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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Adding Elements

The Specification Manager is an excellent model development tool, through which you can create elements in the Package you are reviewing in a number of ways. You can add new elements either:

  • Directly to the Package or
  • As child elements of an element in the Package

There are several methods of adding a new element, some of which vary depending on whether you have set a specific element type as the Specification Type, or set the display to list all types of element in the Package. If you import a set of element data from an external spreadsheet (.csv) file, this setting will also filter the imported information to show elements of the specified type or all types.


With the Specification Manager window open;

Diagram Toolbox

Drag an element icon from an appropriate page of the Diagram Toolbox


Specification-Specify > Element > Add > Add Default

Specification-Specify > Element > Add > Add Child

Specification-Specify > Element > Add > Repeat Previous

Specification-Specify > Element > Add > Add Other

Context Menu

Right-click window | Add New Element

Right-click window | Add New Child

Right-click window | Repeat Last Element

Keyboard Shortcuts

Ctrl+N (new element)

Ctrl+Shift+N (new child element)

Shift+F3 (repeat previous element)

Add an element from the Diagram Toolbox

When you have the appropriate page of the Diagram Toolbox displayed (press Alt+5 and use the More tools button to locate the page), you can drag an element icon to a specific point on the Specification Manager View. The element entry immediately above the cursor is indicated by a blue side-bar, and a context menu displays with three options:

  • 'Insert after Selection' - the new element will be added as a peer immediately underneath the highlighted element
  • 'Insert as Child' - the new element will be added as a child of the highlighted element
  • 'Add to End of Document' - the new element will be added to the end of the list, as a peer of the highest level of the hierarchy

Add element of predefined Specification Type

If you have set the Specification Type to a particular type of element:

  • An element of that type is immediately added to the Specification Manager; the element has either the system default element name or a name that you have set up under your own naming conventions
  • The name is highlighted and, if you want to change it, you can immediately type in an alternative name
  • If the element is a child of an existing element, the entry is added underneath the parent, indented and in a smaller font; the parent element is given a +/- expansion box

Add element of any Specification Type

If the Specification Manager is listing elements of any type, or if you have set the 'Specification Type' to '<Any>', the 'New Element' dialog displays. You can use this dialog to create an element of any type that the model supports.

Add elements from Pattern

Enterprise Architect provides Patterns in the Diagram Toolbox and in the Resources window, and you can create your own Patterns and make them available from the same places. Patterns are a great way to create template structures of elements in your specifications, and you can 'drag and drop' them from the Toolbox or Resources window into the Specification Manager.

When you release the mouse button to 'drop' the Pattern, a short menu displays from which you select to add the Pattern elements underneath the item immediately above either as a peer structure or as a child structure.


  • If you add an element of the defined Specification Type to the selected Package in the Project Browser, it is also added to the Specification Manager
  • In the Corporate and extended editions of Enterprise Architect, a User Security system can be applied that restricts or enables access to a range of operations and functions; if you cannot access a function in the Specification Manager, check with your System Administrator or Security Administrator to see if you have access permissions to work with that function

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