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Create Notes and Text

One aspect of modeling is to describe and document the purpose and use of an element in the context of a particular diagram. You can provide such documentation in the form of Note or Text elements displayed with and connected to the elements they describe.

Both Note and Text elements display text on the diagram; a Note element contains the text within a border with a background color and a turned-down corner image, whilst a Text element has no border or background color. Otherwise they behave in the same way.


Context Menu

Right-click on element | New Child Element | Attach Note


  • Diagram Toolbox : from the 'Common' page, drag the Note or Text icon onto diagram - drag the Quick Linker arrow from the Note element to connect to the element being annotated
  • Drag the Quick Linker arrow from an element into an empty space on the diagram > Common > Note

Complete a Note or Text element

The element displays on the diagram.

If, on the 'Objects' page of the 'Preferences' dialog, the 'Edit Object On New' checkbox is deselected, the Notes window displays, and you can type the element text within it. To display the text in the element, click on the element.

If the checkbox is selected, the 'Notes Properties' dialog immediately displays; type your text in the dialog, and click on the OK button to display the text in the element.

In either case, if you want to display the text in a more readable layout, you can resize the Notes window or dialog, and you can also format the text using the Notes toolbar.

Note element appearance

It is possible to change the appearance of a Note element, by right-clicking on the element and selecting one of the 'Appearance' menu sub-options. The available images are:

A UML Comment element shown in standard note style. A UML Comment element shown in memo note style. A UML Comment element shown in memo note style 2.

A UML Comment element shown in pinned note style. A UML Comment element shown in sticky note style. A UML Comment element shown in paper clip note style.

The two Memo-style images list all the elements that the Note is linked to, in the 'Applies to:' field. You can hide the actual Notelink connectors, so that the Note identifies the elements it refers to without complicating the diagram appearance by having the connectors visible. To hide (and reveal) the connectors, click on the element and select the 'Advanced | Hide (Show) attached links' option.

You can also configure Enterprise Architect to display the text in all Notes and Text elements in italics. Select the 'Start > Appearance > Preferences > Preferences' ribbon option and on the 'Diagram > Appearance' page select the 'Italic Note Element text' checkbox. This has an immediate effect, as does clearing the checkbox to show the text in normal font.


  • You can also create a Note or Text element by clicking on the New Note or New Text Element icon on the UML Elements toolbar and clicking on the diagram
  • When you have created your Note or Text element, you can leave it free-standing to display information on the diagram, or you can connect it to the specific modeling element or elements it describes using a Notelink connector, which you also drag from the Common toolbox
  • Instead of typing in text for the element, you can reflect an element's internal documentation, such as the value of a constraint or feature

Learn more