Notes are textual descriptions that can be added to an element, diagram, feature or connector in Enterprise Architect. They provide valuable information that describes the entity being modeled. Many newcomers to modeling are not aware that these textual descriptions are core to many of the modeling languages including UML, BPMN and SysML; without them the model will be hard to understand and remain opaque. A well-formed note is unambiguous and doesn’t contain redundant information that has been entered in other properties of the entity.

The notes can be formatted using the Notes Toolbar, conveniently located above the 'Notes' field. This formatting can be carried through to documentation generated from the model and includes such markup as italics, bolding, bullets and hyperlinks. Glossary Terms and model elements can also be referenced from the 'Notes' field. There are also convenient keyboard shortcuts available for quick editing in the 'Notes' field.

Notes can be accessed in the Notes Window, which can be docked anywhere in the application, or through the 'Properties' dialog for an element, feature, connector or diagram. Many experienced modelers have the Notes window visible and when they select an entity in a diagram, the Project Browser or another window they can view, create or edit these textual descriptions.

Access Project Browser or diagram | Click on element | View | Notes (Ctrl+Shift+1)

Notes Context Menu options



See also

Create | Glossary Definition

Click on this option to create a Project Glossary definition, with the Glossary term taken from the selected 'Notes' text.

To create the Glossary entry:

  1. If suitable Notes text is available, highlight the text to use as the Glossary definition and press Ctrl+C to copy it.
  2. Highlight the text to use as the Glossary term, right-click on it and select the menu option; the 'Glossary Detail' dialog displays, with the selected text in the 'Term' field.
  3. If you have copied some definition text, paste it into the 'Meaning' field; otherwise type a suitable definition of the term in this field.
  4. In the 'Type' field, select the appropriate term type.
  5. Click on the Apply button to save the new Glossary definition.

The term displays in the 'Notes' text as a roll-over hyperlink which, when you move the cursor over it, displays the Glossary definition of the term.

Once you have created a Glossary definition, here or elsewhere in the model, you can add the Glossary term anywhere in the text of the Notes window (or 'Notes' field of a dialog) where, again, it becomes a rollover hyperlink to the definition. Either:

  • Simply type the term in the text, or
  • If you are not certain of the term or have multiple definitions:
  1. Move the cursor to the point in the text at which to insert the term.
  2. Press Ctrl+Space; the 'Glossary Term Selection' window displays.
  3. Double-click on the term to insert it in the text.

Project Glossary Glossary Detail

Create | New Element from Selection

Click on this option to create a new element in the model, the name of which is taken from the selected Notes text.

  1. Click on the option.
  2. The 'New Element' dialog displays, with the 'Name' field pre-filled with the selected text.
  3. Set the element type and other options as necessary, then click on the Create button. (You can also select an option on the dialog to add the element to the diagram.)
  4. The system creates the element, adds it to the model (and diagram) and creates a hyperlink to it from the selected Notes text.

Add Elements Directly To Packages

Create | Element on Diagram

Click on this option to create a new element in the model, and explicitly in the diagram also, with its name taken from the selected Notes text. This option does not make the selected text a hyperlink to the element.

  1. Click on the option.
  2. The 'Toolbox Shortcut' menu displays for the diagram type. If necessary, click on the 'Other' option and select from a different set of element types.
  3. Click on the required element type and then click on the diagram. A new element is created at the cursor position, with the selected text as the element name.

Toolbox Shortcut Menu

Create | Link to existing element

Click on this option to create a hyperlink from the selected Notes text to an existing element in the model.

  1. Click on the option.
  2. The 'Select Classifier' dialog displays. Locate and select the required element, and click on the OK button.
  3. The selected Notes text becomes a hyperlink to the element. The target element name and Notes text remain unchanged and do not necessarily mirror each other.

Select Dialog

Search for <'selected'>

Click on this option to display a subset of the functions of the common Code Editor menu 'Search' option, to locate a text string outside the element.

In a 'Notes' field (not in the Notes window) you can perform a search of the text for a text string:

  • Press Ctrl+F and specify the text string and the direction of search
  • Press F3 to locate more instances of the word in a forward search, or Ctrl+F3 in a backwards search

Code Editor Context Menu

Select All

These six options provide simple functions for editing the Notes text.

Keyboard Options For Notes


Function Key

See also

Switch text orientation

Hold Ctrl, press Shift

Description: On a line of text, right-justifies or left-justifies the paragraph in which that line occurs.

Use the keys on the left of the alphanumeric keyboard to left-justify the text; use the keys on the right of the keyboard to right-justify the text.

Insert Date and Time


Description: Inserts the current date and time at the cursor position, in the format:


For example:

     12/06/2015 3:39:50 PM

Spell check Notes text


Description: Performs a simple spell check on the Notes text.

Undo changes


Description: Reverses the last change made to the Notes text.

Redo changes

Ctrl+Y or


Description: Re-applies the last reversed change to the Notes text.



Description: Copies a highlighted Notes text string to the Enterprise Architect buffer.



Description: Pastes a copied or cut text string from the Enterprise Architect buffer into the Notes text.



Description: Removes a highlighted Notes text string and places it in the Enterprise Architect buffer.

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