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

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Diagram Frame

A Diagram Frame element is a rendition of a diagram dropped from the Project Browser into another diagram. It is a type of Combined Fragment with an 'Interaction Operator' ref. However, it can be created on any type of diagram, and is not created in the same way as other Combined Fragments.

When you drop the diagram from the Project Browser onto the open diagram, a dialog shows providing these options:

  • 'Diagram Frame' - a Diagram Frame is inserted into the diagram, containing an image of the dropped diagram
  • 'Diagram Reference' - an empty frame is inserted with the name of the dropped diagram in the frame label
  • 'Hyperlink' - a diagram icon is inserted with no frame, and with the parent Package and diagram name next to it

In all three cases, the object acts as a hyperlink to the real referenced diagram. You can also define properties for the objects, as for other elements, by right-clicking on the object and selecting the element 'Properties' option.

Diagram Frame Appearance

You can change the appearance of a Diagram Frame, as for other elements, but the available options are tailored for this element type. If you right-click on the frame and select the 'Appearance | Diagram Frame Appearance' option, a sub-menu displays with these options:

  • 'Normal' - the default appearance of a visible rectangular frame with a visible frame label; you can use this option to reset the appearance after using one of the other options
  • 'Boundary' - hides the frame label of the Diagram Frame
  • 'Boundary With Name' - hides the border of the frame label
  • 'Name Only' - hides the border of the Diagram Frame and frame label, leaving the text only
  • 'Hidden' - hides the border and text of the Diagram Frame


  • You can change the size of all three objects, but you cannot reduce a Diagram Frame to less than the size of the enclosed diagram
  • You cannot change the diagram within a Diagram Frame; to edit the diagram, double-click within the frame and edit the original diagram
  • The Diagram Frame element is not the same as the diagram frame border that you can set (using the 'Diagram Frames' panel on the 'Diagram' page of the 'Preferences' dialog) on images of diagrams that you print out, copy to file or paste into other tools; it is possible, but not usual, to paste the diagram image from the clipboard into another Enterprise Architect diagram, in which case the image initially looks the same as the Diagram Frame element, but element options do not function on this image

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