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Tutorial for Arrow Variation 026 – Swooping Arrows

Using the Arrows

The arrows in this series are more useful than other sets of arrows. They can be used in all the standard applications, but arrow versions within this series can be used in very particular application – with X and Y axes charts. Notice that the thumbnail has two versions of the same arrow. One with a pointed tail and one with a squared-off tail. The arrow versions with squared off tails can be used behind data-driven column or bar charts to emphasize trend or they can be used with non-data-driven charts using axes to illustrate projections not supported with hard data (as in the series example). The squared-off tails of the arrows allow for the arrows to butt up against the Y axis without having the part of the tail visible on the left side of the Y axis – a very useful attribute. Notice that a squared-off arrow was used in the series example.

The other benefit of this series is that the arrows are developed with the same arrowhead and style. This means that arrows from this series can be used within a presentation and appear stylistically consistent – an important quality in professional presentations.

Customizing the Arrows

Adjust size

Single-field arrows can be scaled by holding the shift key down as you resize. Group the multifield arrows before resizing or rescaling.

Color variations

Use colors from your PowerPoint templates color palette or complementary colors. Arrows are generally used liberally within presentations. It is a good idea to keep the colors uniform so that the presentation appears cohesive and consistent.

3D variations

By all means use 3D if if complements the style elements in the rest of your presentation. Standard 3D (as in the series example) or bevels add dimension, depth, and visual appeal to the arrows in this series.


Shadows can add interest, but be sure that the shadows do not obscure the content on the slide. The shadow effects in PowerPoint 2007 are particularly nice.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

Gradients are especially nice. Patterns can be effective if you use patterns as a design element throughout your presentation, although this is a PowerPoint 2003 option only. Pictures are a little tricky. It will be difficult to get the exact section of the photograph you want to show up in the arrow. If you decide you want to try to do this, plan on spending a little time on it.


Arrows suggest direction, so use animated wipes to help communicate the directional flow.

Series that relate to this tutorial:

AV026 – Arrow Variation 026 – Swooping Arrows

Possible use example

Links to instructions for getting the framework into your presentation

  1. Determine the best file type for your needs
  2. Download the file
  3. Import the framework into your presentation
    1. Importing a PPT file
    2. Importing a EMF or PNG
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