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, 2011 at 17:46
  • 4
    You may be remembering Visio, where connecting arrows do work that way... Nov 2, 2013 at 15:51

5 Answers 5


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.

  • 3
    Where are these arrow autoshapes hidden away now?
    – Stewart
    Feb 27, 2018 at 15:09
  • 17
    This is unbelievable. Oct 21, 2018 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).

  • 3
    What are block arrows ? How to create them ?
    – Guillaume
    Dec 9, 2011 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, 2014 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, 2016 at 20:11
  • 3
    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, 2018 at 15:55
  • 1
    The block arrows make me feel like a design-challenged 7 year old. Oct 21, 2018 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, 2018 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, 2018 at 11:39
  • Will this also rotate the text if snap to object is used on the line and one of the two objects it connects is moved? I don't think so... Dec 12, 2022 at 14:09

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, 2018 at 22:49

If you create an unadorned text box, then create two lines/arrows to connect on either side of the text box, it mostly looks like a label in the middle of a single, long arrow, especially if you do something like replacing a single-arrow with a line and another single-arrow, or a double-arrow with opposing single-arrows.

I think this is better than trying to create a text box near a single line/arrow and grouping them together, because the grouping approach doesn't move the label if the line moves because you moved the object(s) that are connected to the line endpoints. Two lines/arrows don't move the label, either, but they also don't disassociate the line from the label. You will still have the lines pointing to the label and can then move the label.

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