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Diagram Appearance Options

It is possible to configure the appearance of diagrams and elements in your models; that is, how diagrams and their contents appear when displayed in the Diagram View. There is a wide range of options you can set to create this display configuration. As you select an option, it has immediate effect on any diagram that you have open, so you can see what the change in appearance is.



Start > Appearance > Preferences > Preferences > Diagram > Appearance

Keyboard Shortcuts

Ctrl+F9 | Diagram | Appearance

Configure the Appearance of Diagrams and Elements



See also

Default Fonts

Click on this button to set the default text fonts to use on diagrams that you have opened yourself.

Set User Default Fonts


Render smooth curves and diagonal lines in diagrams, so that staggered vertical or horizontal pixels are less obvious. Click on the drop-down arrow and select the type of renderer you prefer to use:

  • Basic is GDI32; it does not provide anti-aliasing and gradient fills
  • Enhanced-1 is parallel to Windows GDI+ but internal to Enterprise Architect; it provides anti-aliasing and gradient fills, and operates well across different platforms
  • Enhanced-2 is Windows GDI+; this can vary across different platforms, performing better than Enhanced-1 in some environments, and less well in others

Experiment with these options and see which works best for your system and requirements.

Image Quality

Defaults to 'High' to maximize image drawing quality for scaled and resized images on a diagram. The option does not affect the drawing of EMF or WMF images.

This setting has an effect on processing performance of the diagram, so if a diagram has many images and performance is more important than high image quality, you can reset the field to 'Low'.

Base Zoom

Click on the drop-down arrow and select the amount of magnification (zoom) to apply to all diagram contents when you open a diagram. Any subsequent Zoom options operate on the diagram content with the Base Zoom size as the starting point.

Scale view by

Click on the drop-down arrow and select the percentage (from 0 to 50, in increments of 10) by which you can automatically increase the size of all objects on a diagram you are viewing, without affecting other users reading that diagram.

You can perform the same function with the Zoom Slider on the Status bar; changes in the 'zoomed' display scale of a diagram update this field and affect any other diagrams that you open.

This has no impact any other diagram Zoom facility in the system.

Status bar

Element Border Width

Click on the drop-down arrow and select the default element border width (1, 2 or 3 pixels).

Anti-aliased text

Select the checkbox to force text anti-aliasing in diagrams.

If you deselect the checkbox, the system applies the MS Windows default setting. Therefore, if you do not want to use anti-aliasing, ensure that the Windows anti-aliasing default is also set to OFF.

Use extended « and » characters

The checkbox defaults to selected to apply the guillemet characters to stereotype names; recommended for double byte character sets.

Deselect the checkbox to hide the guillemet characters.

Stereotype Visibility

Invert rotated text for metafiles

Select the checkbox to use a different text format when external metafile readers are causing issues.

Print in Color

Select the checkbox to print your diagrams in color.

Deselect the checkbox to print the diagrams in black and white.

Document with background color

Select this checkbox to apply the background color of the current theme to all diagram images generated in the RTF Generator, instead of the standard white.

HTML Report with background color

Select this checkbox to apply the background color of the current theme to all diagram images generated in the HTML Generator, instead of the standard white.

Use Element Group Style

Select the checkbox to apply a different fill color to each object type, with objects derived from a common element having the same color (for example, Object, Boundary, Control and Lifeline elements are the same color).  The Group Style colors are system defined.

Overrides all other settings for element fill colors.

as Border

This option is available when the 'Use Element Group Style' option is selected. It toggles the group style colors between the element fill and the element border:

  • Selected - the element borders are shown in the different 'Group Style' colors, whilst the element fill is the standard 'Fill' color set on the 'Standard Colors' page
  • Unselected - the element borders are shown in the standard 'Line' color set on the 'Standard Colors' page, while the elements have the different 'Group Style' fill colors

Element Shadows On

Select the checkbox to display a shadow around the bottom and right edges of each element in a diagram, including:

  • Checklist elements
  • Elements in Info View notation
  • Constraints
  • Interaction Occurrences on Sequence diagrams
  • State/Continuation elements on Sequence diagrams
  • Instanced Actors on Sequence diagrams

Connector Shadows On

Select the checkbox to display a shadow beneath the connector line and arrow heads of each connector on this diagram.

Suppress shadows for child elements

This checkbox defaults to selected, to show no shadows on the edges of child elements that are displayed on a diagram within the borders of their parent element.

Deselect the checkbox if you prefer to show these child elements with edge shadows as well.

Bold Element Names

Select the checkbox to display element names in bold text.

Italic Note Element Text

Select the checkbox to display the text of Note elements, Text elements and Note compartments in italics. This does not affect the text displayed in Notes fields or the Notes window.

Note Compartments

Fit text to element

Select this checkbox to compress the text inside the element in a font size that allows all text to fit inside the element field.

Round corners

Select the checkbox to soften the corners of all elements that have a rectangular appearance, so that they have rounded corners.

Hand Drawn Mode - Font

Click on the drop-down arrow and select the font to be used in any diagram you display that has the 'Hand Drawn' option selected.

Configure Diagram Display


Click on this button to re-set the font you see used in hand-drawn diagram mode to the system default (Segoe Print).


For diagrams displayed in Hand Draw mode, select this checkbox to display text in italics.

Use Watermark

Select the checkbox to add a watermark to any diagrams that you print.


Type in the text to use as watermark text. If the 'Use Watermark' checkbox is selected, this text is displayed on any diagrams that you print.


Click on this button to save the changes you have made, and to close the 'Preferences' dialog.