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Connect to a Connector

Under certain circumstances, it can be useful to create a connector that issues or terminates (or both) on another connector. For example, you might create a connector between two elements, and then create a link between that connector and a Requirement element to show that the relationship between the two elements was a predefined specification of the design.

In releases of Enterprise Architect from 13.0 onwards, you can add connectors to other connectors. The linking connector can connect as source and target:

  • Two other connectors
  • An element and a connector
  • A connector and an element

The appearance of each configuration of a connector/connector link is illustrated here:

Creating connectors to and from other connectors in Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect

As you create the connector on another connector, the connector end displays with this circle symbol to indicate that it is on another connector, and to help you position the end accurately.

(Select connector) Showing the selected end of a connector that has another connector as its source or target, in Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect.

(Move connector end) Showing the selected end of a connector that has another connector as its source or target, in Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect.

There is effectively no limit to the number of connectors that can issue from or terminate on another connector.

Once you have anchored one connector on another, if you move either end or the whole connector and you have selected the 'Layout > Align > Snap to grid > Smart Placement' and 'Show smart placement guidelines' options, colored guidelines appear on the diagram. These indicate where the selected end of the connector is relative to potential anchor points on the currently-anchored connector and others that you might drag past. Note that the objects must be contemporary - not at different hierarchical levels or in different partitions of the diagram.

Create a connector on another connector

You can create a connector that issues from or terminates on another connector in the same two ways as you create one on an element; that is:

  • Using the Quick Linker arrow or
  • Using a connector icon from the Toolbox



See also

Quick Linker

  1. Click on the source connector (or element). A Quick Linker arrow displays at the center point of the line.
  2. Drag the arrow onto another connector or onto an element, to display a short menu of possible connector types; select the appropriate type.

You can also drag the Quick Linker arrow into empty space; a short menu of element types displays and you can select to generate an element of one of those types whilst the system automatically creates an appropriate type of connector to it.

Create Connectors


  1. Click on the icon for the required connector type.
  2. Click-and-drag from the source connector or element to the target connector or element.

Certain connector types are not UML-compliant for linking to another connector, and if you select such types you might get an error message. You can continue to create this type of connector by de-selecting the 'Strict Connector Syntax' option on the 'Links' page of the 'Preferences' dialog (the 'Start > Application > Preferences > Preferences' ribbon option).

Diagram Toolbox