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How to Develop UML Sequence Diagram with Keyboard?

UML sequence diagram is design for visualizing interaction or message passing between users, system, sub-systems or objects. Drawing and maintaining large sequence diagram require a lot of afford. This tutorial is going to teach you how to draw and edit sequence diagram solely by keyboard.

Compatible edition(s): Enterprise, Professional, Standard, Modeler

  • October 28, 2009
  • Views: 88,684
  • PDF

Drawing a sequence diagram with keyboard

  1. Create an empty sequence diagram by selecting Diagram > New from the application toolbar. In the New Diagram window, select Sequence Diagram and click Next.
    New sequence diagram diagram
  2. Leave the diagram name unchanged and then click OK to create the diagram.
  3. Right-click on the background of the diagram and select Show Text Editor from the popup menu.
  4. Let's create an actor. Click the Create Actor button or pressing Alt+Shift+A shortcut.
    create actor
  5. Now a new entry for the actor has been inserted. Let's name the actor as Inspector.
    create actor 2
  6. Now let's try to create a lifeline by pressing the Create Lifeline button, or pressing Alt+Shift+L shortcut. Name the lifeline as InspectionList.
    new lifeline
  7. The lifeline InspectionList should be a boundary object. Let's press the right arrow key to shift the focus from the name of the lifeline to the Plus sign next to Stereotypes box. Press Spacebar and now the Stereotypes dialog will be shown. Press the down arrow button to select boundary stereotype, then press the Enter key to commit. Now the InspectionList lifeline has been specified as boundary type.
    select stereotype
  8. Besides create a standard lifeline, you can also create boundary, control and entity lifelines with the shortcut keys.
    Lifeline Toolbar button Shortcut
    Standard Lifeline new lifeline Alt+Shift+L
    Boundary Lifeline new boundary icon Alt+Shift+B
    Control Lifeline new control icon Alt+Shift+C
    Entity Lifeline new entity icon Alt+Shift+E
  9. Some properties of the lifeline such as Active, Stopped and Multi-object can be specified when you focus on the checkbox and press the spacebar key.
    lifeline properties
  10. Repeat the steps to create lifelines InspectionForm, SafetyInspectionController, SafetyInspection also another actor Inspector Assistant.
    create lifelines
  11. Let's specfiy the base classifier of the SafetyInspection lifeline. Focus on the Base Classifier cell of in the SafetyInspection row, and then use the down arrow key to select the base class SafetyInspection.
    select classifier
  12. Once we finish create the lifelines, we can then start creating the messages. Switch to the Messages tab.
    massage tab
  13. Click the Create Message button, or press Alt+Shift+M to create a message.
    new message
  14. Name the message as select inspection.
    name message
  15. We can change the message to call type by select Call message in the Action Type combo box.
    message type
  16. And specify the message is Asynchronous or not from the checkbox.
  17. Similar to the lifelines, you can create various kinds of messages via the toolbar buttons and shortcut keys.
    Message Toolbar button Shortcut
    Standard Message new message icon Alt+Shift+M
    Duration Message new duration msg icon Alt+Shift+D
    Creation Message new call msg icon Alt+Shift+C
    Self Message new self msg icon Alt+Shift+S
    Recursive Message new recursive msg icon Alt+Shift+R
    Found Message new found msg icon Alt+Shift+F
    Lost Message new lost msg icon Alt+Shift+L
    Reentrant Message new reentrant msg icon Alt+Shift+E
  18. Let's create a creation message between InspectionList and InspectionForm. Press Alt+Shift+C to create the creation message. Name the message as popup.
    create creation msg
  19. Since a standard message has been created between Inspector and InspectionList, the creation message will be created with the next available lifeline, which is InspectionForm.
  20. To change the origin of the creation message to InspectionList, keep the focus From combo box on the creation message row in the table, and press the up/down arrow to select InspectionList lifeline.
    select from
  21. The specification dialog of the lifeline or message can be opened by pressing Alt+Shift+O, or pressing the Open Specification button.
    open spec
  22. You can search for the lifelines or messages through the search box.

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