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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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Feature Visibility

When you set up the characteristics and features of an element, you can set a collection of options to display or hide the features of that element on a specific diagram. You can also filter the attributes and operations that are shown by scope - such as hiding all protected attributes - or select to hide or show specific attributes and operations. The visibility you set applies only to the current diagram, so a Class can appear in one diagram with all features displayed, and in another with features hidden.

It is possible to hide or show inherited attributes, operations, responsibilities, constraints and Tagged Values for elements that support those features. When the system displays inherited features, it creates a merged list from all generalized parents and from all realized interfaces. If a child Class redefines something found in a parent, the parent feature is omitted from the list.


Context Menu

Right-click element on diagram | Compartment Visibility

Keyboard Shortcuts


Customize Feature Visibility



See also

Attribute Visibility

Select the checkbox against each scope that should be visible, and clear the checkbox against each scope that should not be visible.

Create and Manage Attributes

Operation Visibility

Select the checkbox against each scope that should be visible, and clear the checkbox against each scope that should not be visible.

Define Properties of Operations


Click on this button to show or hide specific operations or attributes. The 'Show Features in Diagram' dialog displays, on which you select the features to show.

On the right of the dialog is a 'Show' field with a drop-down arrow; if you click on this and select the 'Hide' option, the dialog alters slightly to become the 'Suppress Features in Diagram' dialog, on which you select the features to hide.

The two dialogs are identical. Select the checkboxes of specific features to show or hide on the element in the diagram. You can specify both attributes and operations on the same dialog, by selecting the appropriate radio button for the type of feature to work on.

You can also use the:

  • 'Filter by' drop-down arrow to filter the list to show only features that have a specific scope
  • All button to select all operations or attributes in the list
  • None button to clear the checkboxes against all selected operations or attributes in the list

When Resizing Elements

Select the appropriate option for resizing the Class, Object or Table to manage very wide diagram objects. Select the:

  • 'Resize to longest Feature' radio button, so that the minimum width for a diagram object is determined by its longest displayed attribute, operation or other compartment value
  • 'Wrap Features' radio button (so that any long features are wrapped onto multiple lines) or
  • 'Truncate Features' radio button (the default - long features are not displayed in full)


Select the checkbox if you want to hide the object runstate of the element on the diagram.

Object State

Hide Stereotyped Features

If you do not want to show attributes or operations that have a particular stereotype, type that stereotype name - exactly as defined - in this field; the field is case-sensitive.

If you want to specify more than one stereotype, separate the stereotype names with a comma.

Show Element Compartments

Select the checkbox against each compartment to display in the element on the diagram. If you want to display inherited attributes, operations, tags, requirements and/or constraints as well as directly owned ones, select the checkbox against each inherited feature as well as against the general feature.

See also the Notes section later in this topic.

Add Custom Compartments to Element Composite Elements

Element Notes

Select the 'Notes' checkbox in the 'Show Element Compartments' list to display, in a compartment on the element in the diagram, the text that has been typed into the 'Notes' field of the element 'Properties' dialog.  This compartment does not have a 'Notes' heading.

You can display full notes for the selected element whilst the other elements on the diagram have no notes text.

This checkbox also enables the 'Maximum' field, which defaults to 1000 as the number of characters of Notes text that can be displayed. Overtype this value to display less text or more text, as you need.

Notes Toolbar


Click on this button to save your settings.

The diagram redisplays with the appropriate level of feature visibility.


  • To show features for element types that - by default - do not have visible compartments, such as Use Cases and Actors, right-click on the diagram object to display the context menu and select the 'Advanced | Use Rectangle Notation' option
  • You can configure Enterprise Architect to display the text in all Notes compartments in italics. Select the 'Start > Preferences > Preferences' ribbon option and on the 'Diagram > Appearance' page select the 'Italic Note Element text' checkbox. This has an immediate effect, as does clearing the checkbox to show the text in normal font
  • If you select to display the Resources compartment, note that this shows both currently-active and complete resource allocations
  • The discussions and reviews compartments display the first two lines of each open topic on the element; they do not include closed discussions or reviews
  • Some technologies such as SysML define additional compartments in the element, such as for Ports, Parts and Flow Ports; visibility of these compartments will also be controlled by a checkbox matching the name of the compartment
  • The tags compartment lists all Tagged Values for an element as entered in the 'Tags' tab of the element Properties window that do not have an empty value
  • If you select the 'Fully Qualified Tags' checkbox, the Tags compartment will contain the full provenance of each Tagged Value (if created in Enterprise Architect release 7.1 or later) where the same Tagged Value is used several times in different contexts with different values; the description in the Tags compartment reads:
          <Profile>::<Stereotype>::<Tagged Value name>=<Value>
    For example:
         BPMN::Activity::Activity Type = Task
  • A Structure Compartment displays on the element by default when you add child elements such as Parts and Classes; the Structure Compartment acts as a container for the child elements, which are normally fixed within the compartment
    To move child elements out of the compartment, press the Ctrl or Shift key while dragging the child element; Parts/Properties cannot be dragged out of the parent element
    Any element that supports Rectangular Notation can support a Structure Compartment
  • Ports and other edge-mounted elements normally bind to any part of the parent element border, but can be confined to the borders of the Structure Compartment by right-clicking on the parent element and selecting the 'Behavior > Bind Port to Compartment' option
  • If you want to apply a structure and formal relationships to the child elements, create a proper Composite Structure diagram containing the elements and select the 'Show Composite Diagram in Compartment' context menu option