How To Make An Arrow In Photoshop

Arrows are valuable graphic resources. You can use them for many purposes, such as to indicate things in manuals and decorate cards. Luckily, it’s quick and easy to learn how to make an arrow in Photoshop.

It only takes a few clicks to make an arrow in Photoshop. But if you prefer maximum customization, you can create your own arrows from scratch. Thankfully, you will learn how to do all the above in this article. Plus, I selected a free pack with hundreds of arrows for you to download in case you just need a bunch of new arrows without the hassle of creating them.

Video Tutorial

How To Make A Basic Arrow With The Line Tool 

You can turn a straight line into an arrow by adding an arrowhead. Additionally, you can customize the arrowhead in many ways.

First, click the Line Tool in the Toolbar

Alternatively, press Shift + U until the Line Tool appears in the Toolbar

Next, go to the Options bar and set the line tool mode to Shape.

Then, click the gear icon on the right side of the same bar.

In the Arrowheads section, you will find options to adjust your arrowhead.

You can place an arrowhead at the Start or the End of a straight line. Mark both options if you need a double arrow. 

You can also change the arrowhead Width.

You can adjust the Length of the arrowhead by as many pixels as you want.

Increase Concavity to make the arrowhead look curved.

After adjusting all the necessary arrowhead settings, drag out on your canvas to create the arrow. 

Arrowhead with 37 pixels width, 47 pixels height, and no concavity

After adjusting the arrowhead settings, you can customize the arrow as a whole in the Options bar.

Fill changes the color of the arrow.

However, the fill color is only evident when you set the stroke to zero. 

The higher the stroke, the more invisible the fill color becomes.

You can change the stroke color in Recently Used Colors. Alternatively, pick any color you want from the Color Picker Panel represented by the colorful box icon.

You can adjust the arrow stroke width by moving the stroke width slider.

Stroke set to 5

If you set the stroke width to a high value, the arrowhead will be filled with the stroke color.

Stroke set to 15

Change the arrow width and height in the Width and Height boxes.

Alternatively, push the control points around the arrow up or down to change its height.

You can also move the control points to the left or right to alter the width of the arrows. Hold Shift to keep the arrow proportions while resizing it.

How To Create A Custom Arrow Shape In Photoshop

If you are unhappy with the arrow you made with the line tool, you can create an arrow from scratch by combining a rectangle and a triangle. Here is how to do it. 

First, select the Rectangle Tool (U) in the Toolbar.

Then, go to the Options bar and set Fill to any color you want by clicking the fill box.

Next, drag out on the canvas to create a rectangle.

Now, create a new layer by pressing the little plus sign icon in the Layers panel.

With the new layer selected, click the Triangle Tool in the Toolbar.

Alternatively, press Shift + U until the triangle icon appears in the Toolbar.

With the triangle tool active, drag out on the canvas while holding Shift to create an equilateral triangle. Let go of the mouse when you are satisfied with the size of the triangle.

The triangle will serve as an arrowhead to the arrow. Now, you must assemble the arrow. To do this, drag the triangle as close to the rectangle as possible.

Then, go to the Properties panel and find the Rotate option.

 If you can’t see the Properties panel, go to Window > Properties.

Then, select the 90-degree option from the Rotate drop-down menu.

That will rotate the triangle by 90 degrees.

Now, assemble the arrow by dragging the triangle towards the rectangle.

If you can’t assemble the arrow perfectly on the first try, select both the rectangle and the triangle layer by clicking one layer after another while holding Shift.

Then, click Align Vertical Centers in the Options bar.

That will align the triangle and the rectangle centers perfectly, creating a pleasing visual balance.

Before – Shapes with misaligned centers
After – Shapes with aligned centers

After combining the triangle with the rectangle, you need to turn the shapes into a single arrow that you can save to use later.

To do this, select both the rectangle and the triangle layer again by clicking both layers while holding Shift.

Then, right-click (Win) or Control + click (Mac) any of the layers and choose Merge Shapes.

The triangle and the rectangle will occupy the same layer and be successfully converted into an arrow.

 You can change the name of the resulting layer to keep things more organized.

Now that you created your arrow, you can save it for later use. To do this, go to Edit > Define Custom Shape.

A dialog box will appear for you to name your arrow. Name your new arrow, and click OK to confirm your choice.

You can now access your new shape via the Shapes panel while the Custom Shape Tool is active.

If you don’t see your arrow immediately, use the search bar to find it.

Where To Find Free Arrow Shapes For Photoshop

Sometimes you can’t create your own arrows because you don’t have time or for another reason. That’s why it’s always a good idea to store new custom shapes. Luckily, I selected a free arrow resource for you to download and use whenever you want.

Brusheezy has thousands of excellent free brushes for you to download. Besides brushes, it also offers other resources, and shapes are one of them.

Browsing the website, I found a nice pack of 230 arrow shapes called Abundant Arrow. There are arrows for all tastes, from regular arrows to full-of-style arrows, including outlined and curvy arrows. With this pack, you will have plenty of arrows to use in various projects!

To download the pack, follow this link: Abundant Arrow. Then click the blue Download button on the webpage. 

Once the download is complete, find the pack where you downloaded it. The pack is compressed into a zip file. 

 Then, right-click the folder and choose Extract All (Win) or double-click on the folder (Mac).

Once the process is completed, a new folder will appear on your screen with the same name as the zip folder. 

This folder contains a .CSH file, a Photoshop custom shape file. Double-click the file to install it.

Next time you open Photoshop, your new pack will appear in a folder within the Shapes panel.

If you don’t see the pack immediately, use the Shapes panel search bar.

Now, if you want to take this one step further, you can learn how to create curved arrows in Photoshop here.

Happy Editing!

Article By

Brendan Williams

Hey, I'm Brendan! I'm a professional photographer and photo retoucher who has spent the majority of his career shooting or retouching outdoor lifestyle and social media campaigns for brands like G-Adventures, xoxo Bella, P&G, Fitbit, Chevy, Tourism California, and more. You can view my photography portfolio here.

These days I primarily focus my efforts on this site, creating guides and tutorials that I wish I had earlier in my career. Each week I publish new tutorials on Photography, Photoshop, Lightroom, and Canva to help you unlock new skills and bring your creativity to new levels! Everything you learn here is backed by real experience, so you can finally skip the fluff and focus only on what matters.

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