Relationship Matrix

When you need to visualize or manage relationships quickly and definitively, you can use the Relationship Matrix - a convenient and simple tool for reporting and working on all the relationships in a selected structure. The Relationship Matrix is a spreadsheet display of relationships between model elements within a Package or between two different Packages. You can filter the selection of relationships shown, according to:

  • The element type of the source and target elements in each relationship
  • The relationship type and direction
  • The Package(s) in which the source elements and target elements are held

The matrix shows all the relationships of a specified type between source and target elements by:

  • Listing the source Package elements down the side of the matrix
  • Listing the target Package elements across the top of the matrix, and
  • If a relationship exists between a source and target element, changing the background color of the intersecting grid square and displaying an arrow indicating the direction of the relationship

The direction is a reflection of which element is the source element and which the target (it does not indicate the 'Direction' property of the connector, as defined in the connector 'Properties' dialog). The display might also show a 'bent arrow' icon, indicating that the same kind of connectors exist in both directions between the source and target elements. The colored squares are normally green, indicating that the source element is not locked (that is, the parent Package has not been checked in under version control); if the element is locked (the parent Package has been checked in) the color is pink.

If you click on any square in the matrix, the square, the row header and the column header are highlighted. Right-clicking on a square also gives you the options of creating, modifying and deleting relationships between elements with a single mouse click - a quick way to set up complex sets of element relationships with a minimum of effort.

You can also create additional elements in the source and target Packages, and quickly add relationships to and/or from them.

Access Tools | Relationship Matrix or

Project Browser | Right-click on Package | Relationship Matrix | As Source or | As Target or As Both




See also

Specify the element types

The Relationship Matrix defaults to show all element types. If you want to examine relationships between specific types of element, you can filter for those types.

You define the element types - if necessary - as the first step in configuring the Relationship Matrix.

Click on the drop-down arrow in the 'Type' field in the 'Source' row, and/or in the 'Target' row, and in each case click on the required element type in the list.

The Relationship Matrix display immediately refreshes.

Set Element Type

Specify the connector type and direction

The Relationship Matrix requires a relationship type and direction to operate on.

In the 'Link Type' field, click on the drop down arrow and on the type of relationship to show.

In the 'Direction' field, click on the drop-down arrow and on one of the connector directions to show, or on 'Both' to show relationships in any direction.

In each case, if any relationships of that type exist they are immediately shown on the Relationship Matrix.

Set Connector Type and Direction

Select the Source and Target Packages

You need to set the source and target Packages in order to display relationships, but you do this after setting the connector and element types; as the Matrix automatically refreshes after each change, this is usually faster.

Set Source and Target Package

Update, delete and create relationships

Having seen what relationships currently exist between the selected elements, you can review the relationship and element properties, modify them, add more relationships or delete relationships that are no longer applicable.

Creating and Deleting Relationships

Create new elements

If the source or target element 'Type' field is set to a specific element type, you can add elements of that type to the matrix and the model.

In the top left corner of the matrix itself, the 'Target' and 'Source' labels have a + button. When you click on this button, the element 'Properties' dialog displays, through which you can define a new element of the corresponding (target or source) type.

If there are stereotyped elements of the type (such as Actors as defined in UML, TOGAF and Archimate) you are prompted to select the variant that you need.

This option is not available for the target or source axis if the corresponding 'Type' field is set to '<All>'.

Properties Dialog Set Element Type

Modify the display of information

It is possible to tailor the display of information to, for example, list the Package elements in alphabetical order, show elements from the Package hierarchy, and hide or show additional element name components such as level numbering, aliases and parent Package names.

Relationship Matrix Options

Toggle Between relationship direction and CRUD formats

You can switch the display between the connector direction format and a CRUD matrix format. The CRUD (or other, customized) indicators are defined in an overlay that you create.

Matrix Overlays

Export the contents of the Relationship Matrix

After reviewing the Relationship Matrix, you can export the contents to a CSV file, or capture the image of the contents as a .png file or a .emf graphics file.

Relationship Matrix Options

Print the contents of the Relationship Matrix

You can also send the contents of the Relationship Matrix to a printer, after previewing the print format if necessary. The printout can be on as many pages as it takes, or you can scale the print format so that the file occupies a specific number of pages.

Relationship Matrix Options

Capture the Matrix settings

If you want to use the same Relationship Matrix settings repeatedly to, for example, monitor development of the same source and target Packages, it is possible to save the settings as a profile that can be called to reapply those settings.

Matrix Profiles

Investigate Source and Target elements in relationships

Having identified relationships that might be of significance to you, you can check details of the elements in those relationships. For example, you can look at:

  • The diagrams that the elements are used in
  • The properties of the elements, or
  • What other elements might have relationships with the selected element

Review Source and Target Elements