Shared model packages stored in Horizzon can be extended with structural data that is externally stored and managed on a server. This data can be created and then disclosed to the model packages in Enterprise Studio. The data can be created in different ways:

Once the data has been created, it will automatically be available in Enterprise Studio when the model package is opened.

External structural data can only be stored as ArchiMate® objects and used in the context of ArchiMate modeling.

Required roles

Designer or Lead Designer

On this page:

Organization and structure of external data

Data with an external are structured similarly to data originating from Enterprise Studio, but the used terminology may differ:

Enterprise StudioExternal data


Layer (scheme)/element container

Layer (ServiceNow app)

Container (Open API)





When opening a model package for which external data is available, there is a separate "Collections" folder  in addition to the regular models. This folder contains all collections (models) available in the model package. A collection has containers with entities (objects) and (possibly) links (relations). Their icons look identical to the icons of layers, element containers, objects and relations in models.

Example of a model package with two collections with external data

If you select one of the components of a collection, you will see the similarities. If you, for example, select a collection in the model browser, the status bar at the bottom of the application window shows ArchiMate model, as shown below. If you select an entity, the status bar shows the ArchiMate name of the object. 

Models and objects created in Horizzon

In addition to external data from a server, the "Collections" folder is also host for models and objects created in Horizzon. Horizzon users can contribute to model content by creating objects in Horizzon. These objects are located in models created in Horizzon.

Working with external data in Enterprise Studio

The external data in Enterprise Studio is read-only as can be seen by the gray bars. The collections have a fixed structure, meaning that you cannot remove, rename or relocate anything in it. For example, entities from one collection cannot be moved to another collection. Properties of entities and links are read-only and cannot be edited, nor is it possible to add properties via customizations. But you can add data blocks to the entities to assign them properties.

When working on your models, you can use the entities and links from the collections as if they were regular objects and relations. You can add them to views just like regular objects. Just drag them from the model browser onto your view. Entities and links in views look identical to regular objects and relations. You can even draw relations between entities or between an object and an entity. Take note that the respective relation will be added to your Enterprise Studio model, not to the collection, as the relation is created in Enterprise Studio. It is also possible to make visual changes, like changing the color of an entity when used in a view.

Basically, collections with entities and links can be used in all regular Enterprise Studio functions like generating reports, viewpoints (color view, label view, etc.), the Navigator, and in search. They can also be used for data exchange in the connections that are available in Enterprise Studio, like the Excel® or Dashboard connection.

Finding the source of an element

To find out if an element originates from Enterprise Studio or belongs to external data, there are different options to find out: locate the element or find the data source. For more information, please refer to Finding the source of objects and relations in your model package.

Availability of external data in Enterprise Studio

Entities and links from collections are not stored within the model package, they are stored on the server. When committing changes to a model package with external data, the actual data of external collections is not stored with the model package.

When a model package is opened, the external data will automatically be available in the model package. If changes are made to the external data, like adding or removing collections, you will need to close and reopen the model package to retrieve the latest data.

The external data is available in the model package as long as it exists on the server. Once it has been removed from there, it will no longer be available in the model package, for any user working on that model package. External data that has been removed (a complete collection, or one or more entities or links) is no longer available in the model browser when the model package is opened. If you still have views that contain removed external data, this data will still be shown in the views when opening them to keep them presentable. You may however want to update them to stay in sync with the external data.

If a model package with collections is stored anywhere else than Horizzon, any references and relations dependent on external objects will be removed from the package. When saving the model package locally or in your personal storage, you are always offered the option to proceed (Save), to cancel the operation (Don't save), or to first view a list of references that will be removed if you would save the model package (Show references). The save operation is also canceled and a list of references is presented.

Availability of external data in Horizzon

When the external data is created, it is directly added to the model package in Horizzon, in the "Collections" folder. Any additional work done on this data in Enterprise Studio, like adding the objects to views, including them in charts, will be available in Horizzon after these changes have been committed. In site views, entities and links are available like any other regular object or relation, including property information. When browsing a site or setting a scope for a site, collections are shown in a dedicated "Collections" folder, with their content.

Browsing site of model package with external data

External data is not visible in sites of projects based on the model package with external data. External data is not included in the context of a project in Horizzon. Collections with entities and links will not be shown when browsing the project site. External objects and relations are visible in views, but when clicked on, an out-of-scope message will be shown instead of the element's Properties panel. The same applies to external elements that are included in charts in project site views. They remain visible but are considered out of scope when they are clicked on.

Since the Horizzon 12 May 2023 release, creating sites for projects is deprecated. If no sites for any projects have been created before, creating them is no longer possible. If sites for projects have been created before, it remains possible to create them for these projects. For the projects that do not have sites yet, creating sites will be possible if enabled on the project manage page.

Browsing site of project based on model package with external data

ArchiMate is a registered trademark of The Open Group.

Excel is a registered trademark of the Microsoft group of companies.

ServiceNow is a registered trademark of ServiceNow, Inc.