[Enterprise Architect] #9. Enterprise Architect Usage Basics 2

Hello, this is Danappa, a system engineer.

I briefly looked at the basics of using EA in my previous post, but I thought it was necessary to cover it in more depth. So this time, I would like to explain the process of drawing a simple diagram using EA.

Our goal is to draw a Block Definition Diagram that represents the SysML diagram classification system as shown below.

This is a Block Definition Diagram showing the SysML diagram classification system as shown. This illustration is intended to explain the basic Enterprise Architect usage.


1. First, you need to create a new project and set it to SysML. You can find an eyeball icon in the top right corner of the screen. You can change your perspective by clicking this icon. Change ‘System Engineering’ to ‘SysML’.

2. If you only want to display SysML in the Perspective menu, go to ‘Settings…’ You can disable other languages in ‘.

1. Create a package or view under Root-Node in the browser. If you want to change the name of an element, you can click on the element and press F2 to edit the name. I changed the name of Root-Node to ‘SysML’.

2. Next, click the folder-shaped button on the browser to create a package named ‘taxonomy’.

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1. In general, it is common to create a Block Definition Diagram first and complete the diagram by adding blocks on top of it. But this time, we’ll start by assuming that you already have some idea of the types of SysML diagrams. In this case, you can right-click on the ‘taxonomy’ package and select ‘add Element’ to create an element before creating the diagram.

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2. When you select ‘add Element’, a pop-up window like the one above will appear. Here, we will create a total of four blocks, including the top block ‘SysML Diagram’, ‘Package Diagram’, ‘Behavior Diagram’, and ‘Structure Diagram’.

3. You can create 4 blocks in succession using the ‘Save’ function. The default settings are BDD (Block Definition Diagram) and Block, so just enter the name and click ‘Save’ to create four blocks.

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1. Use the ‘New Diagram’ function to create a Block Definition Diagram (BDD) named ‘diagram hierarchy’. If you don’t see BDD in Diagram Types, make sure Type is set to SysML.

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2. Now the BDD has been created on the canvas. Every SysML diagram has a Frame Header, which has the following format: [Current Diagram Type] [Current Diagram’s Context] [Current Diagram’s Context] [Current Diagram’s Name] [Current Diagram’s Name].

3. For example, the bdd we created:

  • [current diagram type] = bdd
  • [Context of the current diagram, element containing the diagram] = package
  • [name of element containing current diagram] = taxonomy
  • [name of current diagram] = hierarchy

In other words, bdd, called hierarchy, is a diagram that expresses the relationship between blocks within a package element called taxonomy.

1. Now, let’s add the four blocks we created earlier to the ‘diagram hierarchy’ BDD we created. To do this, blocks are placed on the BDD by dragging and dropping them.

2. Select the ‘Drop as: Link’ option on the ‘paste Package Diagram’ and click ‘Select For All’ to add all blocks to the BDD at once.

1. First, arrange the elements nicely using sophisticated mouse control. This step is important for the readability and overall organization of the diagram.

2. Next, each element must be connected to the Generalization connector. Generalization is similar to inheritance relationships in object-oriented programming. Simply connect the connector from the inherited object (child) to the inherited object (parent).

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3. As shown in the image above, the diagram is completed when the elements are connected with the Generalization connector. In EA, connectors only connect between two elements, making it difficult to organize connectors neatly. It may be a hassle to organize each connector one by one.

4. In the example image, right-clicking on the connector changed it from ‘Line Style’ to ‘TreeStyle-Vertical’ and overlapped them so that they appear as one.

1. Select ‘block’ in the Toolbox and click on the diagram to create a new block. Let’s name this Block ‘Requirement Diagram’.

2. By holding down the Ctrl key and left-clicking the mouse, you can additionally create the last created element (here, Block). Add 7 blocks using this method. The blocks created at this time are created with meaningless names such as ‘BlockX’, so click on each block and change the name in the Properties window. If the Properties window is not visible, go to ‘Start’ → ‘All Windows’ → ‘Properties’ to create it.

1. Go to ‘Start’ → ‘Appearance’ → ‘Preferences’ and set ‘Link’ → ‘Generalization link style’ to ‘Default = Tree’. In this way, when connecting connectors, they are automatically connected in tree form.

2. Also, instead of loading a connector every time from Toolbox, click the upward arrow (Quick Linker) that appears when you click on a block, then drag and release it to the block you want to connect to. This will give you a list of possible connections allowed by SysML. Here select ‘Generalization’.

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1. First, add a block named ‘Useless Block’. This block is for practice only and is not part of the actual diagram.

2. Next, let’s connect this ‘Useless Block’ with other elements of the diagram in arbitrary relationships. This will result in a diagram like the following:

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1. Create a bdd named ‘practice’ in the taxonomy package, and copy and add the ‘SysML Diagram’ and ‘Useless’ blocks.

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2. In practice bdd, delete the ‘Useless’ block by pressing the Delete key. This causes the connector between the ‘Useless’ block and ‘SysML Diagram’ to disappear from the diagram. However, the ‘Useless’ block still exists in Browser and diagram hierarchy bdd. In other words, deleting from the diagram only hides the element.

3. Drag and paste the ‘Useless’ block from the browser back into practice bdd, or click the ‘SysML Diagram’ block and add ‘Useless’ again through ‘Design → Element → Add Element → Related Element’.

4. To permanently delete the ‘Useless’ block from the repository, right-click on the block in the browser, select ‘Delete element name’, and click ‘Yes’ in the pop-up. After this operation, you can see that the ‘Useless’ block has disappeared from all Browser, diagram hierarchy bdd, and practice bdd.

5. When deleting a connector, select the connector on the diagram, press the Delete key, and select Hide or Delete. To show a hidden connector again, click on the connected element and select ‘Show Relation’ via ‘Relationships’ in the ‘Inspector’ window, or find ‘Related → Links’ in the element status window and click ‘Show Relation’.


We completed the exercise of drawing a simple SysML Block Definition Diagram using EA. EA can be used to draw a variety of diagrams in SysML, and the basic method does not differ much. However, as modeling becomes more complex, SysML becomes more difficult and it can become difficult to find the desired features among EA’s many features. This is something that can make the modeling process difficult.

In the next post, we will discuss in detail the function that allows you to view diagrams in various views in EA.


[Enterprise Architect] #15. Documentation & HTML

[Enterprise Architect] #14. Trace, Relation, Navigation, composition

[Enterprise Architect] #13. Project Browser, Focus Window

[Enterprise Architect] #12. Other useful functions when creating diagrams

[Enterprise Architect] #11. Useful functions of the Layout menu

[Enterprise Architect] #10. Diagram views

[Enterprise Architect] #8. Enterprise Architect Usage Basics

[Enterprise Architect] #7. EA Modeling Component

[Enterprise Architect] #6. Publish Ribbon

[Enterprise Architect] #5. Layout Ribbon

[Enterprise Architect] #4. Design Ribbon

[Enterprise Architect] #3. Start Ribbon

[Enterprise Architect] #2. Organizing your EA work Desktop

[Enterprise Architect] #1. File Management & Explore Panel

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