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Navigating and Searching

A well-organized repository will go a long way to helping you find the elements and diagrams you are looking for, but as the tool gets traction in your organization, models will grow in size, and before you know it; a repository may contain tens if not hundreds of thousands of item. Fortunately, Enterprise Architect has some useful tools available for locating content, and these include the following:

Browser

The Browser window is your go-to place for navigating around a model. Think of it as your favorite explorer tool for finding files on your computer, except that you use it to find things in the repository. It is a tree view, and nodes can be expanded and collapsed to locate items such as packages, diagrams, and elements and their features (attributes, operations, receptions).

Browser window showing Business Processes package and element hierarchy.

Browser showing business process package and element hierarchy.

Navigator Bar

The Navigator Bar is like a breadcrumb that indicates your position in the hierarchy of packages in the repository but with the additional feature to select the available packages at any point in the trail. It is a convenient way of traversing the package hierarchy without viewing all the packages in an expanded tree view. Some modelers use this as their primary navigation mechanism.

Navigator bar showing package hierarchy.

Navigation Cells

Enterprise Architect allows you to create any number of navigation diagrams that contain Navigation Cells that a user can click on to go straight to a diagram regardless of its location in the repository. These same cells are available through the web-based tools: WebEA and Prolaborate. They make it easy for a user to find a diagram without using the other navigation methods. The diagrams can be nested where a navigation cell on a high-level diagram will take you to another page of cells, targeting specific diagrams.

Top level navigation diagram showing clickable navigation cells.

Model Search

The Model Search is a fully-featured facility to find almost any content in the repository. You can use it as a simple way of finding a word or phrase, or you can create sophisticated searches that can find the answer to complex questions. As your models grow in size, particularly when several people contribute content, it will become harder to locate items quickly as the model might contain hundreds or thousands of elements. Let's say you knew there was some information in the repository to do with issuing a refund when a medical certificate is submitted. You could launch the 'Search in Model' feature and, using the default settings, enter a keyword or phrase such as 'refund' or 'medical certificate', and the search tool would locate and list any objects that were named or aliased with these words or that had notes that contained the words.

Model search window showing a search for the word 'Refund'.

Model search window showing a search for the word 'Refund'.