Abstract : We present the results of a study comparing five directed-edge representations for use in 2D, screen-based node-link diagrams. The goal of this work is to extend the understanding of tradeoffs and best practices for the representation of edges in directed graphs and to help practitioners choose among different options. Our work applies to graphs in which directed links are depicted using lines connecting the nodes. We tested five different edge representations chosen carefully based on user feedback to thoroughly cover the directed-edge design space. We also investigated how the use of pattern compression affects performance and subjective user preference. The article presents detailed results regarding the significant performance and preference differences between directed-edge representations and provides practical recommendations on their use.