How to Create Drawings in Word

Yes, you can freehand draw whatever you want

When you can’t find the right clip art for your Word document, draw your own. Microsoft Word contains a variety of shapes that can be used alone or in combination to create stunning graphics.

You can choose from a basic line, circle, and square shapes to create simple graphics, or use arrow, callout, banner, and star shapes to make information stand out. Draw with the flowchart shapes to illustrate a process, or use the freeform line and shape to create your own images.

These directions work for all PC versions of Word (from Word 2010 to Word 2016) and Word for Mac. You cannot add shapes in Word Online.

Draw Basic Lines and Shapes

When you want to draw a simple shape in your Word document, use one of the predefined shapes to do the job for you.

A screenshot of the shapes available in Microsoft Word

Here’s how to draw a basic shape:

  1. Select Insert > Shapes.
  2. Choose the shape you want to draw.
  3. Select the location in the document where you want to start the shape and drag to the ending point. To create a perfect square or circle, press and hold Shift while you drag the cursor.

To change the size of a shape, select the sizing handles, drag, and release when the shape is the size you want.

Create a Freestyle Drawing

Can’t find the shape you want? Draw your own with the Freeform shapes. Use Freeform: Scribbles to draw a shape that looks hand-drawn, or use Freeform: Shape to draw a shape that has curved and straight segments. You'll find both of these shapes in the Line section of the Shapes list.

The Freeform shape tools can be a little awkward to work with; you may want to practice in a blank document first.

To draw with the Scribble shape, select Insert > Shapes > Freeform: Scribble, then select the location where you want to start the shape and drag in any direction to draw.

To Draw a Freeform Shape:

  1. Select Insert > Shapes > Freeform: Shape.
  2. To draw a series of straight lines, select the beginning point of the first segment, then move the mouse pointer and select a space to finish the first segment. Create as many segments as you need.
  3. To draw a curve segment, select the beginning point and drag to the ending point.
  4. To close the shape, select the beginning point.

Format Shapes With the Drawing Tools in Word

When you select a shape, the Drawing Tools Format tab is added to the Word menu. The Format tab gives you a variety of options to change the look, color, and style of the shapes you’ve added to your Word document.

A screenshot of the Drawing Tools Format tab in Word showing the shape styles options

To change the color and appearance of a shape, select it, then select Format. Here are a few ways you can change a shape so it fits the color and design of your document:

  • Choose a predefined style: Select a theme from the Shape Styles list to change the color, outline, and text.
  • Change the color of the shape: Select Shape Fill and select a color, gradient, or texture.
  • Use a different outline color or width: Select Shape Outline and choose a color or weight.
  • Add shadows and other effects: Select Shape Effects and choose an effect. If you hover over the effect, you’ll see a preview in your document.
  • Type text in a shape: Select the shape and start typing.

Edit a Shape

There are two ways to change the shape of a shape: either switch to a different shape or move the endpoints.

To switch to a different shape, select Format > Edit Shape > Change Shape and choose the shape you want.

To move the endpoints to change the shape of a shape:

  1. Select the shape you want to change.
  2. Select Format > Edit Shape > Edit Points.
  3. Select a point on the shape and drag it to adjust the size of the shape.

Create Shapes on the Drawing Canvas

If you’re looking for an effortless way to group shapes together, create a drawing canvas. After you’ve added shapes to the drawing canvas, you can move the canvas wherever you want within your document and the shapes move with it.

To create a drawing canvas:

  1. Select Insert > Shapes > New Drawing Canvas.
  2. Drag the sizing handles to resize the drawing canvas.
  3. Select the frame and move it to a new location in your document.
  4. Add shapes to the drawing canvas.

To make your drawing canvas stand out, select the canvas and select Format. Give your canvas an outline shape or fill color.

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