How to turn your drawings into reality with the drawing canvas in Word

How to turn your drawings into reality with the drawing canvas in Word

There are all sorts of shapes in Word, but did you know that there’s a way to quickly and easily create your own custom shapes? It can be very useful if you’re making diagrams or drawings and want to add connectors and additional elements to your diagrams. In this post, we’ll take a look at how to use the drawing canvas in Word to draw with easy-to-use tools, edit and format your pictures, add connectors between your objects, and even change the background color of your drawing canvas so you can stand out from the rest!


Sometimes, you want your words and diagrams to look more like a real life picture or diagram. You can do this by using the drawing canvas in Microsoft Word. With the drawing tool, you can add color and draw a picture, but also add arrows and other shapes which gives it that real touch.

Use the drawing canvas instead of inserting images

Inserting images can be a good way to bring a project life, but you may want more control over where they are located on the page. Drawing directly onto the page is another option that provides greater customization. Inserting a drawing canvas will enable you create drawings and illustrations right on top of your pages, which can be rotated, sized, moved and have real connectors drawn through them just like regular shapes.

It’s perfect for illustrating floor plans or mapping out projects. Once inserted and sized, use any pen color and thickness by clicking on it before starting a new line. Hold down shift while dragging out a connector from an existing shape to make an arrow or perpendicular connector that connects two shapes together with ease. It’s really easy!

Customize the size of the layout grid

By changing the size of the layout grid, you can increase or decrease how much of an image will be displayed. You can also change it back and forth to see what looks best.

Replace a shape with text

You can replace any shape, text or arrow in your document with an object. The easiest way to do this is by clicking on the desired shape, text or arrow and dragging it onto a page. When you let go of the mouse button, you’ll see place as an option. Select that and select Insert > Picture > Picture from File (underneath Drawing) from the drop-down menu that appears.

Now browse for a picture file on your computer and click Open when you find it. This will insert a new shape on top of what was there before – it will also include things like fonts, colors and formatting so there’s no need to change them unless you want something different.

Use touchpoints to change section outlines

Word’s drawing canvas can help make a quick sketch of what you want to draw into a real graphic. It’s incredibly simple to use and allows you to create realistic connections between graphics and text, which is perfect for dashboards, maps, and data visualization! When starting a new document in Word, select Drawings > New Drawing. Drag out a rectangular shape on the left-hand side where you want the canvas or paper image to be visible. (See Step 1) You should see that rectangle shape become outlined in blue – this means it’s selected as your drawing area. Click Drawings > Shapes & Lines > Rectangle and set its width and height as appropriate.

Change font formatting within shapes

Add a special touch by changing font formatting within shapes. You’ll want to change the fonts by going to Home>Fonts and clicking on more fonts at the bottom of the window.

Add connectors and lines between shapes

  • On the Drawing toolbar, select Connector from the drop-down list.
  • Draw a line or shape on your drawing canvas
  • Select Line on the Drawing toolbar and draw one of more lines for connector arms
  • Click Done on the Drawing toolbar and name your connector
  • Right-click on any anchor point (the purple circles) and select Move Point
  • Pick up any anchor point that you want to reposition
  • Drag it where you want

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