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Getting to know the Artifact

Introducing the Artifact

An Artifact can be used to represent an external file that resides outside the repository. This is particularly useful for making reference to external file sources, including files such as word processor files, spreadsheets and web pages, and files reachable by a Universal Resource Indicator (URI). Artifacts are also used for other purposes in Enterprise Architect such as for programming source code files and database Tables.

The external files can be opened by selecting the element in a diagram or the Browser window and pressing Ctrl+E or the F12 key. Each file is opened either on a separate tab in the Diagram View workspace (if the file can be opened within Enterprise Architect) or in the default Windows viewer/editor for the file type (if the file cannot be opened within Enterprise Architect).

Business Analysis tools, Business Case issues in Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect

Where to find the Artifact

Toolbox Page: Common, Artifacts, Component, Documentation, Deployment | Artifact

Usage of the Artifact

The Artifact is used  for connecting elements in the repository with external files or web resources. It is particularly useful when a file such as a spreadsheet, word processor, presentation or other file that resides outside the repository has to be referenced or connected to elements inside the repository. For example, a Business Case might have been written before the Enterprise Architect repository was established, in a word processor file stored in a corporate document registry available through a URL.

The file can simply be dragged onto any Enterprise Architect diagram, which will give the user the option to create an Artifact representing the external document. Leaving the default name will assign the name of the external file. A hyperlink will be created automatically. The Artifact in the repository acts as a surrogate, and any number of elements can be connected to it or Tagged Values added to it. The external file can be opened by simply selecting <Ctrl> <E> or <F12> or by using the 'Launch' option of the Artifact 'Properties' dialog.

The Artifact can be used to create references to project management documents or resources that are located in a Project Management Office registry.

It is also useful to create a virtual reference library inside Enterprise Architect, connecting to resources that reside outside the repository.

Options for the Artifact

The Artifact can be created as an External or an Internal file. When a file or resource is dragged onto a diagram, a menu will prompt the user to select the type of Artifact to create:

  • 'Hyperlink' creates a Hyperlink element on the diagram; you can select a sub-option to define what happens when double-clicking on the Hyperlink - 'Open' displays the file content and 'Edit' opens it within the assigned file editor
  • 'Artifact (External)' creates an Artifact element on the diagram that stores a hyperlink to the external file; press F12 or Ctrl+E to open the external file
  • 'Artifact (Internal)' creates an Artifact element on the diagram and makes a copy of the file inside the repository; double-clicking the Artifact launches the internal document
  • 'Image Asset' (graphics files only) creates an Image element in the model repository - the element is created in the Package that contains the diagram and it is displayed on the diagram; Image elements can be displayed on a diagram as the image itself, or as a simple element representation
  • 'Insert' (graphics files only) inserts the file into the diagram as a filled Boundary element
Drop menu for UML Artifact elements in Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect.

Learn more about the Artifact

Artifact Toolbox Pages