Mike writes: I want to add an arrow to some pictures. With a photo open (in the photos app for Mac) on my MacBook Pro, I can go to Edit > Emoji & Symbols, and then I get a big box with all the symbols. I can select any symbol, but then there is no way to add it to the photo. Clicking and dragging doesn’t work, double clicking doesn’t work, and there is no button to insert it. Please help!
Hi Mike! Yep, it’s pretty confusing that there’s an Emoji & Symbols option in the Edit menu that doesn’t seem to do anything in the photo app for Mac. As it turns out, the Emoji & Symbols window is just a standard Finder feature, and it’s not compatible with Photos at all.
That said, there is a relatively easy way to add arrows, circles, squares, and even text to your images. One way is by using the Preview app, a method I’ve already covered. But you can also add arrows to pictures in the photos app for Mac, too. Here’s the trick.
Open the image, click the Edit Photo button in the top-right corner of the screen (it’s one marked with a trio of sliders), click the Extensions button that appears to the right of the photo, then click Markup.
You should now see seven new Markup buttons in the top-left corner of the screen. The first three buttons let you free sketch, draw shapes and arrows, and add text, respectively, while the following four buttons let you adjust the width of drawn lines, change the color of lines and shapes, and tweak text fonts and sizes.
If you want to draw some arrows, click the Shapes button, then click the arrow in the drop-down menu. When you do, an arrow will appear right on top of the image; just click and drag to move the arrow, make it longer or shorter, or change the direction in which it’s pointing. You can also drag the handle in the middle of the arrow to bend it one way or another.
Once you’ve put the arrow where you want it to go, you can click the Shape Style, Border Color, and Fill Color buttons to change the width and color of the arrow, or click the Text button to add a caption.
All finished? Click the Done button—and yes, you can always go back to the image to edit the arrow again.
Hope that helps, Mike. Still have questions? Let me know!