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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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Operations on Multiple Elements

It is possible to perform various operations on two or more elements on a diagram at once, either to add the same feature or to standardize the size or orientation of the selected elements. This makes it much faster to update the diagram than if you had to modify each element separately.

To select the required elements, either click and drag the cursor over the group to highlight them, or press Ctrl or Shift as you click on each element separately.

The selected element that is drawn with a hatched border is the context element. The context element is used as the 'master' element when aligning or resizing elements as a set.

The Shift and Ctrl keys toggle selection, so if you want to exclude a selected element from a group, again press the key as you click on the element. The two keys have a slightly different effect when you click on the intersection between two overlapping elements:

  • Shift+click toggles selection of the element with the lower Z-order (the element behind or further back than the others)
  • Ctrl+click toggles selection of the element with the higher Z-order (the element in front of or further forward than the others)


Select a set of elements on a diagram, then right-click on one of the selected elements to display a context menu (for format/layout operations, right-click on the element against which to standardize the others - this sets the right-clicked element as the context element).  Just note that if you click (not right-click) on an individual element, that element becomes the only selected element; the multiple selection is cleared and you are no longer working on multiple elements.

The 'Layout' ribbon's 'Style' panel also provides options for changing appearance related properties for a set of selected elements, while the 'Alignment' panel provides numerous options for aligning and resizing elements.


Layout > Style (changes the appearance of the selected elements on the current diagram only)

Layout > Alignment (changes the size or position of the selected elements on the current diagram only)

Context Menu

Right-click on a selected element on a diagram. The context menu for multiple selections displays; this is described here.

Keyboard Shortcuts

F4 (displays the 'Default Appearance' dialog, described here)


Right-click on a selected element on diagram - the Format toolbar is displayed above the context menu

(Changes the appearance of the selected elements on the current diagram only)




See also


Select this option to access a submenu of enabled Technologies on the system (for example, ArcGIS or TOGAF), each of which provides options for performing technology-specific operations on the elements.

This option is available in the Professional, Corporate, Unified and Ultimate editions of Enterprise Architect.

Domain Based Models Systems Engineering


This option displays if User Security is enabled. It offers the sub-option of 'Send Message', which opens the 'Create Message' dialog to create and send a model message containing a hyperlink to each of the selected objects.

Create a Message


Select one of these ' Align <point> options to align elements against the 'master' element's:

  • left edge
  • right edge
  • top edge
  • bottom edge
  • center, vertically or
  • center, horizontally

You can also edge-align groups of elements using the Diagram Toolbar; the four alignment buttons are made available when more than one element is selected in a diagram.


Ctrl+Alt+Left Arrow

Ctrl+Alt+Right Arrow

Ctrl+Alt+Up Arrow

Ctrl+Alt+Down Arrow

Diagram Toolbar

Space Evenly

(For three or more selected elements.) Select this option to automatically even out the spacing between the selected elements, either horizontally or vertically.

Shortcut: Alt+-    Alt+=

Same Height/Width

Select one of these options to make all the selected elements match the 'master' element's height or width, or both.

In Use Case diagrams, these options are blocked if the 'Allow elongated Use Cases' option is turned off on the 'Preferences' dialog 'Objects' page.


Compartment Visibility

Select this option to define the visibility of features and compartments on all elements selected on a diagram.

Shortcut: Ctrl+Shift+Y

Feature Visibility

Add Tagged Value

Select this option to add the same Tagged Value to all selected elements.

Assign a Tagged Value to an Item


Select this option to automatically resize the selected elements to their default minimum size (element content permitting).

Shortcut: Alt+Z

Autosize Elements


Select this option to set the same default appearance and font for all of the selected elements at once.

Shortcut: F4

Set an Element's Default Appearance Set Element Font


Select this option to display a short submenu, from which you:

  • Switch the elements between Info View display style and 'normal' UML style
  • Set the element characteristics that are shown in Info View style
  • Toggle the Dockable, Selectable and Printable settings on the elements
Save Diagram Image to Disk Non-printable Elements Element Context Menu Operations Info view Style


Select this option to copy the selected elements to the clipboard.

Layout Selected Elements

Select this option to automatically adjust the layout of the selected elements on the diagram.

Layout a Diagram Automatically

Delete Selected Elements

Select this option to delete the selected elements from the diagram only.

Shortcut: Ctrl+D