Please note : This help page is not for the latest version of Enterprise Architect. The latest help can be found here.

BPMN Models

The following text is derived from the Business Process Modeling Notation entry in the online Wikipedia.

The Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) is a standardized graphical notation for drawing business processes in a workflow. BPMN was developed by Business Process Management Initiative (BPMI), and is now being maintained by the Object Management Group since the two organizations merged in 2005.

The primary goal of BPMN is to provide a standard notation that is readily understandable by all business stakeholders. These business stakeholders include the business analysts who create and refine the processes, the technical developers responsible for implementing the processes, and the business managers who monitor and manage the processes. Consequently BPMN is intended to serve as common language to bridge the communication gap that frequently occurs between business process design and implementation.

... The adoption of BPMN standard notation will help unify the expression of basic business process concepts (e.g. public and private processes, choreographies) as well as advanced modeling concepts (e.g. exception handling, transaction compensation).

BPMN ... supports only the concepts of modeling that are applicable to business processes ... other types of modeling done by organizations for non-business purposes [are] out of scope for BPMN. For example, ... modeling ... the following is not a part of BPMN:

  • Organizational structures
  • Functional breakdowns
  • Data models

In addition, while BPMN shows the flow of data (messages) and the association of data artifacts to activities, it is not a data flow diagram.

For further information on the concepts of BPMN, refer to the Wikipedia item and its linked sources.


The Enterprise Architect installer for releases later than 7.1 provides you with version 1.5 of MDG Technology for BPMN, which supports BPMN version 1.1 and BPEL. This enables you to create and maintain diagrams in the BPMN 1.1 and BPEL formats.

The installer also provides version 1.4.4 of MDG Technology for BPMN, which supports BPMN 1.0. This enables you to maintain existing diagrams created in BPMN 1.0 format, and to create new diagrams in BPMN 1.0 if you want to maintain consistency through your project.

Enterprise Architect also enables you to migrate a BPMN 1.0 model (or part of a model) to BPMN 1.1.

BPMN in Enterprise Architect

The BPMN notation is specifically targeted at the business modeling community and has a relatively direct mapping to UML through BPMN Profiles integrated with the Enterprise Architect installer. Through use of these profiles, Enterprise Architect enables you to develop BPMN diagrams quickly and simply. The BPMN facilities are provided in the form of:

BPMN Toolbox Pages

You can access the BPMN pages of the Toolbox through the More tools | BPMN 1.0 and BPMN 1.1 menu options. These pages provide the graphical (Core) and non-graphical (Types) BPMN elements for use on business process diagrams.

Specifications of these elements and relationships are defined by Tagged Values (for example, to define the Message, Timer and Default Path (/) symbols in the diagram below).

For further information on BPMN and Tagged Values, see the Change BPMN Element Appearance topic. 


Toolbox - BPMN Pages




Use to


Business Process

Extend a composite Activity that defines a business process.


BPEL Process

Define the behavior of an executable or abstract business process.



Define an activity within a business process


Start Event

Define the initiating event in a process.


Intermediate Event

Define an intermediate event in a process.


End Event

Define the terminating event in a process.



Define a decision point in a business process. If a condition is true, then processing continues one way; if not, then another.



Extend a Partition element to logically organize an Activity.



Extend a Partition element to subdivide a Pool.


Data Object

Extend an Artifact element to define a physical piece of information used or produced by a system.



Extend a Boundary element to group other elements.


Text Annotation

Create a comment.


Sequence Flow

Extend a Control Flow relationship to define the flow of activity.


Message Flow

Extend a Control Flow relationship to define the flow of communications in the process.



Associate information and artifacts with flow objects.







Define the properties (Tagged Values) of the Core BPMN 1.1 elements such as Activities, Events and Gates.















Web Service



Disable BPMN

If you prefer not to use BPMN in Enterprise Architect, you can disable it (and subsequently re-enable it) using the MDG Technologies dialog (Settings | MDG Technologies).