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Diagram Toolbox

The Diagram Toolbox is a panel of icons that you can use to create elements and connectors on a diagram. You can also use the Toolbox to add elements to:

  • A Package through the Specification Manager and
  • A Package or an element in the Browser window

Within the Toolbox, related elements and connectors are organized into pages, each page containing the elements or connectors used for a particular type of diagram. The diagrams include standard UML diagrams, Enterprise Architect Extended diagrams, and diagrams customized for any MDG Technologies and Profiles that you have added to the system.

When you open a diagram, the Toolbox automatically provides the element and relationship pages corresponding to the diagram type. This does not prevent you using elements and connectors from other pages in a given diagram, although some combinations might not represent valid UML.

The Toolbox provides a number of mechanisms for locating the page or object you want to use.



Design > Diagram > Toolbox

Keyboard Shortcuts



You can display or hide the Diagram Toolbox by clicking on the Chevron Right or Chevron Left icons at the left-hand end of the Caption Bar at the top of the Diagram View.


For any given diagram a number of Toolbox pages might display, but these generally include:

  • <type> Elements
  • <type> Relationships
  • <type> Patterns
  • Common Elements
  • Common Relationships and
  • Several groups of Artifacts

This is illustrated in the example:

Locating Diagram Toolbox Pages or Icons

These options help you to locate and display particular pages or icons in the Diagram Toolbox



See also

Search for a Toolbox page or icon

The easiest way to locate a Toolbox page or specific icon that you require is to use the 'Find Toolbox Item' dialog, which you display by clicking on the Search button at the top of the Toolbox. The 'Find Toolbox Item' dialog displays every Toolbox page, listed by Technology name and page name, in alphabetical order.

Showing a dialog for searching for toolbox items in Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect.

The columns that display on this dialog can be added to using the 'Field Chooser' dialog (right-click on the column headings and select the 'Field Chooser' option), and dragged into a different sequence. You can also select options to use the 'Group Box' to reorganize the display of information in the dialog, and to expand or hide the contents of every Diagram Toolbox page. You can expand the Toolbox pages individually by clicking on the white arrowhead to the left of the page name.

To locate a Toolbox page or icon, you can type some or all of the characters in the name or property of the object you are searching for in either:

  • The 'Search Term' field or
  • The appropriate Filter bar field underneath each column header (right-click on the column headers and select the 'Toggle Filter Bar' option) or
  • 'Search Term' and Filter bar fields in combination to further refine the search

As you type, the list immediately reduces to show only the objects that have those characters in their name or property text.  Be aware that if you have the list collapsed, showing only the Toolbox page name, the list might show page names that do not include the characters. Those pages do contain objects that have those characters. The search automatically selects the first object in the list; to move to the next object, press the Down Arrow key.

To confirm what the object is that you have positioned the cursor on (especially if you do not want to use all the columns available in the 'Field Chooser' dialog) the stereotype and page name for the object display in the bottom left corner of the dialog.

Having located the Toolbox page or object you require in the dialog, you click on the Add to Diagram button or drag the objects onto an open diagram to generate elements or connectors. You can also drag element icons into the Specification Manager to generate elements there.

If you want to refresh the Diagram Toolbox to display the Toolbox page you have selected, so that you can use all the icons in it during this session, either:

  • Click on the Activate Toolbox button, or
  • Double-click on a page name or an object in the 'Find Toolbox Item' dialog, or
  • Right-click on an object in the list and select the 'Show Toolbox' option

The context menu also provides options to

  • Pin the Toolbox page to the Diagram Toolbox so that it is always included there until it is specifically unpinned
  • Move the cursor to the first Filter Bar field ('Name') to edit it
  • Hide the Filter Bar
  • Expand or collapse all the Toolbox pages displayed in the dialog
List Header

Search for an icon on the current Toolbox page

To locate an element or link on the currently-displayed Toolbox pages, simply overtype the Search field at the top of the Toolbox with some or all of the characters of the object name. The field filters the pages to show only those objects that have those characters in their names.

To clear the field, click on the icon or press the Delete key or Backspace key.

This facility is very useful if you have long pages of elements or several pages pinned in the Toolbox (see the Customize the Toolbox section).

Filter Pages by Perspective

Click on the Hamburger icon icon at the right of the Toolbox toolbar. This displays a list of Toolbox pages, filtered for the currently-selected Perspective. To set or change the Perspective, select the 'Change Perspective' option at the top of the menu. This displays the list of Perspective Groups; click on these to show a submenu of Perspectives, and select the required Perspective.

In some cases the list of Toolbox pages might be of page groups that you select to list the pages themselves. Scroll through the lists to find the name of the pages you want. If the list is very long, you can scroll using the mouse wheel or up arrow and down arrow keyboard keys, or by clicking on the small black arrows at the top and bottom of the list window. Click on the required name to display the pages in the Toolbox.

If you select the <default> option, at the top of the list, you display only the 'Common' and 'Artifact' pages.

You can pin various pages in the Toolbox to customize it, showing the elements and relationships you most commonly use for the types of diagram you model with, and you can add MDG Technologies and UML Profiles to the Toolbox under their own Perspectives.

Common Page Artifact Toolbox Appearance Options Manage MDG Technologies Using UML Profiles

Create elements and connectors on the diagram from the Toolbox



See also


In the Browser window, double-click on the icon against the required diagram.

The diagram opens with the appropriate Toolbox pages for that diagram type.

If you want a different set of elements and connectors, select the appropriate Toolbox pages as explained previously.


Click on the icon for the required item; for example, the Class element or Associate relationship.


For element items, click anywhere on the diagram to place the new element at the cursor position.


For connector items, drag the cursor between the source and target elements on the diagram; as you pass the cursor over the elements, a hatched border displays inside each element's solid border, indicating the source and potential target elements.

To add bends to the connector, press Shift as you change the drag direction of the cursor.

Alternatively, drag from the source element to an empty area of the diagram; the Quick Linker suggests common target element types and connector types to create.

Create New Elements


Edit the element properties or connector properties, as required.

Properties Dialog Connector Properties

Create elements in the Browser Window

Click on the element icon in the Diagram Toolbox, then click on the parent Package or element in the Browser window to select it, and click again to drop the element under the parent.

You cannot add objects that do not display in the Browser window, such as Note elements, Text elements, connectors or Boundaries.

If an element is of a type that cannot be added as a child of the object in the Browser window, an error message displays.


  • Dropping a Package icon from the Toolbox into a diagram creates a new Package in the Browser window, and a default diagram of the same type as the current diagram
  • If you are creating several elements of one type, after creating the first just press Shift+F3 or Ctrl+click to create the next element of that type; for connectors, click on the source element and press F3 to create another connector of the same type
  • You can change an unstereotyped element to one of its stereotyped elements by dragging the stereotyped element icon from the Toolbox onto the unstereotyped element in the diagram; for example, you can stereotype a Class by dragging a Table icon or a Profiled Class icon onto it
  • As you drag the stereotyped element icon, you can press Ctrl to apply the element stereotype to the unstereotyped element, or Shift to add the stereotyped element as a new element; otherwise a small context menu displays offering these actions as options
  • If the diagram element already has the stereotype, you can also drag the Toolbox icon onto it to synchronize the element's stereotype Tagged Values
  • The Toolbox can be docked on either side of the diagram, or free floated on top of the diagram to expose more surface for editing; you can also hide and redisplay the Toolbox by clicking on the horizontal 'chevron' icon at the left of the diagram header bar
  • Enterprise Architect provides Toolbox pages for a wide range of MDG Technologies, such as ArchiMate, BPEL, BPMN, Data Flow diagrams, ICONIX and Mind Mapping, as part of the initial install

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