Using Connectors with Shapes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 22, 2020)

2

Drawing shapes are a great way to add common graphic flourishes to your document. The drawing capabilities of Word allow you to define connectors that link different shapes together. These connectors are available if you create your drawing within the drawing canvas, and they are dynamic in nature. This means that even if you move the connected shapes around on the canvas, the connectors stretch, bend, and move as necessary to keep the links valid.

To see how connectors work, try this:

  1. Display the Insert tab of the ribbon.
  2. In the Illustrations group, click the Shapes tool. Word displays a plethora of options.
  3. Click New Drawing Canvas. Word displays the drawing canvas and the Format tab of the ribbon. (This step is very important; if you don't work in a drawing canvas, you cannot use connectors.)
  4. Using the Insert Shapes group at the left of the ribbon, select a shape you want to create.
  5. Click and drag within the drawing canvas to create the shape you selected in step 4.
  6. Use the Insert Shapes group to choose another shape.
  7. Click and drag within the drawing canvas to create the second shape.
  8. Again, using the Insert Shapes group, select the connector you want to use. (Connectors are in the Lines category. If you hover the mouse pointer over the "line" you will see a description such as "Connector: Elbow" or "Connector: Curved.")
  9. In the drawing canvas, move the mouse pointer over one of the shapes you previously placed. You should see one or more connector dots appear around the perimeter of the shape. (The color and style of these dots vary depending on which version of Word you are using.) These dots are smaller than the regular handles, and they represent connection points you can use.
  10. Click on or near one of the connection points. This anchors one end of the connector. (See Figure 1.)
  11. Figure 1. One end of the connector is anchored.

  12. Move the mouse pointer over the other shape and click on a connection point there. The connector is now in place. (See Figure 2.)
  13. Figure 2. Both ends of the connector is anchored to both shapes.

Note that in step 9 you may not see any connector dots by moving the mouse pointer over one of the shapes. If that is the case, click on one end of the connector line and drag it to the perimeter of the shape. The mouse pointer changes to a large plus sign and at least one connector dot appears on the perimeter of the shape. "Drop" the end of the connector line on a connection point and that end of the connector line is anchored to the shape. Repeat this process with the other end of the connector line to anchor it to the other shape.

Now you can move the original shapes around, and the connector remains connected to the two connection points you selected. You can add additional shapes, as desired, with any connectors you desire.

You should be aware that connectors are only available between shapes placed on the drawing canvas. If you try to create a connector involving a shape that is outside of the drawing canvas, connectors are no longer available from the menus or ribbon.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6277) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

The Last Business Day

Many businesses need to know when the last business day of the month occurs. This tip discusses several ways you can ...

Discover More

Getting the Name of the Parent Workbook

If you need to insert into a cell the name of the workbook in which a worksheet is contained, you can use the CELL ...

Discover More

Rounding Time

Need to round the time in a cell to a certain value? There are a couple of ways you can do this with a formula.

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Grouping Drawing Objects

Drawing objects are easily added to a document. You can group these objects so they are easier to manage by following the ...

Discover More

Always Printing Drawing Objects

Add a bunch of drawing objects to your document, and you may wonder how to make sure they all appear on a printout. How ...

Discover More

Rotating a Drawing Object

You can add all sorts of drawing objects to a document. Once placed, you can then rotate them to your heart's content. ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 6 - 4?

2020-04-14 20:09:40

Rai , Basanta

Hi
I first inserted the rectangle shape . I type some text inside shape . I also inserted circle inside rectangle. Now I am trying to move rectangle along with text and circle , but I circle is left behind. How can I move all this as single shape .


2020-03-06 14:49:20

CityKidz

I tried doing this, but had no success until I learned that you must first create the connector & group it with the shapes then you must stretch the connector to size in order for the connection points to appear. Then I could move the points around and see the telltale green dots that indicated I successfully connected the lines. After this, I can move the shapes and the connecting lines stay connected.


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.