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How to Add an Arrow to Text Boxes in a Chart in Excel 2013

When creating a text box in Excel 2013, you may want to add an arrow to point directly to the object or part of the chart you’re referencing. To add an arrow, follow these steps:

  1. Click the text box to which you want to attach the arrow in the chart or worksheet.

    Sizing handles appear around the text box and the Format tab under the Drawing Tools contextual tab is added to the Ribbon.

  2. Click the Format tab by the Arrow command button in the Insert Shapes drop-down gallery.

    The Arrow command button is the second from the left in the row in the Lines section (with the picture of an arrow) of the gallery. When you click this button, the mouse pointer or Touch Pointer assumes the crosshair shape.

  3. Drag the crosshair pointer from the place on the text box where the end of the arrow (the one without the arrowhead) is to appear to the place where the arrow starts (and the arrowhead will appear) and release the mouse button or remove your finger or stylus from the touchscreen.

    As soon as you do this, Excel draws two points, one at the base of the arrow (attached to the text box) and another at the arrowhead. At the same time, the contents of the Shape Styles drop-down gallery changes to line styles.

  4. Click the More button in the lower-right corner of the Shape Styles drop-down gallery to display the thumbnails of all its line styles and then highlight the thumbnails to see how the arrow would look in each.

    As you move through the different line styles in this gallery, Excel draws the arrow between the two selected points in the text box using the highlighted style.

  5. Click the thumbnail of the line style you want the new arrow to use in the Shape Styles gallery.

Excel then draws a new arrow using the selected shape style, which remains selected (with selection handles at the beginning and end of the arrow). You can then edit the arrow as follows:

  • Move the arrow by dragging its outline into position.

  • Change the length of the arrow by dragging the sizing handle at the arrowhead.

  • Change the direction of the arrow by pivoting the crosshair pointer around a stationary sizing handle.

  • Change the shape of the arrowhead or the thickness of the arrow’s shaft by clicking a thumbnail on the Shape Styles drop-down gallery.

    Click a new option on the Shape Outline and Shape Effects buttons on the Format tab of the Drawing Tools contextual tab or open the Format Shape task pane (Ctrl+1) and then select the appropriate options on its Line Color, Line Style, Shadow, Reflection, Glow and Soft Edges, 3-D Format, 3-D Rotation, Size, and Text Box tabs.

  • Delete the selected arrow by pressing the Delete key.

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