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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Sequence Diagram Options

When you are modeling using Sequence diagrams, there are a number of rendering features that are specific to that diagram type, such as the focus of the control indicator. You can define default settings for these features, in addition to the more-general diagram settings that you define on the other diagram pages of the 'Preferences' dialog.



Start > Workspace > Preferences > Preferences > Diagram > Sequence

Keyboard Shortcuts

Ctrl+F9 | Diagram | Sequence

Control Sequence diagram behavior



See also

Default page layout is Landscape

Select the checkbox to set the default orientation of your Sequence diagrams to landscape.

Show Sequence Numbering

Select the checkbox to display sequence numbers against the Sequence Messages on the diagrams. (This option has immediate effect.)

Assume right to left messages are Return

Select the checkbox to automatically render new Messages passing from right to left as Return Messages.

Default concurrency is Asynchronous

Select the checkbox to set the default concurrency for Sequence Messages to Asynchronous.

Deselect the checkbox to set the default concurrency to Synchronous.

Message (Sequence Diagram)

Enable tooltips when re-ordering messages

Select the checkbox to display a tool-tip when you attempt to move one Message above or below another. The tool-tip is to remind you that to swap the Message positions, and thus re-order the Messages, you must hold down the Alt key.

If you do not hold down the Alt key the selected Message will move close to the next Message but will not go past it.

To avoid displaying the tool-tip, deselect the checkbox. This is only advisable if you are familiar with the requirement to use the Alt key.

Layout of Sequence Diagrams


Click on the drop-down arrow and select the line width (in points, between 0 and 20) of the 'focus of control' rectangle (the body at the start and end of a Message, on the Lifeline).

(This option takes effect when a new element is added, an existing element is repositioned, or the diagram is closed and re-opened)

Assume message returns

Select the checkbox to set implicit Return Messages when none are explicitly drawn (recommended).

Deselect the checkbox to use Return Messages only when they are explicitly created.


Select the checkbox to automatically truncate the Lifelines for elements that have a defined lifecycle, by drawing an X after the last Message (that is, assume garbage collect rather than explicit delete).

Denote Lifecycle of an Element


Click on the button to display the MS Windows 'Font' dialog, and define how the caption bar text (above the Sequence diagram) is rendered. The caption bar shows each element name immediately above its element in the diagram.

This feature is particularly useful for non-English character sets.

Changes take effect immediately after the 'Preferences' dialog is closed.


Click on the drop-down arrow and select the font size of the caption bar text.

This overrides the font size set in the MS Windows 'Font' dialog, above.

Use System

Select this check box to override (but not overwrite) the Name and Size settings with the system default heading font definition.


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