Less is more

Knut Jetlund edited this page Jul 10, 2015 · 11 revisions

Back to diagram design


This page is inspired by rule one in Geert Bellkeens' blog post 5 rules for better UML diagrams

  • Instead of creating large and overwelming diagrams for a complex model, split into several smaller diagrams.
  • Each UML diagram should focus on a few elements, and have a defined perspective.
  • Hide attributes, associations and constraints that are not relevant for the perspective of the diagram

In the diagram bellow, from ISO19157, the purpose is to illustrate the data quality unit, which consists of DQ_DataQualiy and one or more DQ_Element. The attributes of DQ_Element are not relevant for this perspective, and have been hidden. Also, other related elements of DQ_Element are not relevant, and are not included in the diagram.

Data quality unit

You may have some overview diagrams with many elements. These diagrams should only show the elements and associations, not attributes. You may also want to hide role names for associations.

Hide or view attributes:

  • To hide or view attributes, operations, constraints or notes for one element: Select Element - Feature and Compartment Visibility (Or press Ctrl-Shift-Y).
  • To hide or view attributes, operations, constraints or notes for all elements in a diagram: Select Diagram (or press F5) - Properties - Element.

Hide or view role names:

  • To hide a role name (label): Right click on the label and select Hide label
  • To hide all labels for an association: Right click on the association and select Visibility - Hide all labels
  • To hide or view several lables: Right click on the association and select Visibility - Set label visibility

Hide or view associations:

  • To hide an association: Right click on the association and select Visibility - Hide connector
  • To hide or view several associations: Select Diagram - Visible relations (or click Ctrl+Shift+I)
  • To hide or view all associations in a diagram: Select Diagram (or press F5) - Properties - Connectors, and check or uncheck Show relationships.
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