Sometimes, you’ll want to make arrows with a more dramatic, flowing effect, or a curved or tapered effect :
In other words, a swoosh arrow. The good news is that PowerPoint 2010 makes this easy. This means that you should no longer use the PowerPoint default options, which are relatively dull :
Sometimes these are good enough. You wouldn’t want to be making sophisticated arrows all the time, because a swoosh arrow takes a little more effort to create. But in some situations, it is worth the effort.
Step 1: Create a block arrow
The first step is to create a directional block arrow. The key is to make the arrow the right size from the start. If you later find that you haven’t sized your arrow correctly, you’re going to have to start over, so it’s important to get the arrow’s head size right from the start.
If you are creating a series of swoosh arrows and want them to have same-sized heads, make several copies of the block arrow once it is sized properly.
Step 2: Rotate the arrow to the desired angle
Use the green handle to rotate the arrow.
Focusing on the arrow head, make sure it is rotated in the desired direction.
It is important to position the arrow head correctly because you want to avoid having to adjust things later on, when it would take much longer and be more work to fix.
Step 3: Convert the arrow into a freeform shape
Now you need to convert the arrow into a freeform shape so that it can be transformed into a sexier arrow.
First, select the arrow by left-clicking on it. Second, in PowerPoint 2010, click on the Format tab > Edit shape, then select Edit points. You could draw a curved arrow, but it is way easier to convert an arrow than to create one.
- Picture modification image
Step 4: Edit the arrow’s shape
Now that the arrow is a directional freeform shape, you can edit its corner points to change its shape. Click on any point, then reposition it where you want, to make the arrow any shape you want. You can keep both of the starting corner points and bring them closer together, like I did, or delete one of them so the arrow starts from a single point instead. If possible, I suggest you avoid touching the three edit points that form the “V” of the arrow head. If you start playing with these, you can ruin the integrity of the arrow.
Step 5: Edit the arrow’s curve
You’re going to need to use the handles to adjust the angles of the corner points of the arrow to create the desired curve.
To give the arrow a curve, move the handle, not the point itself. You have to edit the curve of the four points of the body of the arrow, one by one.
If possible, I suggest you avoid touching the three edit points that form the “V” of the arrow head. If you start playing with these, you can ruin the integrity of the arrow.
Step 6: Apply an effect to the arrow
You can now apply an effect. Even a standard effect will give your arrow flair.
To create the arrow shown at the beginning of the article, change the color, apply a slight gradient, and add the right effect:
Most of the time, a simple curved arrow will communicate just fine, and you don’t necessarily want arrows to stand out. However, when an arrow is important to what you’re trying to communicate and it needs a little extra flair or panache, this is a great option.