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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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Element Facilities

Enterprise Architect provides a wide range of facilities for creating, editing and working with the elements that represent aspects of your models.




See also

Create Elements

Creating elements is extremely versatile. You can create entirely new elements or elements derived from existing ones, on diagrams or directly into Packages, from the standard system-provided definitions or from your own definitions in templates, Patterns or MDG Technologies.

Create Elements

Customize Elements

If the standard elements provided do not serve the purposes of your model, you can give some elements different appearances and/or define a set of properties for them, or create completely new types of element, and use these as the bases for creating the elements in your model.

Set Up Templates Package Design Patterns Shape Scripts Custom Stereotypes MDG Technologies MDG Technologies - Creating

Name Elements

As you create an element, you can either provide the name yourself, manually, or leave it for the system to provide from a simple standard or a more advanced automatic naming and numbering system set up by your department.

Set Auto Naming and Auto Counters Apply Auto Naming to Existing Elements

Set Element Parents

Once you have created an element, you can assign it to a parent element or to an interface that it realizes.

Set Element Parent

Trace Element Use

As you develop your models and use elements in several diagrams to represent different views of the model, you can track and list where the element is in use.

Show Element Use

Move Elements

You can easily move individual elements or element structures around the model to other Packages and/or diagrams, either changing the parent Package or diagram, or duplicating the elements in another Package or diagram.

You also have a number of different ways in which to change the position of an element or a group of elements within a diagram, either in relation to the diagram or in relation to each other.

Move Elements Between Packages Copy Elements Copy Elements Between Diagrams Move Elements Within Diagrams Align Elements Resize Elements Layout Diagrams

Cross Referencing Elements

It is possible to set up a cross reference (or Custom Reference) from one element in Enterprise Architect to another. You can also view existing cross references on an element, using the 'Context References' dialog or the Traceability window.

Set Up Cross References

Change Element Type

Sometimes, you might find that an object that you have represented as one type of element would be better represented as another type. You can change the type very quickly and simply.

Change Element Type

Delete Elements

Elements can be created in error, or used on the wrong diagrams, or have a temporary function that becomes redundant. In such case you can easily and safely delete the elements from the diagram only or from both the diagram and the model.

Delete Elements from Diagram and Model

Change Element Visibility

Some elements are not shown in Packages and in report documents, by default. These include Events, Decisions, Sequence elements and Associations. You have the option of making these elements visible in the documentation.

Customize Visibility of Elements

Write External Descriptions for Elements

One aspect of modeling is to describe and document the purpose and use of an element in the context of a particular diagram. You can provide such documentation in the form of Note or Text elements displayed with and connected to the elements they describe. The Note text can be extra to anything contained within the element, or can expose the internal description of a feature or property of the element.

Create Notes and Text Link Note to Internal Documentation

Customize Element Appearance

You can set a number of standard default features that are applied globally to all elements, but you can also define a different default appearance for one element wherever it might be used.

Set an Element's Default Appearance

Set Context Element

Sometimes, when you are working on a diagram, you might want to identify the element against which you are comparing or standardizing some or all of the other elements on the diagram. You can highlight the selected element as the context element.

Highlight Context Element

Use Element Multiple Times

When you are using an element in more than one diagram, you can either create a representation of the element linked to the original, or a copy of the element as a separate object. If you create a link, you can subsequently convert it to a separate object.

Make Linked Element a Local Copy

Reuse Element Features

Many types of element have Features (attributes and operations) that define the properties and actions of the element. You can duplicate selected Features of one element in another, or take a Feature out of one element and place it in another.

Copy Features Between Elements Move Features Between Elements


  • In the Corporate, Unified and Ultimate Editions of Enterprise Architect, if security is enabled you must have 'Update Element' permission to update element properties or delete an element
  • If you select an element in a diagram, you can press the T key to display the Testing window for that element

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