This is driving me mad....when I add a 'Connector' to my diagram it is a certain Connector type (Association, Composition, Aggregation, etc...)

I have to select one of those types. And those types have a default arrow type. Even though I go into 'Format Shape' and change the drop down for 'Begin Arrow type' and 'End Arrow type' nothing changes.

How do I get the appearance I select in the 'Begin Arrow type' and 'End Arrow type' drop-downs to be reflected on the screen?

7 Answers 7


Yea same here but I found it after a while of looking about.

The default styles are loaded based on the kind of project you start with. I started with a UML template so it loads styles based on UML. You can, however, change everything about the object as pictured.

Arrow Style Editing

  • 1
    It does make a difference on which UML template you start with. I ended up just making a new file with UML Activity and it had the arrows I expected. Dec 26, 2017 at 20:51
  • this does not work in BPMN diagram template. I think it supports only specific templates. can you mentioned which template is this for? thank you Jan 8, 2021 at 6:05
  • check BEGIN ARROW TYPE... that will add ARROW for the starting POINT also!
    – HydTechie
    Feb 15, 2021 at 11:07

Insert your arrow as usual and then highlight it.

Once this is completed, navigate to the Home tab > Shape Styles, click the line dropdown and select the type of arrow you need.


The availability of the arrow types depend on your shape selection.

You can select business->brainstorming and association line from there for a double sided arrow and I'm sure there are similar arrows in other shape groups.

An arrow with both sides is not available for all types of drawings.


I am no expert on this but a similar problem here suggests that the style constraint may prevent manual changes to lines. This link suggests how to disable the style constraint, but for Visio 2010:

In Visio 2010 the Styles have been deprecated and are not on any of the toolbars or right click options. Here is what I did: 1. Choose File > Options > Quick Access Toolbar (You could also customize a ribbon for this.) 2. From the drop down choose Commands Not in the Ribbon 3. Scroll down and select Style. (Do not choose Style... as this displays a dialog. 4. Choose Add to add the Style option drop down to the Quick Access toolbar.

Now you have the ability to remove the style from the Relationship shape.

To change the Relationship shape: 1. Select the shape 2. From the Quick Access Toolbar select the Style drop down and choose No Style 3. Right click the Relationship shape and choose Format Line 4. Set the line begin and line end to the desired format


I had a similar problem recently when I wanted to add a page with a simple ERD to a diagram that originally started as a UML project. No matter what begin/end selector I chose, it just wouldn't apply.

It seems, as ppumkin indicated that some default styles are loaded when you select your project, with this come some constraints though, and it seems in my case the UML project prevents choosing line endings. I was able to fix this by opening the shape sheet and navigating to the Line Format section. You'll see that the begin arrow and end arrow values are set to "Guard(0)", e.g. set it to beginning/end arrow 0 and don't let it change. Just replace Guard(0) with zero and then you'll be able to set the arrow to what ever you want normally.

Unfortunately it only changes the one line, so you'll have to copy and paste your unlocked line to use else where, or keep fixing the shape sheet ... so not an ideal solution.


Visio 2019 update

The other answers didn't work for me, I found this way:

  1. On the left, search for line
  2. Under "Computers and Monitors" select Dynamic connector
  3. Select the connector
  4. Home -> Line -> Arrows -> More arrows
  5. On the right, under Format Shape, change Begin Arrow Type and End Arrow Type with the type of arrow you prefer.

enter image description here


For M365's Visio Online, try steps below:

  1. Select the line/connector with left-click and then right click your to call out the menu.
  2. There will be a floating panel over the regular right-click menu. Click on the Line button to display the dropdown where you can configure the bi-directional arrow under the Arrorws submenu.


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