Prev Next

Navigation Cells

Enterprise Architect makes it easy for users to navigate through a repository by providing a powerful diagram mechanism to hyperlink to any other diagram in the repository. This is the Navigation Cell, which you use to provide a simple or more ornamental direction and link to a diagram of significance to the user. You can add several Navigation Cells to a diagram to create a top-level home page, directing users to areas of the model they are interested in or responsible for. You can add Navigation Cells to a hierarchy of diagrams, further directing the user to more and more specific aspects of the model. An excellent illustration of this is the 'Getting Started' diagram of the Enterprise Architect EAExample model.

A Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect Custom diagram, containing Navigation Cell elements.

The diagrams containing Navigation Cells are viewable through the Internet browser and Cloud products, and provide a compelling experience for casual users and non-modelers, as well as more technical and experienced users. The navigation diagrams can be used as a Marketing tool, Customer information tool, or quick introduction to a model's composition. Navigation Cells are also the vehicle for identifying and providing access to diagrams that are to be reviewed in a Formal Review.

Creating Navigation Cells

To create a Navigation Cell, open the diagram you are developing as the Home Page and, from the Browser window, drag a target diagram onto that Home Page. The 'Select Type' dialog displays. Select the 'Navigation Cell' radio button.

This option creates the Navigation Cell,  containing the name of the target diagram and, in the top right corner, an icon representing the diagram type. Just after you click on the OK button, the 'Select Image' dialog displays, from which you can select a graphic that represents the nature of the diagram. You can also select a diagram Theme for the image, from the 'Image List' field. If you do not want to add an image to the element, click on the Cancel button.

If you are using an image, it displays in the center of the element with the target diagram name at the top. If you are not using an image, the name displays in the center of the element.

Navigation Cells are a style of diagram hyperlink that allow for easy navigation, especially when using a touch screen.

If you subsequently decide to change or remove the image in a Navigation Cell, right-click on the element and select the 'Appearance > Select Navigation Image' option. The 'Select Image' dialog displays, and you can simply click on a different image or - to just remove the existing image - click on the Cancel button.

Selecting the 'Navigation Cell' option also enables the 'Run auto layout' checkbox, which you can select to automatically adjust the layout of the Navigation Cells to form a grid with 10 units of separation between cells. (The unit is defined in the diagram 'Properties' dialog). If you do not want to adjust the layout of the cells, clear the checkbox before clicking on the OK button.

When a diagram user double-clicks on the Navigation Cell, the target diagram that it represents is opened and displayed.

If you use Navigation Cells in a model, they add the stereotype <<NavigationCell>> and its associated Shape Script to the model. Users opening the model in builds of Enterprise Architect earlier than 13.5 can then use this stereotype to create more Navigation Cells that are functionally the same as the Cells under Release 13.5, though a little more rudimentary.

Learn more