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Model Glossary

Glossaries can be modeled in a number of different ways depending on the formality of your modeling approach; each method allows you to create a lexicon of important project terms and their meanings. You can model the terms as a simple list with the terms, their categories and their meaning entered in rows in a table, using a dialog or window. Alternatively, the terms can be created as modeled elements, which provides more flexibility and a number of additional features. Both of these approaches has its uses and either will assist in reducing the ambiguity and uncertainty that arises in project work. Regardless of the method chosen, the defined terms will appear in the Glossary View. Importantly, when the terms are included in textual descriptions such as the notes of other elements, they can be de-referenced to clarify the meaning, with both the category and meaning being displayed in a tool-tip when you roll-over the term in the text.

Using the list approach, where terms are entered through the Glossary dialog, the important terms can be easily defined along with their meaning.  A user can set up any number of Types that can be used to group the terms into lexical sets which can be defined for any purpose; for example, types could be defined for each project, program, department, discipline or any user defined group.

Using the modeled approach Glossary terms can be modeled as first class citizens, allowing rich models of terms and their definitions to be created. Packages stereotyped as Glossary Category are used to group Glossary Entries into lexical sets. The glossary category Packages and the terms - like any other modeled element - will appear in the Browser window and can be included in diagrams.

Rich networks of interrelated terms can be created describing the semantic and lexical relationships between terms, and each term can have descriptive properties defined. These properties can be built-in or user defined using Tagged Values. For example, you might be working on projects in the health sector and define a term 'Admission Process' and relate it to another term 'Health Facility', each term could have a status (built-in) or a business owner or custodian (user-defined).  When publications are generated from the repository, the terms that form part of a specific Glossary Category can be styled (marked up) allowing them to be identified in the publication as belonging to the same lexical set.

This method allows any number of glossaries and categories to be created for different purposes, such as the terms that belong to a particular discipline - say, 'Regional Health Care' terms - or that are part of a specific standard - say, 'Business Process Modeling terms  - or are from a given business or technical domain such as 'Foreign Exchange', 'Agile Development' or 'Artificial Intelligence'.  

The glossaries, their categories and the terms they contain can be conveniently shared or exchanged between any repositories.



Publish > Dictionary > Glossary

Project Glossary functionality


See also

Add, delete and modify the Project Glossary entries through either the:

  • Glossary View, or
  • 'Glossary' dialog
Project Glossary View The Glossary Dialog

Separate glossary items by type; for example, Business terms and Technical terms.

Project Glossary View The Glossary Dialog

Create a Glossary as a Model Package Structure.

Create a Glossary as a Package Structure

Define Markup Styles to apply to terms of specific types where they occur in generated document reports.

Glossary Styles

Save the glossary in Rich Text format for inclusion as part of a larger project document.

Generate a Report

Create glossary terms and definitions from text in the Notes window, or from any 'Notes' or 'Description' fields that have the Notes toolbar.


Insert existing glossary terms into any other 'Notes' fields.



  • In the Corporate, Unified and Ultimate Editions of Enterprise Architect, if security is enabled you must have 'Manage Glossary' permission in order to create, update or delete Glossary items; if security is not enabled, you can manage Glossary items without any permissions
  • You might include a Glossary Report in your project requirements or functional specifications documents
  • You can transport glossary definitions and glossary style mark-ups between models, using the 'Configure > Model > Transfer > Export Reference Data' and 'Import Reference Data' ribbon options

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