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

Using the Image Manager

The Image Manager dialog enables you to insert alternative images in diagrams, rather than inserting standard UML elements. For example, you might want to place a custom background image on a diagram, or display a custom image such as a Router or PC on a UML element.

Access:     Right-click on an element within a diagram | Appearance | Select Alternate Image (Shortcut - Ctrl + Shift + W)

To locate and display an image, click on individual image filenames, or press ( # ) and ( $ ) to scroll through the list of images. As you highlight each image filename, the Preview panel changes to reflect the image. Double-click on the required image filename to display the image in full size.

On the Image Manager dialog, the following buttons are available:





See also


Display the selected image in full size.

Alt + V



Display the Element Usage dialog, which lists the diagrams in which the selected image is used.


Element Usage


Change the filename of the selected image.

The option first warns you that the change would impact the other elements that use this image, and prompts you to confirm that you want to go ahead with the name change.

If you continue, a prompt displays for you to enter the new filename.



Add New

Browse appropriate directories to search for and import new images.

You can import images in .BMP, .PNG, .EMF, .WMF, .TGA, .PCX or .JPG format. Internally, Enterprise Architect stores the images in .PNG or metafile format to conserve space.

Alt + A


Update Selected

Refresh the selected image; for example, after it has been modified.

Alt + U



(Not available for an image from a deployed MDG technology.)

Delete the selected image.

A message displays to indicate how many elements use the image. Click on the Continue button to delete information about the image from those elements, which then revert to their previous appearance.

Alt + D



Close the Image Manager dialog.




Confirm selection of the alternative image for the element selected in the diagram.

Alt + O



  • For elements with lifelines, such as those used on Sequence diagrams, the Lifeline must remain intact to enable messages to be created between the elements. Therefore such elements cannot have alternative images.
  • In the Corporate, Business and Software Engineering, Systems Engineering and Ultimate editions of Enterprise Architect, if security is enabled you must have Configure Images permission to configure alternative element images
  • There are two categories of image available through the Image Manager: those images that have been imported into the model, which are stored in the model; and those images that are incorporated into a deployed MDG technology, which are not copied into the current model but are held in memory. The technology images are identified by the technology name followed by the image file name; for example: MDGFrame::ovalshape.emf
  • If you are creating many elements of the same type that have a particular image, you should use a custom stereotype with an associated metafile
  • You can transport image files between models, using the Export Reference Data and Import Reference Data options

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