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Navigation Cells

Enterprise Architect makes it easy for users to navigate through a repository by providing a handy diagram mechanism to hyperlink to any other diagram in the repository. This is the Navigation Cell, which you use to provide a simple or more ornamental direction and link to a diagram of significance to the user. You can add several Navigation Cells to a diagram to create a top-level home page, directing users to areas of the model they are interested in or responsible for. You can add Navigation Cells to a hierarchy of diagrams, further directing the user to more and more specific aspects of the model. An excellent illustration of this is the 'Getting Started' diagram of the Enterprise Architect EAExample model.

A Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect Custom diagram, containing Navigation Cell elements.

The diagrams containing Navigation Cells are viewable through the Internet browser and Cloud products, and provide a compelling experience for casual users and non-modelers, as well as more technical and experienced users. The navigation diagrams can be used as a Marketing tool, Customer information tool, or quick introduction to a model's composition. Navigation Cells are also the vehicle for identifying and providing access to diagrams that are to be reviewed in a Formal Review.

Creating Navigation Cells

To create a Navigation Cell, open the diagram you are developing as the Home Page and, from the Browser window, drag a target diagram onto that Home Page. The 'Select Type' dialog displays. Select the 'Navigation Cell' radio button.

This option creates the Navigation Cell,  containing the name of the target diagram and, in the top right corner, an icon representing the diagram type. Just after you click on the OK button, the 'Select Image' dialog displays, from which you can select a graphic that represents the nature of the diagram. You can also select a diagram Theme for the image, from the 'Image List' field. If you do not want to add an image to the element, click on the Cancel button.

If you are using an image, it displays in the center of the element with the target diagram name at the top, as shown in the EAExample illustration. If you are not using an image, the name displays in the center of the element.

If you subsequently decide to change or remove the image in a Navigation Cell, right-click on the element and select the 'Appearance > Select Navigation Image' option. The 'Select Image' dialog displays, and you can simply click on a different image or - to just remove the existing image - click on the Cancel button.

Selecting the 'Navigation Cell' option also enables the 'Run auto layout' checkbox, which you can select to automatically adjust the layout of the Navigation Cells to form a grid with 10 units of separation between cells. (The unit is defined in the diagram 'Properties' dialog). If you do not want to adjust the layout of the cells, clear the checkbox before clicking on the OK button.

If you use Navigation Cells in a model, they add the stereotype <<NavigationCell>> and its associated Shape Script to the model. Users opening the model in builds of Enterprise Architect earlier than 13.5 can then use this stereotype to create more Navigation Cells that are functionally the same as the Cells under Release 13.5, though a little more rudimentary.

Using Navigation Cells

When a Navigation Cell is displayed on a diagram, it provides a number of options for opening and displaying its linked diagram.

  • Double-click on the Navigation Cell element in the diagram - the linked diagram opens in a separate tab in the Diagram View
  • Click on the icon in the top right corner of the cell - the linked diagram is shown in a floating Diagram Pop-up window; click off the diagram to close the window

If the Navigation Cell element is selectable (right-click on the element and select the 'Behavior | Selectable' option) you can also:

  • Press the = key to display the linked diagram on a separate tab in the Diagram View
  • Click on the icon off the right side of the element - the linked diagram is shown in the floating Diagram Pop-up window; click off the diagram to close the window or double-click to open the previewed diagram for editing in the main work area.

If the 'Enable Concise Diagram Navigation' checkbox is selected on the 'Application Look' (Visual Style) dialog, and you double click on the Navigation Cell or press the = key, the linked diagram replaces the parent diagram in the same tab. To return to the parent diagram (or, in a chain of diagrams, the next up in the chain) either:

  • Press the Backspace key  or
  • Click on the arrow at the right-hand end of the diagram tab

If you have used the = key to display the linked diagram, when the parent diagram redisplays the Navigation Cell element is also selected and given focus.

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