Changing Element Presentation
An Enterprise Architect will typically need to provide different visualizations for different groups of stakeholders, and a diagram that is suitable for one group might not be appropriate for another. Enterprise Architect provides a wide range of ways for working with elements and diagrams, including how the elements are presented and visualized in different diagrams and different windows within the product.
Enterprise Architect has great flexibility and, because the tool is implemented using a robust relational database back-end, when changes are made to a single element on a diagram or any other view the changes can be automatically applied to all places in diagrams or other windows where the element appears. This applies to element properties, name changes and other fundamental aspects of the element. When the appearance (such as color and style) of an element is changed a modeler has a choice of:
- Changing the diagram Object style (just applies to the current diagram)
- Changing the default element appearance (applies to the current diagram AND on all other diagrams)
Changing Size, Proportion and Color
Any of the standard ArchiMate elements can be changed to different sizes, proportions and colors without affecting the meaning or syntax of the diagrams. Enterprise Architect provides great flexibility for changing both the elements and the diagram styles and themes. This illustration shows two different diagrams where the same elements have been rendered in different sizes, proportions and colors.
Changes on a Single Diagram
Changes can be made to the style of an object (element) on a single diagram; once the diagram is opened and the object is selected there are a number of places where the element style can be changed. These changes will only apply to the selected element in the diagram and other diagrams that contain the element will not be changed in any way. In the next section we will see how, if required, the changes can be made to update all other diagrams.
The options to change the style are available from a number of locations, including the ribbons and the element quick style icon that is displayed when the element is selected in the diagram. This illustration shows the options available from the diagram.
Changes on All Diagrams
Changes can be made to the style of an object (element) on all diagrams; once the diagram is opened and the object is selected there are a number of places where the element style can be changed. These changes will apply to the selected element in the diagram, and all other diagrams that contain the element will also be changed in any way.
The options to change the style are available from a number of locations, including the ribbons and the element quick-style icon that is displayed when the element is selected in the diagram. This illustration shows the options available from the diagram.
Elements from the repository can participate in any number of views. They also have significance in the null case where they do not appear in any views. The inclusion of a variety of elements on a given diagram and the inclusion of a given element on multiple diagrams are what gives the language its expressive power. Enterprise Architect supports all these language mechanisms and also allows you to locate the different diagrams that contain a particular element.
Selecting this option provides a list of all the diagrams that contain the element, allowing you to hyperlink and open any of the listed diagrams. This provides a convenient way to understand the basis for the element's usage, as the diagram's type and name are included in the table of usages.
Rectangular and Icon Views
The ArchiMate language provides the flexibility of displaying a number of elements either as rectangles with a small icon in the top right hand corner, or in Icon view where the whole element takes on the Icon shape. As an Icon, wherever possible the name of the element is placed inside the shape, but with some Icons there is no room and the name is positioned underneath the element. Not all elements have an Icon representation and in these cases the icon view cannot be selected.
The tool makes it easy to toggle between the two views, but care must be taken as the geometry of the element will change as the icons are typically smaller than the rectangular representation.
To show an element using rectangle notation, either:
- Click on the element in the diagram and on the rectangle icon that displays on the right of the element, or
- Right-click on the element on the diagram and select the 'Appearance | Use Rectangle Notation' context menu option
This displays the element as a rectangle, by default displaying an ArchiMate icon in the top right corner of the element (where the language defines an icon).
The setting only applies to the selected element, and can be toggled on and off either by:
- Clicking on the icon again
- Deselecting the context menu option, or
- Selecting the reciprocal context menu option such as 'Use Circle Notation' or 'Use Actor Notation'