Draw arrows (or lines) between components in React!





Draw arrows between components in React!

npm version downloads issues licence

main features

  • Connect between elements by passing a ref or an id for startElement and endElement.
  • Automatic anchoring based on smallest path.
  • Fast algorithm to find path and to adjust canvas.
  • Customization is easy but flexible

found a problem? not a problem! post a new issue(here).

liked my work? please star this repo.


with npm npm install react-xarrows. (or yarn add react-xarrows)



see here! codebox of few examples(in this repo at /examples).

react-xarrow-picture-1 4 2

see this interactive example:

<img src="" width="650px"/>

simple example:

import React, {useRef} from "react";
import Xarrow from "react-xarrows";

const boxStyle = {
    border: "grey solid 2px",
    borderRadius: "10px",
    padding: "5px",

function SimpleExample() {
    const box1Ref = useRef(null);
    return (
        <div style={{display: "flex", justifyContent: "space-evenly", width: "100%"}}>
            <div ref={box1Ref} style={boxStyle}>
            <p id="elem2" style={boxStyle}>
                start={box1Ref} //can be react ref
                end="elem2" //or an id

export default SimpleExample;


react-xarrows does not renders automatically if one of the connected elements is rendered. You have to manually trigger an update on the arrows whenever one of the connected elements renders(possibaly by trigger update on the parent of the arrows) ,this is because the Xarrow component does not have any control or awareness of the connected elements. in addition. this is planned to be changed in react-xarrows v2.


Want a feature that is not supported? found a bug?
no need to clone the repo and set up the dev environment anymore!
here's a ready to use development environment with a click of a button(patience, it takes about a minute to setup):

Open in Gitpod

this will set up environment that will clone react-xarrow master,and will link the code from the src to the examples, and will start examples,with typescript watch process that will recompile when any change is made.
this means that any code changes in src/index.tsx will immediately be reflected to the running example at port 3000! (add console.log("test") line and see!)
to reproduce this dev env on your local machine git clone and follow same commands as in gitpod.yml.

if you made an improvement that is relevant for most users, you can quickly submit a pull request.
Please always pull request from and into dev branch - here's Gitpod

react-xarrows v2

v2 is on its way. want to contribute and participate in plannig the next react architecture for react-xarrows? see discussion here!


to see full typescript definition see types.ts file.

here's a summary of the all the available props:

PropertiesDescriptiondefault valuetype
startref to start elementnone(Required!)string/ReactRef
endref to end elementnone(Required!)string/ReactRef
startAnchorfrom which side the arrow should start from start element'auto'string/object/array
endAnchorat which side the arrow should end at end element'auto'string/object/array
labeloptional labelsnullstring/array
colorcolor of Xarrow(all parts)'CornflowerBlue'string
lineColorcolor of the linenullstring
headColorcolor of the headnullstring
tailColorcolor of the tailnullstring
strokeWidththickness of Xarrow(all parts)4number
headSizethickness of head(relative to strokeWidth)6number
tailSizethickness of tail(relative to strokeWidth)6number
pathpath drawing style'smooth'string
curvenesshow much the line curveness when path='smooth'0.8number
gridBreakwhere the line breaks in path='grid'0.5number
dashnessshould the line be dashedfalseboolean/object
showHeadshow the arrow head?trueboolean
showTailshow the arrow tail?falseboolean
showXarrowshow Xarrow?trueboolean
animateDrawinganimate drawing when arrow mounts?falseboolean/object
headShapeshape of the arrow head'arrow1'string/object
tailShapeshape of the arrow tail'arrow1'string/object
<details> <summary markdown='span'>Advanced Props</summary>

see details

PropertiesDescriptiondefault valuetype
passPropsproperties which will be pased to arrowBody,arrowHead,arrowTail{}object
SVGcanvasPropsproperties which will be passed to svgCanvas{}object
arrowBodyPropsproperties which will be passed to arrowBody{}object
arrowHeadPropsproperties which will be passed to arrowHead{}object
arrowTailPropsproperties which will be passed to arrowTail{}object
divContainerPropsproperties which will be passed to divContainer{}object
SVGcanvasStylestyle properties which will be passed svgCanvas0object
divContainerStylestyle properties which will be passed divContainerfalseobject
_extendSVGcanvasextend svgCanas at all sides0number
_debugshow debug elements0boolean
_cpx1Offsetoffset control point 1 x0number
_cpy1Offsetoffset control point 1 y0number
_cpx2Offsetoffset control point 2 x0number
_cpy2Offsetoffset control point 2 x0number
API flexibility

This API is built in such way that most props can accept different types. you can keep things simple or provide more custom props for more custom behavior - the API except both(see startAnchor or label properties for good examples) .<br/> see typescript types above for detailed descriptions of what type excepts every prop.


This documentation is examples driven.
The examples is sorted from the most common use case to the most custom one.

<a name="refs"></a>

<details> <summary markdown='span'> 'start' and 'end' </summary>

can be a reference to a react ref to html element or string - an id of a DOM element.


  • start="myid" - myid is id of a dom element.
  • start={myRef} - myRef is a react ref.

<a name="anchors"></a>

<details> <summary markdown='span'> 'startAnchor' and 'endAnchor' </summary>

specify what anchors are allowed. can be a string/object/array.


export type anchorType = anchorPositionType | anchorCustomPositionType;

simple usage:


export const tAnchorEdge = ['middle', 'left', 'right', 'top', 'bottom', 'auto'] as const;
export type anchorPositionType = typeof tAnchorEdge[number];

one of "auto" | "middle" | "left" | "right" | "top" | "bottom" auto will choose automatically the path with the smallest length.


  • endAnchor="middle" will set the anchor of the end of the line to the middle of the end element.

custom usage:


export type anchorCustomPositionType = {
    position: anchorPositionType;
    offset: { rightness?: number; bottomness?: number };

you can offset the anchor from normal positioning. NOTE: breaking changes in naming in v2.


  • endAnchor= { position: "auto", offset: { rightness: 20 } } will choose automatic anchoring for end anchor but will offset it 20 pixels to the right after normal positioning.

if list is provided - the minimal length anchors will be chosen from the list. example:

  • endAnchor= ["right", {position: "left", offset: {bottomness: -10}}] only right and left anchors will be allowed for endAnchor, and if the left side connected then it will be offset 10 pixels up.

<a name="label"></a>

<details> <summary markdown='span'> label </summary>

you can place up to 3 labels. see examples

  • label="middleLabel" - middle label
  • label=<div style={{ fontSize: "1.3em", fontFamily: "fantasy", fontStyle: "italic" }}>styled middle label</div> - custom middle label
  • label={{ start:"I'm start label",middle: "middleLabel",end:<div style={{ fontSize: "1.3em", fontFamily: "fantasy", fontStyle: "italic" }}>big end label</div> }} start and middle label and custom end label
  • label={{ 30: "label" }} - label 30 pixels relative to the start of the line
  • label={{ 30%: "label" }} - label on the 30% of the total length from the start of the line
  • label={{ 30%50: "label" }} - 30% of the total length, and 50 more pixels over the line

'start','middle',and 'end' labels have some predefined styles. custom labels (like 30%50: "label") will have the same style as middle label. if you dont like the style of 'start' and 'end' use 2% for start and 98% for end. make sure to stick between 0-100% in custom labels

you can combine all the different possible labels and can place as many as you want.


<a name="colors"></a>

<details> <summary markdown='span'> color,lineColor and headColor and tailColor </summary>

color defines color to the entire arrow. lineColor,headColor and tailColor will override color specifically for line,tail or head. examples:

  • color="red" will change the color of the arrow to red(body and head).
  • headColor="red" will change only the color of the head to red.
  • tailColor="red" will change only the color of the tail to red.
  • lineColor="red" will change only the color of the body to red.

<a name="widths"></a>

<details> <summary markdown='span'>strokeWidth and headSize and tailSize</summary>

strokeWidth defines the thickness of the entire arrow. headSize and tailSize defines how big will be the head or tail relative to the strokeWidth. examples:

  • strokeWidth={15} will make the arrow more thick(body and head).
  • headSize={15} will make the head of the arrow more thick(relative to strokeWidth as well).
  • tailSize={15} will make arrow's tail thicker.

<a name="path"></a>

<details> <summary markdown='span'>path</summary>

path can be one of: "smooth" | "grid" | "straight", and it controls the path arrow is drawn, exactly how their name suggest. examples:

  • path={"grid"} will draw the line in sharp curves(90 degrees) like grid.

<a name="curveness"></a>

<details> <summary markdown='span'>curveness</summary>

defines how much the lines curve. makes a difference only in path='smooth'. examples:

  • curveness={false} will make the line straight without curves(exactly like path='straight').
  • curveness={true} will choose default values of curveness.
  • curveness={2} will make Xarrow extra curved.

<a name="gridBreak"></a>

<details> <summary markdown='span'>gridBreak</summary>

defines where the line will break when path='grid'. value should be a number from 0 to 1.


  • gridBreak={0.2} the line would break closer to start element(20% of the path instead of 50%).

<a name="dashness"></a>

<details> <summary markdown='span'>dashness</summary>

can make the arrow dashed and can even animate. if true default values(for dashness) are chosen. if object is passed then default values are chosen except what passed. examples:

  • dashness={true} will make the line of the arrow to be dashed.
  • dashness={{ strokeLen: 10, nonStrokeLen: 15, animation: -2 }} will make a custom looking dashness.

<a name="shows"></a>

<details> <summary markdown='span'>showHead, showTail and showXarrow</summary>

showXarrow: show or not show Xarrow? (can be used to restart the drawing animation) showHead: show or not the arrow head? showTail: show or not the arrow tail?

  • showXarrow={false} - will hide (unmount) Xarrow and his labels.
  • showHead={false} - will hide the arrow head.

<a name="animateDrawing"></a>

<details> <summary markdown='span'>animateDrawing</summary>

can animate the drawing of the arrow using svg animation. type: boolean|number. if true animation duration is 1s. if number is passed then animation duration is number's value in seconds. examples:

  • animateDrawing will animate the drawing of the arrow in 1 second.
  • animateDrawing={5} will animate the drawing of the arrow in 5 seconds.
  • animateDrawing={0.1} will animate the drawing of the arrow in 100 milliseconds.

<a name="customsvgs"></a>

<details> <summary markdown='span'> custom svg arrows - headShape and tailShape</summary>

new feature! you can customize the svg edges (head or tail) of the arrow. you can use predefined svg by passing string,one of "arrow1" | "circle" | "heart"

simple usage:

headShape type:string

<table> <tr> <th>Code</th> <th>Result</th> </tr> <tr> <td>
<xarrow headShape='circle'/>
</td> <td>


</td> </tr> <tr> <td>
<xarrow headShape='circle'
        arrowHeadProps={"fill": "transparent",
            "strokeWidth": "0.1",
            "stroke": "CornflowerBlue"}
</td> <td>


</td> </tr> <tr> <td>
<xarrow headShape='heart'/>
</td> <td>


</td> </tr> </table>

you can import arrowShapes which is object contains all predefined svg shapes.

<details> <summary markdown='span'>custom usage</summary>

you can also pass your own svg shapes:

headShapeType = {
    svgElem: T
'circle' | 'ellipse' | 'line' | 'path' | 'polygon' | 'polyline' | 'rect';
svgProps ? : JSX.IntrinsicElements[T];
offsetForward ? : number;

for example, you can pass the following object, and it will be exactly equivalent to passing 'arrow1':

headShape = {
    svgElem: 'path',
    svgProps: {d: `M 0 0 L 1 0.5 L 0 1 L 0.25 0.5 z`},
    offsetForward: 0.25

svgElem - an svg element like path or circle.
svgProps - props that will be passed to the svg element. offsetForward - how much to offset tht line into the svg element(from 0 to 1). normally the line will connect to the start of the svgElem. for example in case of the default arrow you want the line to enter 25% into the svgElem.

don't forget about arrowHeadProps and arrowTailProps in case you want to use default shape but custom svg props.

in case you pass a custom svg element: currently you have to adjust the path to start from 0,0 and to be at size box 1x1 in order to make the custom shape look like the default shapes in size, in later versions it is planned to support automatic adjustment using getBBox() function.

</details> </details>

advanced customization

<a name="advancedCustom"></a>


passing props

The xarrow is fully customizable, and you can pass props to any part of the component. if unlisted(unknown) property is passed to xarrow so by default it'll be passed down to divContainer.


you can pass properties to visible parts(body and head) of the arrow (such event handlers and much more). this supposed to be enough for most cases. examples:

  • passProps= {{onClick: () => console.log("xarrow clicked!")}} - now the arrow will console log a message when clicked.
  • passProps= {{cursor: "pointer"}} - now the cursor will change to pointer style when hovering over Xarrow.
  • passProps= {{pointerEvents: "none"}} - now the user cannot interact with Xarrow via mouse events.

advanced customization

The properties below can be used to customize the arrow even farther:

arrowBodyProps, arrowHeadProps, SVGcanvasProps, divContainerProps


if you wish you can pass props specific part of the component.

  • divContainerProps - the container which contains the SVG canvas, and the optional labels elements. It takes no place, and located where you normaly placed him in the elements tree(no offset). The SVGcanvas and the labels will be placed in a offset from this div.
  • SVGcanvasProps - the svg canvas which contains arrow head and body.
  • arrowBodyProps - the body of the arrow
  • arrowHeadProps - the arrow head.

Note that arrowBody and arrowHead receives props of svg path element, SVGcanvas receives props of svg element, and divContainerProps of a div element.


  • arrowHead = {onClick: () => console.log("head clicked!")} - now only the head will console log a message when clicked.
SVGcanvasStyle, divContainerStyle

if you wish to pass style to divContainer or SVGcanvas use SVGcanvasStyle,divContainerStyle and not SVGcanvasProps ,divContainerProps to not override existing style.


will extend the svg canvas at all sides. can be useful if for some reason the arrow is cut though to small svg canvas( should be used in advanced custom arrows). example: _extendSVGcanvas = {30} - will extend svg canvas in all sides by 30 pixels.


now you can manipulate and offset the control points of the arrow. this way you can control how the line curves. check out the interactive codesandbox, set _debug to true and play with these properties.



If you/your company are using this project, and you want to contribute to his development, please consider donating.
Any donation will help me to devote more time to the development of this project.



See in this repo.

<style> details { border: 1px solid #aaa; border-radius: 4px; padding: .5em .5em 0; margin: 1em 0; } </style>

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