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

Search Definitions

You provide search filters and create new search definitions using the search manager panel. To display this panel:

  1. On the Model Search tab, click on the arrow button to the right of the Options button. The search manager panel displays underneath the Search Term and Search fields.


Search filters enable you to perform customized searches on a Search Term in order to locate model elements having specific characteristics. The Search drop-down list provides several pre-defined searches.


For ease of use, the list of available searches is separated into built-in searches, user-defined searches and Add-In searches.

The default is a Simple search, which searches all elements, looking at the Name and Notes fields only. If the search term is found in the Name field or the Notes field, those elements are displayed.


The fields listed in a search have an OR relationship when none of the Required checkboxes are ticked; that is, if the search term is found in any one of those fields, then the element is displayed.

If the search definition includes one field only, the Required checkbox must be selected, otherwise the search produces incorrect results.

In the Simple search below, the Name and Notes fields both have the Required checkbox ticked, so the two fields have an AND relationship. The search displays only those elements that contain the search term in both the Name and Notes fields.



Any field having the Required checkbox ticked overrides fields where the Required checkbox is not ticked.

The following search finds elements that must have the search term in the Name field and that might or might not have the search term in the Notes field.


The search manager toolbar enables you to configure the system-provided searches, and to create and edit your own searches. The toolbar icons, from left to right, provide access to the following functions:


Use to

New Search

Create a new search definition, with new search criteria. See Create Search Definitions.

Save Search

Save a modified or new search.

Copy Search

Copy the existing search selected in the Search field, to modify.

Restore Default

Restore any changed parameters to the default settings and format.

Delete Search

Delete the search definition from the Search drop-down list.

Add Filter

Add a new set of parameters to filter the search on.

Remove Filter

Delete the selected filter from the search.

Export Search

Display a selection box that enables you to select searches to export to an external directory as an XML Search file.

Import Search

Display the Windows Directory Explorer Open dialog to enable you to import searches as XML Search files from an external directory.

Search Options

Display the Advanced Options dialog, to define where the search should operate and how the search should match filters.

This icon is available only for searches created with the Query-Builder, and not for those created with the SQL Editor.

You use the main body of the search manager panel to configure the element search filters that are contained in the selected search. A filter item consists of  the element field name (Search In), the conditions placed on the field value, the actual value or delimiting value to search on, and whether the filter item is required (mandatory). The components are defined in greater detail in the following table:


Use to

Search In

Select the type and name of each element feature to search on.


Select the condition of the search parameter. The available options are Contains, Equal To, Not Equals and One Of.

Look for

Specify the search term to perform the conditional search on. This value can pertain to the selected element type. For example, the value could be a date for DateCreated or a text value for other fields. The search term can contain multiple values, separated by commas.


Indicate that the search results must include elements with your search term in that field.

You add the filters by clicking on the Add Filter toolbar icon, to display the Add Filters dialog.