[Enterprise Architect] #4. Design Ribbon

In this post, I would like to explain the options in Design Ribbon.

This image shows the Design Ribbon in Enterprise Architect.

The ‘Design’ ribbon is used to develop and visualize models by creating diagrams, matrices, and lists of important aspects of a system, to create and view requirements and other specifications, to create representations regardless of technology or expression language, and to You can query and form a blueprint of a system or link it to the documentation of an existing system.

Design Ribbon consists of Package, Diagram, Element, and Dictionary panels.

Here’s a summary of the main features of each panel:

Panel NameDescription
Package– Provides model creation and management functions
– Ability to add new models containing multiple packages
– Used to form the structure of the model and group elements, diagrams, and other packages
– Supports text-based description operations through Specification Manager
– Element list, Gantt chart, snapshot display function for comparison with current package
Diagram– Ability to create and manage diagrams and their included elements
– Easily configure various types of diagrams
– Provides various overlays such as Kanban board, roadmap diagram, Swimlanes, etc.
– Diagrams can also be displayed as element lists, Gantt charts, and text specifications
Element– Ability to create, edit, and manage elements, which are the basic components of a model.
– Element specification with attributes, actions, receptions, tag values, scenarios, requirements, constraints
Dictionary– Provides spell checking for the current package or entire model and the option to create and edit dictionary entries for project terms.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the options each panel provides.


The Package panel provides the ability to create and manage folders (packages). You can also add new models, which usually include several different packages. These packages form the structure of the model and can be used to group elements, diagrams or other packages. A package can also be viewed as a list of elements that contain other packages, or as a Gantt chart that describes the allocation of resources to elements within a package.

Simply put, the ‘Packages’ panel is a tool that allows you to organize and manage the various components of your system. This allows users to understand and manage the complex structure of their projects more clearly and efficiently.

FunctionDetail of Function
Add PackageCreates a new child package under the currently selected package. The ‘New Package’ dialog appears, where you can specify whether you want to create a package from a pattern, with child diagrams, or simply just the package.
Model WizardThrough the Model Wizard, you can quickly create a new model for your project by providing patterns from various technologies.
Management1. Properties: Maintaining and managing the properties of a package
2. Status update: Bulk update of status, stage, and version of packages and elements
3. Lock: Restrict changes to selected packages
4. Clone structure: Clone the structure of the selected package to a new version.
5. Validation: Create and run validation rules for the package
6. Baseline management: Create a baseline and compare it to the current version
7. Find baselines: List all baselines in the model
8. Level numbering: Toggle display of automatic level numbers
9. Auto Naming: Apply automatic naming rules
10. Report Options: Set whether to include in the report
11. DBMS options: Change DBMS type and owner
12. Copy/Paste to Clipboard: Copy and Paste Package
13. Package Search/Browse: Search and select a specific package
Package/MatrixYou can check the relationships between elements within a package or with other packages through a relationship matrix.
Gap analysisExplore the implementation of features within the model and identify potential gaps between solution architectures.
TransformProvides the option to apply transformation templates to build physical models from abstract content.
Specifications ViewSelected packages are displayed through the ‘Specification Manager’, a document-based interface that allows you to create and review elements as text representations of objects within a browser window.
List View & Gantt ViewDisplays the selected package in list view mode or Gantt view mode in the package browser window.


The Diagram panel provides functions for creating and managing diagrams and the elements they contain. A diagram is a way to visually represent the elements of a model and their connections. With enhanced functionality, these diagrams can be converted into expressive views such as Kanban boards, roadmap diagrams, pool lanes, etc., allowing elements to be assigned to different aspects such as responsibility or ownership. Diagrams can also be viewed in various formats, such as a list of elements or a Gantt chart that illustrates the allocation of resources to elements.

These features help you intuitively understand and manage the complex structure and relationships of your model.

The functions related to Enterprise Architect’s ‘Diagram’ panel are summarized in the following table:

For reference, here’s how EA behaves depending on whether an element is selectable:

FunctionDetail of Function
Tool BoxDisplay icon panels specific to diagram type
Add DiagramCreate a new diagram under the selected package or element
Manage1. Properties: Manage properties of current diagram
2. Lock: Restrict changes to the currently open diagram.
3. Duplicate to new version: Copy and paste the currently selected diagram into a new version.
4. Compare to baseline: Compare the current diagram with a previously captured baseline.
5. Add to working set: Add the diagram to the working set when opening the model.
6. Save as profile: Save the current diagram as a profile.
7. Pool Lanes: Use the ‘Pools and Matrix’ dialog to divide the diagram into logical regions.
8. Kanban: Convert the currently open diagram to Kanban format
9. Roadmap: Convert the currently open diagram into a roadmap with a time axis.
10. Diagram search: Find the location of a diagram with a specific name
11. Diagram navigation: Find diagrams within the model
View1. Standard graphic display format: Display the diagram in a typical graphic form
2. Tabular list: Displayed as an editable tabular list of elements (diagram list)
3. Gantt chart format: Displayed in Gantt chart format showing project resources assigned to each element
4. Text description in Specification Manager: Each element is displayed with a text description in Specification Manager.
5. Relationship matrix: Displays the relationship between source and target elements as a matrix (relationship matrix)
6. Configuration view: Displayed as a configuration view representing the hierarchy, type, display order, and parent-child structure of elements.
7. Inline specification view: Select to show or hide the specification view of diagram elements in the right half of the diagram in the graphical display format.
Options1. Configure Z-order: Set the Z-order of each element in the diagram
2. All elements can be selected: All elements in the current diagram can be selected.
3. Change type: Change diagram type
4. Change the order of messages: Change the order of messages in a communication diagram.
5. Automatic diagram refresh: Diagram automatically refreshes when there are changes saved by other users.

1. Selectable:

  • Can be moved within the diagram.
  • Context menu operations can be performed by right-clicking.

2. Unselectable:

  • Unable to move within the diagram.
  • The only thing you can do with right-click is to make an element selectable.

Additionally, the ‘Make all elements selectable’ option has no effect on double-clicking on elements, for example, displaying child diagrams. This appears to be a feature designed to efficiently manage diagrams and aid user workflow.


The Elements panel provides the ability to create, specify, and manage elements, which are the basic building blocks of a model, and define scenarios for the activities they represent.

FunctionDetail of Function
Add Element– Element: Adds a new element to the currently selected package or element through the ‘New Element’ dialog box. Can also add to the currently open diagram if necessary.

– Multiple Elements: Add multiple individual elements to the currently open diagram using the ‘Create Multiple Elements’ dialog box.

– Related Element: Identifies elements related to the currently selected element and adds it to the diagram if not present.

– Any Element: Use the ‘Select Element’ browser to locate any element and add it to the diagram.
Manage– Clone Element as New Version: This function copies the structure of the selected element and pastes it into the browser window as a new element and content. Enter the version number of the new element and select its parent package or element.

– Lock / Lock Element with Children: Opens the ‘Lock Element’ dialog to set or unlock the edit lock for the selected element. ‘Lock Element with Children’ sets or unlocks the selected element and all child elements.

– Edit Linked Document: Opens the Linked Document editor for editing the document linked to the currently selected element.

– Find Elements with Linked Documents / modified recently: This function finds elements with Linked Documents or elements with recently modified Linked Documents.

– Parents and Interfaces: Use the ‘Set Parents and Interfaces’ dialog to add or remove generalization and realization relationships to a parent or interface class.

– Overrides and Implementations: Use the ‘Override Operations/Interfaces’ dialog to automatically override methods in parent classes and implemented interfaces.

– Template Parameters: Displays the ‘Templates’ dialog where you can define template parameters and binding expressions for parameterized classes.

– Change Type: Use the ‘Select Element Type’ dialog box to change the type of the selected element.

– Find in Project Browser / Find in Diagrams: This function highlights the element selected in the project browser or finds it in all diagrams where the element is used.

– Search: Displays a ‘Find in Project’ view that allows you to search for the use of any aspect of an element throughout the model.

– Bookmark: Add or remove a bookmark to the selected element in the diagram. Elements are marked with red triangles.
PropertiesWhen you click on the Properties icon, you will see ‘Properties Window Selector’. This is a page of options for editing element properties, allowing you to edit various properties including ‘Tagged Values’ and ‘Linked Documents’.
Feature/MatrixWhen you select two elements in a Feature/Matrix diagram, the ‘Feature Matrix’ helps you create and manage the relationships between the features (properties, actions, receptions) of those elements.
TraceClick on the corresponding icon to use the ‘Traceability window’ to trace connections between elements starting from a single element and set dependencies radiating from that element.
BehaviorClicking on that icon will display the source code editor, allowing you to create or edit action code for the selected element’s action or the parent of the selected action. The three options available are:

1. Edit Behavior: Edit behavior code.
2. Edit Internal Code: Edit internal code.
3. Edit (or View) Source Code: Edit or view the source code.

All three of these options display the Code Editor window, but show the features, code, and editing options appropriate for the code type identified by the option selected.
ScenariosDisplays the ‘Scenarios View’, where you can:

1. Construct the scenario step by step
2. Import a text file describing the scenario
3. Creating a scenario from the activity diagram created in the scenario
(This means recreating the scenario or importing it from another element)
DecisionsThis is a drop-down menu displaying options for working with the decision table for the selected element:

– Find Decision Models: Runs a report to find all DMN models in the Find Project window. These models are represented by artifacts with stereotype<<DMNSimConfiguration>>.

– Add New Decision Model (Create from Pattern): Displays the model wizard (‘Create from Pattern’ tab) ready to create a DMN model from a pattern. (‘If the left panel header is not ‘Decision Modeling’, click the hamburger icon and select ‘Requirements > Decision Modeling’.)

– Find Simple Decision Tables: Runs a report to find and list all elements containing decision tables.

– Create/Edit Simple Decision Table: Opens the Decision Table window, allowing you to create or edit a decision table from the current element.

– Help: Displays the top-level help topic for the decision model.


The ‘Dictionary’ panel provides options to create customized document templates, check spelling in the current package or the entire model, and create and edit entries.

FunctionDetail of Function
Glossary– Clicking this icon displays options to view and edit terms defined in the project glossary.

– Glossary View: Displays the glossary window listing all terms defined in the project glossary.

– Edit: Displays the ‘Glossary’ dialog with options to add, edit, delete terms and modify how terms are displayed.

– Implement a Model Based Glossary: Displays the ‘Creating a Glossary with Package Structure’ help topic.
Spelling– Click this icon to access your project’s spell-checking features.

– Spell Check Project: Displays the ‘Spell Check’ dialog specifying which model components to check.

– Spell Check Current Package: The ‘Spell Check’ dialog will be displayed again, but in this case there is no need to set separate parameters.

– Spelling Options: Use ‘Spelling Options’ to configure your spelling checker.

This concludes the description of Design Ribbon.

In the next post, I will explain Layout Ribbon.


[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] #9. Enterprise Architect Usage Basics 2

[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] #3. Start Ribbon

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

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

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