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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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Operations on Multiple Elements

It is possible to perform various operations on two or more elements on a diagram at once, either to add the same feature or to standardize the size or orientation of the selected elements. This makes it much faster to update the diagram than if you had to modify each element separately.

To select the required elements, either click and drag the cursor over the group to highlight them, or press Ctrl or Shift as you click on each element separately. You can 'fix' this selection permanently using the 'Group' elements option on the context menu.

The selected element that is drawn with a hatched border is the context element. The context element is used as the 'master' element when aligning or resizing elements as a set.

The Shift and Ctrl keys toggle selection, so if you want to exclude a selected element from a group, again press the key as you click on the element. The two keys have a slightly different effect when you click on the intersection between two overlapping elements:

  • Shift+click toggles selection of the element with the lower Z-order (the element behind or further back than the others)
  • Ctrl+click toggles selection of the element with the higher Z-order (the element in front of or further forward than the others)


Select a set of elements on a diagram, then right-click on one of the selected elements to display a context menu (for format/layout operations, right-click on the element against which to standardize the others - this sets the right-clicked element as the context element).  Just note that if you click (not right-click) on an individual element, that element becomes the only selected element; the multiple selection is cleared and you are no longer working on multiple elements.

The 'Layout' ribbon's 'Style' panel also provides options for changing appearance related properties for a set of selected elements, while the 'Alignment' panel provides numerous options for aligning and resizing elements.


Layout > Style (changes the appearance of the selected elements on the current diagram only)

Layout > Alignment (changes the size or position of the selected elements on the current diagram only)

Context Menu

Right-click on a selected element on a diagram. The context menu for multiple selections displays; this is described here.

Keyboard Shortcuts

F4 (displays the 'Default Appearance' dialog, described here)


Right-click on a selected element on diagram - the Format toolbar is displayed above the context menu

(Changes the appearance of the selected elements on the current diagram only)




See also


Select this option to access a submenu of enabled Technologies on the system (for example, ArcGIS or TOGAF), each of which provides options for performing technology-specific operations on the elements.

This option is available in the Professional, Corporate, Unified and Ultimate editions of Enterprise Architect.

Domain Models Model Based Systems Engineering


This option displays if User Security is enabled. It offers the sub-options of:

  • 'Send Message', which opens the 'Create Message' dialog to create and send a model message containing a hyperlink to each of the selected objects
  • 'Monitor Discussions', which sets a flag on the selected elements to notify you if any of the selected elements are the subject of a new discussion or a new reply to an existing discussion
Create a Message


Select one of these 'Align <point>' options to align elements against the 'master' element's:

  • left edge
  • right edge
  • top edge
  • bottom edge
  • center, vertically or
  • center, horizontally

You can also edge-align groups of elements using the Diagram Toolbar; the four alignment buttons are made available when more than one element is selected in a diagram.


Ctrl+Alt+Left Arrow

Ctrl+Alt+Right Arrow

Ctrl+Alt+Up Arrow

Ctrl+Alt+Down Arrow

Diagram Toolbar

Space Evenly

(For three or more selected elements.) Select this option to automatically even out the spacing between the selected elements, either horizontally or vertically.

Shortcut: Alt+-    Alt+=

Same Height/Width

Select one of these options to make all the selected elements match the 'master' element's height or width, or both.

In Use Case diagrams, these options are blocked if the 'Allow elongated Use Cases' option is turned off on the 'Preferences' dialog 'Objects' page.

Object Display Options

Group/UnGroup Elements

Select these items to either combine the selected elements into a group for common formatting, for a number of work sessions, or to cancel an existing group.

Element Grouping

Compartment Visibility

Select this option to define the visibility of features and compartments on all elements selected on a diagram.

Shortcut: Ctrl+Shift+Y

Feature Visibility

Set Bookmark Value

Displays the 'Set Bookmark' dialog, on which you enable the display of Bookmark icons above the selected elements, and set any value to display in those bookmarks.

Element Context Menu Operations

Show Elements Matrix

Displays a Relation Matrix for two selected elements, identifying relationships between the features of the elements in the selected group.

Feature Quick Linker

Clone Element(s) as New Version

Select this option to copy the structure of the selected elements and paste them into the Browser window as new elements and contents; a prompt displays for you to enter a version number for the new elements, followed by a browser on which you select the parent Package or element.

Add Tagged Value

Select this option to add the same Tagged Value to all selected elements.

Assign a Tagged Value to an Item


Select this option to automatically resize the selected elements to their default minimum size (element content permitting).

Shortcut: Alt+Z

Autosize Elements


Select this option to set the same default appearance and font for all of the selected elements at once.

Shortcut: F4

You can also enable the Custom Diagram Style on the grouped elements, enable Info View style, and define the Info View display options.

Set an Element's Default Appearance Set Element Font


Select this option to display a short submenu, from which you toggle the Dockable, Selectable and Printable settings on the elements

Save Diagram Image to Disk Non-printable Elements Element Context Menu Operations Info view Style


Select this option to copy the selected elements to the clipboard.

Save Selected Elements as Pattern

Save the selected elements in a DiagramPattern Artifact, to act as a Pattern to reproduce those elements in other diagrams.

Save a Pattern as an Artifact

Layout Selected Elements

Select this option to automatically adjust the layout of the selected elements on the diagram.

Lay Out a Diagram Automatically

Delete Selected Elements

Select this option to delete the selected elements from the diagram only.

Shortcut: Ctrl+D