How to Insert an Arrow in Excel 2013: A Step-by-Step Guide

Inserting an arrow in Excel 2013 is a straightforward process that enhances the visual representation of data. With a few clicks, you can add directional arrows to your spreadsheet, guiding the viewer’s eye to important information or indicating trends and relationships between data points.

After inserting an arrow, you’ll be able to customize it by changing its size, color, and direction, making your data presentation more effective and visually appealing.


Excel 2013 is not just about crunching numbers and creating charts; it’s also a powerful tool for visual communication. In the age of data, being able to highlight key information efficiently is crucial. Whether you’re a student trying to make your project more comprehensive, a business professional who wants to emphasize sales trends, or an educator demonstrating process flows, adding arrows to your Excel spreadsheets can significantly improve the readability and impact of your data.

But why is this topic important, and who stands to benefit from it? Well, think about the last time you tried to explain something complex. Didn’t you wish there was a simple way to point out exactly what you meant? That’s where inserting arrows in Excel comes in handy. They guide your audience’s attention to where it’s needed most, eliminating confusion and emphasizing the points you want to drive home.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Insert an Arrow in Excel 2013

In the following steps, you’ll learn how to insert and customize an arrow in an Excel 2013 spreadsheet, making your data presentation more dynamic and informative.

Step 1: Open the Insert Tab

Select the ‘Insert’ tab on the Excel ribbon.

This tab contains various tools to add objects to your spreadsheet, including shapes like arrows.

Step 2: Click on ‘Shapes’

Click on the ‘Shapes’ button within the ‘Insert’ tab.

A drop-down menu will appear, showing a wide array of shapes you can insert into your worksheet.

Step 3: Select an Arrow Shape

Choose the arrow style you prefer from the ‘Lines’ group.

There are several types of arrows, such as straight lines with arrowheads or curved arrows. Pick the one that fits your needs.

Step 4: Draw the Arrow on the Spreadsheet

Click and drag your mouse on the desired location in the worksheet to draw the arrow.

The size and orientation of the arrow will depend on how you drag the mouse. You can adjust these later if needed.

Step 5: Customize the Arrow (Optional)

Format the arrow by right-clicking it and selecting ‘Format Shape.’

Here you can change the arrow’s color, line thickness, and add effects like shadows or glow to make it stand out.


Enhances Data VisualizationArrows can make complex data more understandable by adding a directional or visual guide. This is particularly useful when dealing with large datasets or when trying to highlight a specific trend or relationship.
Improves PresentationA well-placed arrow can significantly improve your presentation’s aesthetics, making it look more professional and organized.
CustomizableExcel 2013 offers a variety of arrow styles and formatting options, allowing you to tailor the arrow’s appearance to suit your specific needs.


Can Clutter the SpreadsheetIf overused or placed without thought, arrows can make a spreadsheet look cluttered and confusing, defeating the purpose of using them.
May Not Suit All Data TypesArrows are excellent for indicating direction or flow but may not be suitable for all kinds of data representation.
Learning CurveWhile inserting a basic arrow is straightforward, mastering the full range of customization options may take some time and practice.

Additional Information

When you’re working on an Excel 2013 spreadsheet, remember that an arrow isn’t just an arrow. It’s a visual cue that can guide your audience through the data, emphasizing the points you consider most significant. You can use arrows to illustrate connections between different parts of the data, show progress or regression, or simply point out where to look next.

But wait, there’s more! Don’t limit yourself to the basics. Excel 2013 allows you to get creative with your arrows. You can bend them, twist them, make them dashed or dotted, and even pair them with other shapes to create a more elaborate visual story. And let’s not forget about the power of color coding; using different colors for your arrows can add an extra layer of meaning to your data presentation.

Remember to use this powerful feature wisely, though. It’s easy to get carried away and end up with a jumbled mess that’s more confusing than helpful. The key is balance and purpose—every arrow should have a clear reason for being there.


  1. Open the ‘Insert’ tab.
  2. Click on ‘Shapes.’
  3. Select an arrow style from the ‘Lines’ group.
  4. Draw the arrow on the spreadsheet.
  5. Customize the arrow, if desired.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I change the direction of an arrow after I’ve placed it in Excel 2013?

Yes, you can change the direction by clicking and dragging the handles at either end of the arrow.

Is it possible to add text to an arrow in Excel 2013?

Absolutely! After drawing your arrow, right-click it and select ‘Add Text.’ You can then type directly onto the arrow.

How do I delete an arrow from my Excel spreadsheet?

Just click on the arrow to select it and press the ‘Delete’ key on your keyboard.

Can I copy an arrow I’ve formatted and paste it elsewhere in Excel 2013?

Sure thing! Once you’ve got your arrow looking just right, right-click it, select ‘Copy,’ and then ‘Paste’ it wherever you need it.

What if I can’t find the arrow shape I need in Excel 2013?

Excel has a wide selection of arrows, but if you can’t find the perfect one, you can draw a custom shape using the ‘Freeform’ tool in the ‘Shapes’ menu.


By now, you should be an arrow-inserting wizard in Excel 2013. It’s a fantastic way to bring attention to key data points, demonstrate relationships, and make your spreadsheets more than just numbers on a page—they become stories about trends, progress, and insights.

Whether you’re in the boardroom, the classroom, or working on a personal project, knowing how to insert an arrow in Excel 2013 can give your data the direction and emphasis it deserves. Now, go forth and arrow away!

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