Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Changing How Arrows Look.

Changing How Arrows Look

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 12, 2020)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


The Insert tab of the ribbon (click Shapes in the Illustrations group) allows you to place arrows within your workbook. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Shapes tool on the Insert tab of the ribbon.

Once an arrow is placed where you want it, you can easily change the way the arrow looks by following these steps:

  1. Select the arrow by clicking on it. (You can tell if the arrow is selected by whether there are handles at each end of the arrow line.)
  2. Display the Format tab or Shape Format tab of the ribbon. (This tab is visible only after you select the arrow you previously placed in the worksheet.)
  3. Click the Shape Outline tool in the Shape Styles group. Excel displays a palette of options.
  4. Choose the Arrows option, and you'll see a variety of choices for how the arrow should appear. Pick the option that represents what you want, and it is applied to the line. (See Figure 2.)
  5. Figure 2. The Arrows option within the Shape Outline tool.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9456) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Changing How Arrows Look.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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