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The Ribbon Menu

Enterprise Architect displays a set of ribbons at the top of the screen, as a modern, contemporary way of accessing the tool's features. Ribbons bring many features immediately to the surface, making them easily accessible to a modeler; both new users and those who have been using Enterprise Architect for many years will be delighted to find their preferred tools right at their fingertips. Each ribbon provides actions with a particular focus, and the commands on the ribbons are grouped by function into panels.

Searching for an Item

The ribbons expose a wide range of Enterprise Architect features, and the system provides two facilities to help you locate and access the feature you need:

  • In the 'Microsoft Office 2016' Visual Style theme, click on the 'Find Command' field at the end of the sequence of tabs and type in some text relating to the feature you want to locate, then press the Enter key; this displays a hierarchical menu of options that match your search text, and when you click on an option the appropriate dialog opens
  • Click on the Project list button (for File Management options) to the left of the ribbon tabs and type your search text in the 'Search' field at the bottom of the resulting dialog; a list of options relating to the search text is immediately displayed down the left hand side of the dialog and, when you click on an option, the appropriate dialog opens

Also, when you 'mouse over' any option on any of the ribbons, a tool-tip displays, summarizing the function of the option. The tool-tip can be configured to display either in the left end of the status bar at the bottom of the screen or floating beside the option it describes.

You therefore have help in identifying both what option provides a function, and what function an option provides.

Contextual Ribbons

Some ribbons are contextual and are only needed when you are performing a particular task. For example, the 'Document-Edit' ribbon is only needed when you are viewing or editing a document inside Enterprise Architect. This ribbon will remain visible while a document is open; when all documents are closed the ribbon will be hidden from view.

Moving Between Ribbons

To change the selection of a ribbon, you can either left-click on the tab of the ribbon you require, or hover the cursor on the ribbon band and roll the mouse scroll-wheel forward to scroll right to left through the ribbon tabs or backwards to scroll left to right.

Using the Keyboard with Ribbons

The actions that are presented on the ribbons can also be accessed using the keyboard. If you tap and release the Alt key, each ribbon will be annotated with a letter code. Pressing this letter on the keyboard will activate the ribbon and display a further set of annotations for the actions in the ribbon.

Customizing the Ribbons

If a ribbon presents more options than you require, you can customize it to hide the panel containing those options, or hide the whole ribbon. To do this, you select the 'My Ribbon Sets' tab on the 'Workspace Layout' dialog (Start > All Windows > Workspace > Workspace Tools > My Ribbon Sets), create a Ribbon Set to customize the ribbon display, and define the ribbons and panels to show or hide in that Ribbon Set. You can re-activate hidden ribbons and panels by editing this Ribbon Set.

The 'My Ribbon Sets' tab also provides the option of defining one of the ribbons as the default to automatically display when Enterprise Architect is opened in a work session. Normally the 'Start' ribbon is fully open when the system is accessed. For more information, see the Customizing Ribbon Sets Help topic.

Minimizing the Ribbon Bar

On occasion you might need more screen space to view diagrams and other model representations. To help with this, you can conveniently minimize the ribbons and completely hide them from view. The ribbon tabs will still be visible, so you can click on the required tab and redisplay the corresponding ribbon until the focus is returned to another part of the user interface. Many modelers will find that leaving the ribbons maximized will provide a convenient visual reminder of the actions that are available while working on models.

To minimize or restore the ribbons, right-click on the ribbon bar and select or deselect the 'Minimize the Ribbon' option. Alternatively, double-click on the name tab of the currently-displayed ribbon.

Hiding Ribbon Text

At times you might find that the ribbon text adds more visual distraction than you would like. You can select another option on the ribbon context menu to hide the text underneath the larger ribbon icons so that it only displays when you mouse-over the icon. You can then remind yourself of the icon's purpose or select the drop-down options from the icon menu without the text being displayed there permanently.

Right-click on the ribbon background and select the 'Minimal Text Mode' option. Click on the option again to deselect it and redisplay the icon text.