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The objects and relations that are used for creating your models can be created and drawn in different ways. The various ways are discussed below. Which of them are available in a model depends on the modeling language you are modeling with.

Objects

When you wish to model in a diagram or view, you start with placing objects. Objects can be created in the following ways:

  • using the Create pane
  • using the quick-create pop-up window
  • using the model browser
  • using the quick-create object controls
  • using the context menu

Relations

You can draw various kinds of relations between objects in a view or diagram, provided that the specific type of relationship is defined in the underlying metamodel and that the specific type of relationship can appear in the view or diagram. By drawing (causality) relations you can indicate the coherence between the different elements.

When drawing relations between objects, you can not only create relations between objects on the same level but also between nested objects. These are objects at different hierarchical levels.

Relations between objects can be drawn in different ways:

  • using the Create pane
  • using the quick-create pop-up window
  • using the quick-create object controls
  • using the smart connector

By using the Esc key you can cancel an operation. With Ctrl+Z you can undo an operation.


On this page:


Using the Create pane

The Create pane contains all concepts that are available for the active diagram or view and a number of generic graphic shapes that can be used in all types of diagrams and views.


Create pane for the ArchiMate® total view

Creating objects

To add objects, first click the concept of your choice in the Create pane and then click in the open diagram or view. In the case of a diagram, the object is immediately placed on the diagram. In the case of a view, the actual object is created in the relevant layer of the model in the model browser, and a reference to the object is placed on the open view.


Create an object using the Create pane

Drawing relations

Relations can only be drawn if the diagram or view already has one or more objects. To draw a relation from the Create pane, do one of the following:

  1. Click the desired relation concept in the pane.

  2. In the open diagram or view (drawing area), select the object from which you want to draw the relation, and draw the relation to the object you want to connect to.

  3. Click the target object. The relation is now drawn.

Using the quick-create pop-up window

In the drawing area of an open diagram or view, the quick-create pop-up window can be used for creating objects and relations. The pop-up window only contains the elements that can be added. Which elements they are, depends on the selected diagram, view or object in the drawing area.


Quick-create pop-up window in the ArchiMate Total view


The quick-create pop-up window can be accessed by clicking in the drawing area and briefly holding down the mouse button. When releasing it again, the pop-up window appears.

Another way to access the pop-up window is by clicking one of the quick-create object controls for adding an object (if available).


                    

Quick-create pop-up window available after clicking

Creating objects

  1. Click somewhere in the diagram or view and briefly hold down the mouse button until you see a gray dot appear: .

  2. Release the mouse button. The quick-create pop-up window appears.

  3. Move the mouse pointer over the concept categories on the left of the window until you are above the right category, slide to the desired concept, and click it. The object is now placed on the diagram or view.

Drawing relations

Relations can be drawn from an existing object in a diagram or view to another existing object, or to a new object that is created at the same time. When drawing relations using the quick-create pop-up window, the smart connector is also used.

From one existing object to another

  1. Select an object in the open diagram or view, and subsequently click the smart connector attached to the object.

  2. Drag the line (relation) that is shown to the object you want to create a relation with.

  3. Select the object, and in the quick-create pop-up window that appears click the relation you want to add.



    The relation is now placed on the diagram or view.

From an existing object to a new object

  1. Select an object in the open diagram or view, and subsequently click the smart connector attached to the object.

  2. Drag the line (relation) that is shown to the place in the diagram or view where you want to add the next object, click and shortly hold down the mouse button until you see the gray dot appear: .

  3. Release the mouse button, in the quick-create pop-up window click the object you want to add, and then click the relation you want to add. The new object and relation are now placed on the diagram or view.

Using the model browser

The model browser can be used to create and draw objects, not relations. It can be used in the following situations:

  • To create new objects for a view.
  • To create new "independent" objects. These are objects that are used in diagrams, but are located in their own container in the model browser; the objects are not subject to a specific diagram but can be used in multiple diagrams (just like objects in views). Examples of such objects are items in Amber and BPMN models, and global tasks in BPMN models.
  • To draw existing objects in a diagram or view.

Creating new (independent) objects

To create an object, right-click a container element in the model browser, point to New and click the object type you want to add. The object is now placed in the model browser, right below the element in which you created the object. Point to New Multiple in the context menu and click an object if you want to add multiple copies of the object at once.

A newly created object in the model browser does not yet have a graphical occurrence because it is not yet drawn in a diagram or view.

Drawing existing objects in a diagram or view

Objects that already have been created in the model browser or in a view may be placed on a(nother) diagram or view by dragging them from the model browser and dropping them onto the diagram or view. Doing so creates a reference to the object. A single object may thus be dragged onto different diagrams or views, all creating different references to the same (underlying) object. In Amber models, this only applies to items, data types and UML classes.

Drawing objects without their relation

Relations from or to collapsed objects and relations that span one or more levels can be unwanted sometimes when they are copied with the objects they are linked to. When objects are dragged onto a view, the linked relations may cause a lot of clutter.

It is possible to drag objects from the model browser or navigator onto a view without the relations that are linked to them. To do this, select the object, press the Alt key and hold it down while you drag the object and drop it onto the view.

In the following example the business actor "HRM" has an association relation with the business actor "Board". The "Board" object is already in the view. In the left figure, the relation is automatically drawn when the "HRM" object is dragged onto the view. In the right figure, the Alt key is pressed while the object is being dragged onto the view. The relation is not copied with the object.


         

Drawing object with (left) and without (right) its relation

Using the quick-create object controls

Quick-create controls are available with objects drawn in a diagram or view. They are the small triangles on all sides of an object, visible when the object is selected.


Quick-create object controls


The quick-create controls can be used for creating new objects from existing objects and directly drawing the relation between them, or for drawing relations between two existing objects. Creating objects and relations using the quick-create controls is always done in combination with the quick-create pop-up window.

Quick-create controls are not available on some objects in specific metamodels, and on graphic shapes.

Creating objects

  1. In the open diagram or view, select an object, and click the quick-create control on one of the object's sides.

  2. In the quick-create pop-up window, select the object you want to create and after that select the desired relation. The new object and relation are now added.

Drawing relations

  1. Select an object in the open diagram or view, and subsequently click the quick-create control on one of the object's sides.

  2. Drag the line (relation) that is shown to the object you want to create a relation with.

  3. Select the target object, and in the quick-create pop-up window that appears click the relation you want to add. The relation is now placed on the diagram or view.

Using the smart connector

When drawing a relation, you can select the right type of relation yourself, but you can also use the smart connector . With the smart connector, you first draw a line between two objects and then choose the desired relation in the quick-create pop-up window. It only shows the types of relations that can be created between the two objects.

The smart connector is available in the Create pane and in the drawing area of a diagram or view.


Smart connector

Drawing relations

Using smart connector in the Create pane

  1. Click the smart connector in the Create pane.

  2. In the open diagram or view, select the object from which you want to draw the relation.

  3. Drag the line (relation) that is shown to the object you want to create a relation with.

  4. Click the object, and in the quick-create pop-up window that appears click the relation you want to add. The relation is now placed on the diagram or view.

Using smart connector attached to object

Drawing relations using the smart connector that is attached to an object works the same as described at drawing relations using the quick-create pop-up window.

Using the context menu

The context menu can only be used for creating objects. The context menu is available when creating objects via the model browser, and creating objects in the modeling area of an open diagram or view.

Creating objects via the model browser

The availability of the context menu within a model in the model browser depends on the metamodel of the model (ArchiMate, BPMN, etc.). For example the menu is available on a view element in the browser, but not on a diagram element. On model package level and model level the context menu is always available.

To create an object via the model browser, right-click an element in the model browser, point to New and click the object type you want to add. The object is now placed in the model browser, right below the element in which you created the object. Point to New Multiple in the context menu and click an object if you want to add multiple copies of the object at once.

A newly created object in the model browser does not yet have a graphical occurrence because it is not yet drawn in a diagram or view.

Creating objects in an open diagram or view

To create an object in an open diagram or view, right-click somewhere on the diagram or view, point to New and click the object type you want to add. The object is now placed on the diagram or view. Point to New Multiple in the context menu and click an object if you want to add multiple copies of the object at once.

Best practice for drawing relations

If you want to draw a relation from or to an object, best click the center of the object. With a blue border around the object, the tool signals that the mouse is over the object and that the relation is valid.


Draw a relation between objects

Allowed objects and relations

If an object (type) cannot be placed on a particular diagram or view, or if you draw an object in the wrong place (for example when the object overlaps an existing object), a stop sign is shown while dragging: .

The tool may also correct drawn relations between objects. For example, if you try to draw a second relation from an OR-join to an action in an Amber mode, the tool will automatically correct this: an OR-split will be placed between the OR-join and the action.

Matching with existing objects and relations

When creating a new object or relation on a diagram or view, Enterprise Studio checks if the object/relation matches existing objects/relations located elsewhere in the model package. If it does, a message will appear asking you if you want to refer to the existing object/relation. If you choos to do so, the newly created object/relation will be a reference to the existing object/relation. If you do not want to refer, a fysical new object/relation is created, which will also be added to the model browser.



Message for matching object or relation


If you choose to refer to an existing object or relation and there is more than one of it in the model package, an additional window appears in which you can select object or relation you want to refer to.



Matching with objects/relations only takes place when objects/relations are drawn on the canvas. It does not happen during copying and pasting of objects and relations or when creating multiple new objects at the same time (using New Multiple option in context menu).

Excluding models and folders from object matching

When Enterprise Studio searches for existing objects to match with, the entire model package is checked. If you do not want the entire model package to be checked, you can set a scope for matching by excluding models and/or top-level folders (folders within models cannot be excluded). When a model or folder is excluded, matching on objects contained in that folder or model is not allowed from external locations. It means that the new object that is created must be located elsewhere in the model package and not be in the same model or folder that is excluded. When adding new objects within the excluded model or folder, naturally matching will occur.

If folders or models are nested in the model browser (i.e. located below each other), the first folder or model encountered when going up the tree is used to determine if matching is allowed.

Models and top-level folders can be excluded from matching by deactivating the allow matching property on the Properties tab of the model or folder. An example is showns in the figure below.


Matching deactivated for "Model A" in folder "As is".

A word of advice before you start excluding models and folders: Carefully think through what you want to exclude and how you are going to configure it in your model package. Careless use of the option to exclude could potentially lead to a messy situation in your model package.

Also, please take note of the following: Once the allow matching property has been changed for a model or folder, it is considered "touched", which will impact its relevancy when used in excluding. The only way to restore the property to its default value is by selecting the property and then clicking Default at the bottom of the Properties pane. See also Resetting property values.


The situation in the figure below is used as an example for some scenarios. "Model A" in folder "As is" has several application components, including "Bank System". The other models do not have any application components. A new application component "Bank System" is created in "View model C" within "Model C" in folder "To be".



If the entire model package is available for matching, the message for matching the object will appear, offering you to refer to the existing application component or not.

If matching has been deactivated for only "Model A", the objects within this model are excluded from matching. The new application component will be added to the view without asking to refer because the existing application component is in "Model A".

If matching has been deactivated for only folder "As is", this folder and all models below it are excluded from matching. In this case, the new application component will be added to the view without asking to refer because the existing application component is in "Model A", which is located in folder "As is".

If matching has been deactivated for folder "As is" and has been activated for underlying "Model A", all objects within the folder except the objects in "Model A" are excluded from matching. The message for matching the object will appear because the existing application component is located in "Model A".


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