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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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Copy Elements Between Diagrams

As you develop a diagram, it is not uncommon to find that some of the elements and structures of elements could also be used on another diagram. You can copy those elements and structures onto another diagram as a new set of elements without losing the element composition or the organization of the structure. In doing this, you can change any of the element names within the structure and preserve the relative nesting of the elements.



With element(s) selected in source diagram:

  • Layout > Diagram > Select > Copy Selected Elements

With input focus on target diagram:

  • Layout > Diagram > Select > Paste as Reference or
  • Layout > Diagram > Select > Paste as New

Keyboard Shortcuts

With element(s) selected in source diagram:

  • Ctrl+C

With input focus on target diagram:

  • Shift+Insert (Paste as Link)
  • Ctrl+Shift+V (Paste as New)

Paste Element(s) as Reference

If you select to paste the copied elements as references (or links) to the source element(s), the elements are added to the diagram as instances of the source element(s) on the target diagram, with any connectors between them. Notes, Text, Boundary and Constraint elements attached to the pasted element are duplicated on the target diagram.

Copy and Paste Diagram Elements
This video demonstrates how to copy and paste diagram elements (as references) from one diagram to another.
Copy and Paste Diagram Elements as New
This video demonstrates how to copy diagram elements from one diagram and paste as new elements on another diagram.

Complete the Paste Element(s) as New Dialog

If you select to paste the copied elements as new elements, the 'Paste Element(s) as New' dialog displays.



See also

Original Element Name

Each element name defaults to selected, to be inserted in the target diagram.

If you want to omit an element from the copied structure, clear the checkbox against it.

New Element Name

If you want to give a copied element a new name, delete the current name (highlight it and press the Delete key) and type in the new name.

Include Connectors

This checkbox defaults to selected, to make copies of the original connectors where both source and target elements in the relationship have been copied. This maintains the relationships between and organization of the copied elements.

If you do not want to copy the connectors, clear the checkbox.


Click on this button to add the copied elements and connectors to the target diagram as new elements.

Don't show this again

Select this checkbox if you want to hide this dialog next time you paste an element as new (the pasted element has the same name as the original element). You can set the dialog to display again by clearing the 'Hide diagram element paste as new dialog' checkbox on the 'Objects' page of the Preferences window (select the 'Start > Application > Preferences > Preferences' ribbon option).

Object Display Options


  • Package elements cannot be copied as structured elements
  • The 'Date Created' and 'Time Created' parameters of a pasted-as-new element are set to the current date and time; the parameters for a linked element remain the same as the copied element
  • Elements - including special embedded elements such as SysML Properties - do not have to have a parent element when pasting as new, although normal embedded elements such as Ports must have a parent
  • Elements in State regions cannot be pasted as new outside the parent element
  • Parenting is still applied when copying and pasting as new using Ctrl+click-and-drag between (floating) diagrams
  • You can also use the 'Cut', 'Copy' and 'Paste' icons in the Default Tools toolbar

Learn more