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

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Define Properties of Operations

You create and modify the operations of an element on the 'Operations' tab of the 'Features' dialog. This tab itself contains panels and tabs that you can use to completely define the operations you need for an element. You can, however, simply create a number of operation names if you want to create operations quickly and not necessarily fully define them as you create them.



Design > Element > Operations

Context Menu

Right-click element in diagram | Features and Properties | Operations  or

Right-click element in Project Browser | Operations  or

Right-click operation in Project Browser | Operation Properties

Keyboard Shortcuts



In Project Browser, double-click on an Operation

Create and define Operations



See also


Overtype the New Operation... text to create a new operation, or click on the name to edit an existing operation.


Lists the parameters that have been defined for this operation on the 'Parameters' tab.

Define Parameters

Return Type

(This option is not shown for State or StateMachine elements.)

Defaults to 'void'. To change this, overtype the field or click on the drop-down arrow and click on:

  • The required data type returned by the operation, as defined by the code language (data type) or
  • '<none>' for no type (or you can type in a value manually if you prefer), or
  • 'Select Type' and browse for the appropriate operation classifier (you can add a new one if there are no classifiers that suit)

To add new code language data types that can be displayed in this list, see the Data Types topic.

Data Types Select Dialog


Define the action of the operation: do, exit or entry.

(Displayed for operations of State or StateMachine elements.)

State Machine State


Click on the drop-down arrow and select one of:

  • Public
  • Protected
  • Private
  • Package


(Optional) Define one or more stereotypes for the operation; either:

  • Type a stereotype name, or
  • Click on the button and select the stereotype from the 'Stereotype Selector' dialog
Stereotype Selector


(Optional) Type an alternative name or reference for the operation.

Method <operation name> panel

Define the detailed properties of the selected operation.

Operation Details

Parameters tab

Define parameters to modify how the operation takes action.

Define Parameters

Notes tab

Enter any comments and discussion you want to record on the operation; you can format the notes text using the Notes toolbar at the top of the field.

You can also perform a range of operations on the Notes text, using the 'Notes' context menu.

Notes Notes Toolbar

Behavior tab

Define the behavior or functionality of the operation.

Operation Behavior

Redefines tab

(Optional) In a Generalize relationship, configure the selected operation to redefine an operation in the target element.

You can also set up the operation to check for an exception, and at that point switch control to a specified Classifier.

Redefine Operation and Check for Exceptions

Pre tab

Define pre-conditions that modify the action of the operation.

Operation Constraints

Post tab

Define post-conditions that modify the action of the operation.

Tagged Values tab

Define any Tagged Values that the operation has.

Operation Tagged Values


Click on this button to close the 'Features' dialog, saving all information you have recorded in it.

Context Menu options

Right-click on the upper panel, or on a specific operation name.



See also

Add New

Add a new operation to the list, with default values in the dialog fields.

Shortcut: Ctrl+N

Copy as New

Copy a selected operation as a new operation. Provide a new name for the operation and click on the OK button.

Shortcut: Ctrl+C

Restore Sort Order

If you have used the column header arrows to reorganize the sequence in which the operations are displayed, click on this option to redisplay them in the default sequence (alphabetical by name).

Move up

Move the selected operation one row up the list.

Shortcut: Ctrl+Up Arrow

Move down

Move the selected operation one row down the list.

Shortcut: Ctrl+Down Arrow

Field Chooser

Display the 'Field Chooser' dialog, which contains any column headings not currently applied to the page.

Drag a column heading from the 'Field Chooser' into the preferred position in the row of column headings. You can also drag the column headings into a different sequence.

To return a column heading to the 'Field Chooser', drag it out of the heading row.

List Header

Enable Group Box

Show or hide the Group Box, in which you reorganize the list sequence  of the operations according to one or more characteristics.

Toggle Filter Bar

Show or hide the Filter Bar, in which you type text strings that the data in the corresponding column must match in order to be listed.


Immediately delete the selected operation from the element.

Shortcut: Ctrl+Del


This helps you when you want to create operations quickly and might not necessarily want to fully define each one as you create it

Learn more