop-down menu to the right of the Shape option to view different preset arrow shapes.

How do I draw an arrow in Adobe? ›

3 Ways to Draw Arrows in Adobe Illustrator
  1. Select the Pen Tool and draw a line (straight or curved)
  2. With the line selected, open the “Stroke” window by either going clicking the “Window” tab and then selecting “Stroke” or in the lines “Properties” tab on the right side of the screen, select “Stroke”

Where are arrows InDesign? ›

Anyhow, if you want arrows in InDesign, it's pretty darn easy once you remember where the command is: Select the Line tool. Press down your left mouse button and drag out a line. (Hold the Shift key to constrain the line to 45-degree angles.)

How do you add an arrow to a line graph? ›

5. How to insert arrows into a line chart
  1. Select the data line in your chart.
  2. Right-click the line.
  3. Choose "Format Data Series" from the menu that appears.
  4. Click "Line Style" from the left-hand menu.
  5. Select the arrow type and size in "Arrow Settings."
Apr 8, 2022

What does Ctrl L do in InDesign? ›

Object Menu
Fitting: Fit Frame to Content⌥ + ⌘ + CAlt + Ctrl + C
Group⌘ + GCtrl + G
Hide⌘ + 3Ctrl + 3
Lock⌘ + LCtrl + L
24 more rows

How do you put an arrow at the end of a polyline? ›

Creating Arrows with a Polyline in AutoCAD
  1. Start the polyline command and select a start point. ...
  2. Turn on ortho (F8) as you move your cursor and see how you can adjust the length of the arrow as shown in Figure 3. ...
  3. Hit Enter when you have your desired size and the polyline segment will end. ...
  4. Let's try one more.
Jan 16, 2016

What does the white arrow do in InDesign? ›

Now officially the black arrow is known as the Selection Tool inside of Illustrator and InDesign, whereas it's known as the Path Selection Tool inside of Photoshop to distinguish it from the pixel-based selection tools. The white Arrow Tool is known as the Direct Selection Tool inside of all three programs.

How do you expand shapes in InDesign? ›

Resizing Objects
  1. Choose the Selection tool.
  2. Choose which handle to drag based on the following options : Drag the corner handles to change both the width and height. ...
  3. Drag the handle. If you drag quickly, you will see only the bounding box of the object . ...
  4. Release the mouse button when the object is the correct size.
Sep 8, 2010

What are the types of stroke InDesign? ›

A stroke can be solid or dashed. A solid stroke is an uninterrupted line. A dashed stroke consists of dashes or small lines spaced at uniform intervals. The stroke's color and opacity can be updated from the color picker.

How do you build arrows? ›

How to make arrows step-by-step
  1. Spin your arrow shafts. ...
  2. Cut arrow shafts. ...
  3. Mark the ends of your arrow shaft. ...
  4. Square the ends of the arrow shaft. ...
  5. Clean arrow shafts. ...
  6. Heat arrow insert. ...
  7. Apply cool melt to insert. ...
  8. Load arrow inserts.
Jan 10, 2023

How do you make an arrow type? ›

Make an Arrow on Android

Press and hold the caret key which is in the second row. You'll see a small toolbar display above the caret key with left, up, down, and right arrows. Slide your finger to the arrow you want and release.

How do I create an arrow shape in Illustrator? ›

To create arrows in Illustrator, draw a line with the Pen Tool. Then, open the Stroke menu and apply an arrowhead to either the start or endpoint of the stroke using the “Arrowheads” dropdown boxes. Change the stroke Weight input to increase and decrease the size of your arrow.

How do I draw an arrow in a document? ›

Draw or change a line or arrow
  1. Click Home, then click Shapes. , and choose the line or arrow shape that you want.
  2. Position the mouse pointer where you want the line to begin, and then drag the mouse.

How do I make an arrow in a PDF? ›

Click the Insert tab → the Shapes drop-down button → the Arrow option, then we can enter into the “Drawing tool” editing state.

How do I draw a line and arrow in Adobe Acrobat? ›

Draw on any PDF document.

Launch Acrobat and select File > Open to bring up your PDF. Select Comment from the menu bar on the right. Select the marker icon in the Comment toolbar to activate the Draw Free Form tool. Draw on the PDF.

How do you insert and format arrows shapes and lines? ›

Add a shape
  1. On the Insert tab, select Shapes.
  2. Select the shape you want from the drop-down gallery. ...
  3. Select a sizing handle on the perimeter of the shape and drag inward or outward to change the size of the shape. ...
  4. To move the shape, point the mouse at it until the pointer turns into a four-headed arrow.

What is the shortcut key for an arrow? ›

Keyboard Shortcuts - Windows ALT-Codes and Unicode Symbols
To type this symbolPress this on your keyboardDescription
Alt+24Up Arrow
Alt+25Down Arrow
Alt+26Right Arrow
Alt+27Left Arrow
60 more rows

Where are the symbols in InDesign? ›

From the Toolbox, select the Type Tool. Select the desired insertion point for the glyph. From the Type menu, select Glyphs.

How do you draw an arrow diagram from a function? ›

If X and Y are finite sets, you can define a function f from X to Y by drawing an arrow diagram. You make a list of elements in X and a list of elements in Y, and draw an arrow from each element in X to the corresponding element in Y. 1. Every element of X has an arrow coming out of it.

What does command V do in InDesign? ›

Keys for tools
ToolWindowsMac OS
Selection toolV, EscV, Esc
Direct Selection toolAA
Toggle Selection and Direct Selection toolCtrl+TabCommand+Control+Tab
Page toolShift+PShift+P
36 more rows
Feb 14, 2022

What is the L Alt key? ›

Windows Key is L-Alt Key and L-Alt Key is Windows Key.

What does Ctrl Shift L? ›

For example, to press the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+L to Toggle Filters, you will: Press & hold Ctrl, then press & hold Shift, then press L.

How do you change the end style of an arrow? ›

Select a connector. On the Format menu, click Line. Under Line ends, choose the type and size of line end that you want. Click OK.

What does the green arrow indicate InDesign? ›

Figure 4: A green alignment guide appears when the edge or center of one object is aligned to another object's edge or center. This alignment is very flexible and extensive. One object can align to the top, bottom, left, right, or center of another object.

What does the red arrow mean in layout? ›

It's an indication that the text box isn't tall enough. Adjust the text box size and it'll go away.

What is the red arrow on layout? ›

The red arrows indicate that some part of the text is clipped--not visible. The arrow should point in the direction of the clipped content.

Where are arrows Indesign? ›

Anyhow, if you want arrows in InDesign, it's pretty darn easy once you remember where the command is: Select the Line tool. Press down your left mouse button and drag out a line. (Hold the Shift key to constrain the line to 45-degree angles.)

How do you insert an arrow shape? ›

Draw or change a line or arrow
  1. Click Home, then click Shapes. , and choose the line or arrow shape that you want.
  2. Position the mouse pointer where you want the line to begin, and then drag the mouse.

Can you make symbols in Indesign? ›

Insert special characters

Using the Type tool, position the insertion point where you want to insert a character. Choose Type > Insert Special Character, and then select an option from any of the categories in the menu.

How do I insert an arrow symbol? ›

What to Know
  1. Windows: Using Alt key: type 24 (up), 25 (down), 26 (right), or 27 (left), and release Alt to create the arrow.
  2. Mac: Open the Character Viewer, select Arrows on the left, and double-click an arrow on the right.
  3. Android/iPhone: Android: Numeric keyboard > hold caret symbol > choose arrow.
Sep 27, 2022

What is the arrow shape called? ›

Arrowhead An arrowhead is a quadrilateral with two pairs of adjacent sides equal in length, and one of whose interior angles is a reflex angle. Equilateral Traiangle.

What is the format arrow? ›

Format. Apache Arrow defines a language-independent columnar memory format for flat and hierarchical data, organized for efficient analytic operations on modern hardware like CPUs and GPUs. The Arrow memory format also supports zero-copy reads for lightning-fast data access without serialization overhead.

How do I create text shapes in InDesign? ›

Using the Selection tool , select a frame, or using the Type tool , click inside the text frame or select text. Choose Object > Text Frame Options, or hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) and then double-click the text frame using a selection tool. Change text frame options, and then click OK.

How do you draw free shapes in InDesign? ›

Draw basic lines and shapes
  1. In the toolbox, do one of the following: To draw a line or shape, select the Line tool , the Ellipse tool , the Rectangle tool , or the Polygon tool . ...
  2. Drag in the document window to create the path or frame. To draw from the center out, hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS).
May 16, 2021

How do you make an arrow in docs? ›

Place the line on your drawing: Line, Elbow Connector, Curved Connector or Arrow: Click to start, then drag across the canvas.
  1. At the top of the page, find and click Shape.
  2. Choose the shape you want to use.
  3. Click and drag on the canvas to draw your shape.

How do I insert this symbol? ›

Go to Insert > Symbol. Pick a symbol, or choose More Symbols. Scroll up or down to find the symbol you want to insert. Different font sets often have different symbols in them and the most commonly used symbols are in the Segoe UI Symbol font set.

How do you type two arrows? ›

Alt + Code Method in Windows

For example, pressing Alt and then 8656 keys on the numeric pad will produce the leftwards double arrow symbol ⇐ .


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