Appearance Menu Section

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


Menu Option



See also

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, use the Lock option for model elements


Lock model elements


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

An element on a locked diagram is also unselectable - if you click on it, the element outline displays in red

In a diagram, you can filter the display to show selectable or non-selectable elements only


Diagram Filters


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


Z-Order Elements

Appearance Sub-Menu




See also

Default Appearance

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


Standard Colors


Set an Element's Default Appearance

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

Ctrl + Shift + W

Using the Image Manager

Hide/Show Name Under Image

Hide or redisplay 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


Set Element Font

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


Diagram toolbar

Copy Image to Clipboard

Copy the element image to the clipboard




  • You can also change the appearance (and other aspects) of several selected elements at once
  • Context menus vary slightly between element types, and not all menu options shown here are present on all element context menus; for example, the Alternate Image option won't display for a Lifeline element

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