I was able in the past to double click on a PowerPoint arrow/line in order to add a caption to the line. This is not working in PP 2010.

Anyone knows a way to add text to a line ? (without creating a group with a text box and a line)

PS: I'm not totally sure about being able to do it. I have the feeling that I was double clicking on line to have text next to it on a 2003 version.

  • 1
    What version of PowerPoint were you using when you were able to do this?
    – wizlog
    Dec 8 '11 at 17:46
  • 4
    You may be remembering Visio, where connecting arrows do work that way... Nov 2 '13 at 15:51

You may've used one of the arrow autoshapes, but regular lines (and lines with arrowheads) have never allowed this. Under the hood, most shapes have what's called a "text frame", which is PowerPoint's container for text associated with that shape. Lines and arrows don't have a text frame and so can't contain text.

  • 2
    Where are these arrow autoshapes hidden away now?
    – Stewart
    Feb 27 '18 at 15:09
  • 13
    This is unbelievable. Oct 21 '18 at 22:43

Shapes such as squares, circles, callout balloons, and block arrows* can contain text. When you type text into a shape, the text attaches to the shape and moves and rotates with it.

  • To add text that becomes part of a shape, select the shape, and then type or paste text.

If you need any additonal help, or want to see how I came up with my answer, you can watch the video on this site, and/or look at this Microosft Help and How-To

*To add a block arrow, use Insert->Shapes->Block Arrows (PowerPoint 2010 and later).

  • 2
    What are block arrows ? How to create them ?
    – Guillaume
    Dec 9 '11 at 9:36
  • 1
    From the "Insert" ribbon tab, select "Shapes" from the "Illustration" section, you should find block arrows available. I'm using PowerPoint 2013
    – Rob Bowman
    Oct 1 '14 at 14:54
  • The block arrows are not changing line "weight" / width even after setting them manually in properties. This renders them too fat and awkward/clunky. Aug 8 '16 at 20:11
  • 2
    Agreed, the block arrows aren't good for the purpose. Not only are they too chunky, but they don't anchor to flowchart shapes. How do you draw a flowchart without being able to label the decision arrows?
    – Stewart
    Feb 27 '18 at 15:55
  • 1
    The block arrows make me feel like a design-challenged 7 year old. Oct 21 '18 at 22:50

You can create Line and Text box, select and Group them. It might not be perfect, but text will always stay with that connector line.

  • ya that's been the workaround for some years.. do you have a hammer and some delicate glass objects I can apply it to ? alright .. back to that approach.. Oct 21 '18 at 22:50
  • 1
    Hmm. I just tried this myself (under PowerPoint 2016), and see that the connector remains anchored to the flowchart shapes; however, when I move the flowchart shapes the text doesn't follow the connector. :(
    – Stewart
    Nov 14 '18 at 11:39

In PP2007 and PP2010 you can add text to lines that connect boxes within certain SmartArt objects such as a Horizontal Hierarchy diagram. The text is automatically rotated to align with the direction of the connecting line. To do this, create a Horizontal Hierarchy SmartArt object, define two or more hierarchical entries, then click on one of the lines connecting the hierarchical boxes and start typing.

  • and of course that feature no longer exists (PPT 2016) Oct 21 '18 at 22:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.