How to Draw Arrows in AutoCAD

By Editorial Team

Updated September 28, 2017

Arrows in AutoCAD are called
i Hemera Technologies/ Images

AutoCAD can be a confusing program, even for architects and engineers who use it on a daily basis. Mastering a few basics will help shorten the learning curve. Knowing how to draw arrows in AutoCAD is a good first step. In AutoCAD terminology, arrows are called "leaders." Before you begin drawing leaders, you should define the parameters governing how your arrows will look. Then, with a few mouse clicks, you can call out notes to your drawings.

Launch AutoCAD and load the Dimension Style Manager. In newer versions of AutoCAD, load the Multileader Style Manager. You can choose whether your arrows will consist of straight lines or curved (a "spline"). You can also determine what the head of the arrow will look like, how large it is and whether it is an actual arrow, a dot or a tick mark. Additionally, you can set the line weights and types.

Design the appearance of the arrow you want to draw in AutoCAD. If you prefer to type in commands or use shortcuts, type "leader" into the command prompt. Alternately, you can select "leader" from the dimension menu, or just click the "Leader" button on the dimensioning toolbar. Then, click on the start point – what you want the arrow to point at.

Click the location where you want the arrow to bend. You can click a second bend point, or a third or fourth – you can draw as many bend points as you want, although typical arrows only have one. Press "Enter" to finish drawing the arrow.

Enter the first line of annotation text when prompted. Simply press "Enter" to complete the command with no text.


Creating an arrow in AutoCAD may feel clumsy the first time around, but with practice, you'll get the hang of it.

You may wish to draw arrows for purposes besides calling out notes on your drawings. You can use arrows to indicate true north or dimensions of angles and other shapes.