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

Diagram Appearance Options

It is possible to configure the appearance of diagrams and elements in your models; that is, how diagrams and their contents appear when displayed in the Diagram View. There is a wide range of options you can set to create this display configuration. As you select an option, it has immediate effect on any diagram that you have open, so you can see what the change in appearance is.

Access Tools | Options (Ctrl+F9) | Diagram | Appearance

Configure the appearance of diagrams and elements



See also

Configure Default Element Fonts

Click on this button to set the default text fonts to use on diagrams that you have opened yourself.

Set User Default Fonts


Render smooth curves and diagonal lines in diagrams, so that staggered vertical or horizontal pixels are less obvious. Click on the drop-down arrow and select the type of renderer you prefer to use:

  • Basic is GDI32; it does not provide anti-aliasing and gradient fills
  • Enhanced-1 is parallel to Windows GDI+ but internal to Enterprise Architect; it provides anti-aliasing and gradient fills, and operates well across different platforms
  • Enhanced-2 is Windows GDI+; this can vary across different platforms, performing better than Enhanced-1 in some environments, and less well in others

Experiment with these options and see which works best for your system and requirements.

GDI Plus Metafiles

This checkbox defaults to selected, to include the use of GDI+ metafiles in your diagrams.

Deselect the checkbox if you do not want to use GDI+ metafiles.

Default Element Border Width

Click on the drop-down arrow and select the default element border width (1, 2 or 3 pixels).

Scale view by

Click on the drop-down arrow and select the percentage (from 0 to 50, in increments of 10) by which you can automatically increase the size of all objects on a diagram you are viewing, without affecting other users reading that diagram.

You can perform the same function with the Zoom Slider on the Status bar; changes in the 'zoomed' display scale of a diagram update this field and affect any other diagrams that you open.

This has no impact any other diagram Zoom facility in the system.

Status bar

Print in Color

Select the checkbox to print your diagrams in color.

Deselect the checkbox to print the diagrams in black and white.

Anti-aliased text

Select the checkbox to force text anti-aliasing in diagrams.

If you deselect the checkbox, the system applies the MS Windows default setting. Therefore, if you do not want to use anti-aliasing, ensure that the Windows anti-aliasing default is also set to OFF.

Compress text to fit within Element

Select the checkbox to compress element text within the current element boundaries, when text at zoom levels other than 100% would not fit inside those boundaries.

Deselect the checkbox to expand the element boundaries under those conditions.

Italic Note Element Text

Select the checkbox to display the text of Note elements in italics.

Use Element Group Style

Select the checkbox to apply a different fill color to each object type, with objects derived from a common element having the same color (for example, Object, Boundary, Control and Lifeline elements are the same color).

Overrides all other settings for element fill colors.

Bold Element Names

Select the checkbox to display element names in bold text.

Element Shadows On

Select the checkbox to display a shadow around the bottom and right edges of each element in a diagram.

Invert rotated text for metafiles

Select the checkbox to use a different text format when external metafile readers are causing issues.

Round edges for elements

Select the checkbox to soften the corners of all elements that have a rectangular appearance, so that they have rounded corners.

Hand Draw Mode    Font

Click on the drop-down arrow and select the font to be used in any diagram you display that has the 'Hand Drawn diagram' option selected.  

Configure Diagram Display


Click on this button to re-set the font you see used in hand-drawn diagram mode to the system default (Segoe Print).


For diagrams displayed in Hand Draw mode, select this checkbox to display text in italics.

Use Watermark

Select the checkbox to add a watermark to any diagrams that you print.


Type in the text to use as watermark text. If the 'Use Watermark' checkbox is selected, this text is displayed on any diagrams that you print.


Click on this button to save the changes you have made, and to close the 'Options' dialog.