Appearance Menu Section

The Appearance section of the element context menu can contain the following options:

Menu Option

Use to

Lock Element

Lock the element so it can't be edited. To unlock the element, select Lock Element again.


This does not apply in the Corporate, Business and Software Engineering, Systems Engineering and Ultimate editions when security is enabled; in that situation, see the Lock model elements topic.


Toggle whether the element is selectable or not. If an element is selectable, you can move it around the diagram and perform right-click context menu operations.

If an element is unselectable, you cannot move it around the diagram and the only right-click operation available is to make the element selectable.

This option has no effect on double-click operations on the element, such as displaying child diagrams or Properties dialogs.

Note that an element on a locked diagram is also unselectable - if you click on it, the element outline displays in red.


Align and join two elements either vertically or horizontally, on the current diagram only.

Both elements must have the Dockable option selected, and must have the joining edges parallel. As the distance between the elements narrows, the moving element snaps to the edge of the other element. For Activity Partitions, the option is selected by default.

Deselecting the Dockable option does not separate the elements; if necessary, you can simply move the elements apart again.


Display the Appearance submenu; see the table below.


Set the Z-Order of the element.


You can also change the appearance (and other aspects) of several selected elements at once.

Appearance Sub-Menu

Menu Option & Function Keys

Use to

Default Appearance  [F4]

Override the global default appearance of all elements (which you set on the Options dialog, Standard Colors page and Diagram Appearance page) with a different default for just the selected element on all diagrams in which it is found.

To change the appearance of the selected element on the current diagram only, use the Format toolbar.

Apply Image From Clipboard

Paste the image held on the clipboard onto the selected element.

Select Alternate Image

Select an alternative image using the image manager.

Hide/Show Name Under Image

Hides or redisplays the name label under an element with an alternative image.

Set Font

Change the font type, size, color and effects for the text in an element.

Show Labels

Reveal any hidden labels on the element.

Copy Appearance to Painter

Copy the default element appearance (set using the Default Appearance option, above) to the painter. You then paste the default appearance using the Paste Appearance option on the Diagram toolbar.

Copy Image to Clipboard

Copy the element image to the clipboard.


Not all menu options shown here are present on all element context menus. Context menus vary slightly between element types. The Alternate Image option won't display for a Lifeline element, for example.