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If you want to display an object in your diagram or view in a different way than its regular shape, you can change its graphic shape. You can change the shape of a single object but also multiple objects at the same time.

A long list of symbols is available for changing the graphic shape of an object. The list includes general shapes, shapes from the different metamodels (names start with the metamodel name), and controls used in Enterprise Studio, but also a selection of  the most used AWS architecture icons (names start with "AWS_").

Changing the graphic shape of an object is useful for incidental occurrences during modeling, for example, for one ore more objects on a specific view. If you need a specific object  type to be presented with a different shape at all times when modeling, you can better define the custom shape of the object in a custom viewpoint definition.

change graphic shape of objects

Objects displayed with their regular graphic shapes (left) and with custom shapes (right)


  1. In the diagram or view, select the object(s) of which you want to change the graphic shape.

  2. Right-click (one of) the selected object(s) and click Change Graphic Shape.

  3. In the Change Graphic Shape window, select the Shape option, and then select the new shape or icon for the object(s). The list shows all available symbols containing shapes and icons.

    Not all symbols are suitable to be used as object shape because they may not scale well nor adopt the colors and other graphic settings for the object. You can check an overview of basic symbols that are most suitable as object shape.

    Instead of clicking symbols in the list to change the selection, you can also use the up and down arrow keys on your keyboard to go to the previous or next symbol in the list, to quickly scroll through all available options.

  4. Click OK to save the changes.

After changing the graphic shape, the object may not immediately look as you want it to look. You may need to make some additional changes to the object like resize it or relocate the label.

If you have changed the graphic shape of an ArchiMate object, the presence of the object icon on the object, may not make much sense anymore. You can switch off the object icon using the Hide icon function in the Home ribbon tab.

Additional changes to the appearance of an object

Resetting graphical attributes

You can reset all assigned graphical attributes of an object to their default value. To do this, select the relevant objects in the diagram or view and click Reset in the Markup group on the Home ribbon tab.

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