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Getting Started

Getting started with Custom Documents is straightforward; this topic identifies and explains the steps you follow to create a professional and useful document to save within the repository or to export to file in a range of formats including DOCX, PDF, RTF and HTML. 

In brief, to create a Custom Document you:

  1. Identify or create any document templates you want to use in generating the Custom Document.
  2. Select or create a parent Package or element to host the Custom Document.
  3. Open a new Custom Document, and provide a name.
  4. Select a document template from a list, or choose 'none'.
  5. Type in Static text and drag in Packages, elements, diagrams or Features from the Browser window, as Dynamic content. When you drag Dynamic content into the document, you are prompted to select another template or template fragment so that you can organize the information on that object in a specific format.
  6. Perform further editing and formatting on the document, using the Document-Edit ribbon options and the left-hand summary panel.
  7. Print or save the document in the required format.

Identify Templates

At two points in the process of creating a Custom Document you can select a template to insert boiler plate text and format the document content.

The initial template is to apply an overall document structure and format, and other templates are used to provide specific formatting for particular sections within the document.  You can use the system-provided templates, templates that you or other users have created before, or templates that you have created specifically for this document. You need to have created and/or identified these templates before you start. See the Template Prerequisites Help topic.

Select or Create Parent Element

A Custom Document is hosted by an element in the model. The direct method of creating a Custom Document also generates a Document Artifact element to contain it, in a selected Package. You might want to create this Package as a container for all your Custom Documents.

You can also create almost identical documents as Linked Documents, in which case you create and/or select the parent element for the document. See the Create a Custom Document Help topic.

Create a Custom Document

In the Browser window, select the Package in which to create the Custom Document, and select the 'Publish > Model Reports > Custom Document' ribbon option. The system prompts you to provide a name for the Custom Document; when you do, the Document Artifact element is created in the selected parent Package, and the document editing view opens in the Enterprise Architect workspace. See the Create a Custom Document Help topic.

Select Template

After the document editor opens a prompt displays for you to select from a list of built-in and user-defined templates. The templates might include those you have specifically created for your Custom Documents in general, or for this document in particular.

The selected template will act as the backdrop for the whole document, and would typically provide a title page, a table of contents and placeholders for static or dynamic content, in addition to the styles. Such templates are likely to have been created as Linked Document templates.

You can choose to not use a template by selecting 'none'.

See the Template Prerequisites Help topic.

Add Static Content

You add Static content to the document by simply typing or pasting text directly into the editor screen and manually applying styles and formatting. Enterprise Architect has a fully-featured document editor that helps you to enter and edit the content of the document. The features of the editor are accessed via the Document-Edit ribbon, which is enabled when a document is open in the workspace.

You incorporate Static content to explain or connect the Dynamic text. For example, you might want to describe the process by which you created Requirements from the notes from stakeholder workshops. This image is an example of Static content pasted into a document and formatted.

See the Add Static Content Help topic.

Add Dynamic Content

Dynamic content is a set of links to any number of Packages, diagrams, elements and Features (attributes, operations and receptions) dragged from the Browser window onto the open document.  Whenever you drag an item from the Browser window into a document, Enterprise Architect displays the 'Add Content to Document' dialog to prompt you to select how to insert and format the item.

For a model element such as a Package, element or Feature, you can select the (default) option of 'Dynamic Content' in the 'Insert as' field. This adds the object information to the document. The prompt also provides a list from which you can select a template or template fragment to format that specific information within the document. The list of templates can be filtered to present only those that are user-defined, or system-provided, or technology-provided, or to show all available templates. You make your selection by clicking on the appropriate radio button under the list.

You can also select an option in the 'Insert As' field to add the model element as a hyperlink, which enables the reader to access the object in the Browser window.

You can incorporate diagrams either as hyperlinks or as Diagram Images, by selecting the appropriate option.

See the Add Dynamic Content Help topic.

As you add Dynamic content to a Custom Document, a 'Content' panel displays on the left of the document editor. This panel is discussed in the next section.

Using the Content Panel

As you add Dynamic content to the Custom Document, the left-hand 'Content' panel lists the items that have been inserted as either 'Dynamic Content' or 'Diagram Image' - items added as hyperlinks are not included in the panel. The items are listed in the order in which they were inserted into the document. By right-clicking on an item name in the list you can select options to:

  • Change the template applied to the item in the document - the 'Add Content to Document' dialog displays for you to select another template
  • Highlight the item in the body of the document
  • Update that item alone as a dynamic section of the document
  • Locate and highlight the item in the Browser window
  • Delete the item from the document

See the Manage Custom Documents Help topic.

Print or Export Document

A Custom Document can be viewed by other team members using Enterprise Architect. It can also be exported to a variety of formats and so made available to a wider audience. To export the document, click on its Document Artifact element in the Browser window and select the ribbon option:

    Document-Edit > File > Save As (Export to File)

The 'Save as' dialog displays, through which you can save the document to an appropriate location and in one of a variety of formats, including DOCX, PDF, RTF and HTML.

If the Pro features of the Pro Cloud Server have been enabled, the document will be available for view by a wider audience through a browser in WebEA and in Prolaborate, without the need to export it.

You can also print the document by clicking on the Document Artifact and selecting the ribbon option Document-Edit > File > Print.

See the Publish a Custom Document Help topic.

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