Please note : This help page is not for the latest version of Enterprise Architect. The latest help can be found here.


When you define an element or connector shape using a Shape Script, you can build the shape from separate components, defined as sub-shapes. Using sub-shapes, you can create complex shapes that more closely resemble the objects that they represent.

Sub-shape Layout

To set the layout type you use the layoutType attribute, which must be set in the initialization attributes section of the script; in other words, before any of the methods are called. Valid values for this attribute are:

  • LeftRight - Shapes with this layout position the sub-shapes side by side, with the first added on the left, and subsequent sub-shapes to the right
  • TopDown - Places the sub-shapes in a vertical arrangement, with the first sub-shape added to the top and subsequent sub-shapes added below
  • Border - This requires an additional argument to the addsubshape method to specify which region of the containing shape the sub-shape is to occupy: N, E, S, W or CENTER; each region can only be occupied by one sub-shape
    A sub-shape that is assigned to the E or W region must have its preferredwidth attribute specified in its declaration and, similarly, sub-shapes added to N or S must have their preferredheight attribute set; in this case, the values for these attributes are treated as static lengths and do not scale glyphs


shape main









     shape sub






The script defines this shape: