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Arrow Variations 039

Fast Arrows

These arrows can help convey speed and purpose. There are three basic designs, each with its own set of variations. Be sure to take a look at all of the variations before choosing the fast-track arrow you'd like to use. They are easy to use: most of the designs are one field, which makes formatting easy. As with all frameworks and graphics that convey movement or speed, gradients work really well.

V1s and V2s are the same graphic, but with the center horizontal area at different heights to accommodate smaller and larger text strings. V1 is thinner than V2. They both have from one through six segments.

V1a and b through V4 have no segments, but a center horizontal area in two different heights to accommodate smaller and larger text strings.

Customizing the vertically sliced circles

Adjust size

Since most of the fast arrows are one field, sizing is easy. Simply size or rescale (hold shift key down as you resize) the field. With those variations that have multiple fields, group first and then resize/rescale.

Color variations

This version of the fast arrow and a few others are multiple fields. If you are using PowerPoint 2007 or 2010, then you can just group the fields and apply a gradient to the field. If you're using PowerPoint 2003, then you will need to color each field individually. The coloring was done on the fast arrow below by applying one color to all of the fields, then lightening each field to the left of the right-most arrow. The colors are lighter hues of the original color.

PowerPoint 2007 options

The drop shadows look really nice, but use these formatting embellishments only when the space between fast arrow fields or between elements of a fast arrow field are not obscured by the formatting. Sometimes shadows, glows, etc., can fill in the space too much and make graphic elements indistinct. Just be careful with this formatting.

3D variations

3D can also fill in the spaces too much. If you use 3D, just be sure to set the depth to between 3 and 5 points. Also make sure that the layering of the fields (when using a fast arrow that has multiple fields) is correct.


Shadows in PowerPoint 2003 look dated and will actually detract from the overall quality of your presentation. This is a general rule. The shadows available in PowerPoint 2007 and 2010 are great. Consider using a reflection instead of a shadow, as in the series example. Shadows can fill in the space between elements/fields of the fast arrows too much.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

Gradients are a great way to emphasize movement and speed. Use this technique: darkest at the right-hand side of the graphic and lightest at the left-hand side.


The animation example uses Light Speed as an Entrance animation. This animation further emphasizes the "fast" aspect of the arrow. It's not an animation that is generally recommended, but it is perfect for this type of message.

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