Please note : This help page is not for the latest version of Enterprise Architect. The latest help can be found here.

Format Toolbar

As you add elements and connectors to a diagram, you might want to group or differentiate these objects by adjusting their appearance or position on the diagram, or by filtering the diagram to show only certain elements. You can make a number of changes to an element's appearance and then capture these changes as a named style, which you can then apply to other elements on the same diagram or on a different diagram. All of these options are available through the diagram Format Toolbar, which automatically displays at the top of every diagram.


You can hide or recover this toolbar by clicking on the Upchevron or Downchevron icons in the Caption Bar at the top of the Diagram View.

You can also temporarily display an abbreviated Format Toolbar beside an element or connector. For:

Elements, select one or more elements on the diagram and click on the paintbrush icon beside the element (and, for multiple selected elements, the threedot icon)
Connectors, right-click on the connector; the Format Toolbar appears above the context menu





See also

Set Font

Set the text font, style, size and effects for the selected element(s) using the Font dialog.



Set Element Font

Text Color

Set the text color for the selected element(s).

This option overrides the color setting of the Set Font option.




Fill Color

Set the fill color of the selected element(s).

This setting takes precedence over all other fill color settings, such as default appearance, Template element appearance, stereotype default color and Shape Script color.

If you set the fill color to Default and the element has a stereotype with a fill color defined, the element takes the stereotype default rather than the Standard Color default.





Stereotype Settings

Standard Colors


Line Color

Set the line color of the selected connector or the border of the selected element.

This setting overrides any line color set through the element Default Appearance or Connector Appearance dialogs.




Line Width

Set the line width of the selected connector or the border of the selected element; choose a value between 1 (thinnest) and 5 (thickest).




Apply Style

Apply a style to the selected elements or connector.

The style is either:

Captured using the Get Style option (see below) or
The style currently displayed in the Style List field (see below)




Get Style

Capture the current style of the selected element or connector.




Style List

Click on the drop-down arrow and select a style from the list, to immediately apply to the selected elements or connector.

To save a style to this list, use the Save Style option (below).




Save Style

Having selected an element or connector, click on the down arrow and select the appropriate option:

Save as New Style - save the style of the element or connector to the Style List as a new style; type the name of the style when prompted to do so
Save Style - save the (updated) style of the selected element or connector under its current style name in the Style List
Refresh List - refresh the Style List with any changes to the existing styles
Delete Current Style - delete the defined style of the selected element or connector from the Style List




Align Left

(Activated when multiple elements are selected.)

Align the selected elements on the left border of the last-selected element.


Ctrl+Alt+Left Arrow


Align Right

(Activated when multiple elements are selected.)

Align the selected elements on the right border border of the last-selected element.


Ctrl+Alt+Right Arrow


Align Tops

(Activated when multiple elements are selected.)

Align the selected elements on the top edge of the last-selected element.


Ctrl+Alt+Up Arrow


Align Bottoms

(Activated when multiple elements are selected.)

Align the selected elements on the bottom edge of the last-selected element.


Ctrl+Alt+Down Arrow


Bring to Top

Move the selected element(s) in front of other elements; that is, to the top of the Z order.





Diagram Context Menu


Send To Back

Move the selected element(s) behind other elements; that is, to the bottom of the Z order.


Layout Diagram

(Not for Behavioral diagrams.)

Auto-layout the diagram in one of the standard layouts; click on the drop-down arrow to select which layout to apply.

You can also filter a standard layout to arrange the elements according to a selected characteristic. To do this, click on the Configure Layouts option in the drop-down list.



Layout Diagrams

Diagram Properties


Display the Diagram Properties dialog for the diagram.


Set Diagram Properties

Delete Selected


Delete the selected element(s).



Filter diagram elements by Name

Context Filter

Filter the elements in the diagram simply according to name or alias. (A more comprehensive diagram filtering facility is also available, through the Diagram Filters window.)

To activate the field, select the Context Filter icon. If this icon is not selected, the field remains grayed out. If you:

Do not type any text in the field, you can filter the diagram to show all elements related to a selected element
Type text, the diagram is filtered according to the text and settings as described below

Type the first few characters or all of the text string that forms the name of the elements to show normally. All elements that do not have names that match this string are grayed out.

For example, if you type REQ, all elements with a name beginning with REQ are visible, whilst all other elements are grayed out.

By typing in the full name of an element, you can mute everything on the diagram except that one element, thereby showing exactly where it is on the diagram.

The filter also searches on aliases if the Use Alias if Available option is set on the diagram properties Diagram tab. If the Alias only option is set on the Options > Diagram Behavior page, the filter is on the alias text instead of the name, and if the Alias and Name option is set, the filter shows elements that have the text string in either the alias or name.



Diagram Filters



Context Filter a Diagram










Configure Diagram Display

(Diagram) Behavior

Add or Remove Buttons

This drop-down arrow arrow at the right end of the toolbar enables you to:

Display or hide icons currently defined for the toolbar, or
Customize the toolbar to include other icons, to initiate commands found on other toolbars or totally new commands

(As an example, ten options on the Format toolbar are also found on the Diagram toolbar, which contains other options that could be duplicated here).



The Customize Dialog

Diagram Toolbar


To set the global appearance of all elements throughout a model, use the Options dialog; select the Tools | Options menu option, then select Standard Colors and Diagram | Appearance from the options tree
To override the global appearance and define a default appearance of a selected element (or several selected elements) on all diagrams on which it occurs, set the Default Appearance for that element; right-click the element and choose the Appearance | Default Appearance context menu option

Learn more