Styling Diagram Elements (Day 7)

Software Ideas Modeler offers plenty of styling options and settings. You may choose your colors and fonts, adjust the border width, the fill style, turn on shadows or gloss effects. An emulated handwriting style is also supported. It is possible to adjust the styles of individual elements. You may also extract these styles and reuse them.

Visual appeal and styling are important aspects of diagram presentation. With rich diagram styling options and built-in styles in Software Ideas Modeler, you can design and create visually pleasing and professionally-looking diagrams.

Styles can be embedded or shared. The embedded style is the specific style of an element that cannot be changed outside the element. The shared style is edited in the style set editor and the changes take effect on every element where the style is used.

If you apply a style from a style set to an element, it is used in shared mode. However, once you edit a parameter of the style directly on the element, it is embedded in the element and the changes of the original style in the style set editor do not affect this element anymore.

There are multiple approaches on how to work with styling:

  • Styling rules – define a style set with defined rules for individual element types. It represents shared styling.
  • Style classes – define styles and used them for the selected elements. It represents shared styling.
  • Individual styling – adjusts the style of individual elements. The style is embedded in the element and it is not reused anywhere else.
Built-in style sets for easy diagram styling
Built-in style sets for easy diagram styling

Individual Styling

An element may be styled individually without affecting the style of other elements. It is possible to change its colors, fonts, and other style parameters.

Some style parameters may be changed using the context bar (located near the selected element, usually below it). It allows you to set background colors, border color, and border width.

Other style parameters may be adjusted using the ribbon. If an element is selected, a context tab group Element is displayed. The Format tab from this context group offers buttons for the individual style handling. The group Style provides buttons for setting border color, background colors and border width. The group Font offers buttons for adjusting font family, size, style, text color and alignment.

The most complete option to handle the element style is the Style sidebar. It allows you to change every aspect of the element style. The full list of styling options and parameters is available in the Styling Options article.

Diagram element styling
Diagram element styling

Apply Shared Style to Multiple Elements

If you want to apply a complete style to selected elements or fields, you may choose the desired style from the Styles gallery in the Home tab or the Format tab. After clicking the style item in the gallery, the style will take effect.

Alternatively, you may show Styles sidebar and choose the style from its list. If you want to use the style from this list you have to double click the style item. Styles Sidebar offers also other actions for work with the current style set and its styles.

If you want to reset the style of elements or fields to their defaults you may use the buttons:

  • Remove All Element Styles (Home tab/Styles group)
  • Remove All Field Styles (Home tab/Styles group)

Style Anatomy

A style is represented by a unique name or a selector that defines when the style should be used. The rule defines the target element type, stereotype or element category.

A style consists of a base style (core style) and other named complementary styles:

  • Alternate – is used as a complementary style for some parts of an element – e.g. title of UI Window element.
  • ColorCode1 … ColorCode7 – is used to distinguish between different parts within an element – e.g. values in charts

Each style includes a set of styling properties that defines the look and feel of the elements. These properties are available:

  • Background
    • Type
    • Colors
  • Border
    • Color
    • Line width
    • Line style
  • Texts – all texts of an element may have the same text style or you may define the text styles separately for Name / Stereotype / Tagged Value / Other Texts. Text styles have these parameters:
    • Use default style
    • Font
    • Family
    • Size
    • Style – Bold, Italic, Underline, Strikethrough
    • Text color
    • Alignment
      • Vertical
      • Horizontal
    • Text shadow
  • Layout
    • Padding
    • Margin
    • Text wrapping
    • Threshold
    • Cap size
  • Label Connector
    • Show label connectors
    • Color
    • Line width
    • Line style
  • Shadow
    • Show shadow
    • Shadow type
    • Color
    • Offset X
    • Offset Y
    • Enlarge width by
    • Enlarge height by
    • Blur radius
  • Glow
    • Show glow
    • Color
    • Color
    • Offset X
    • Offset Y
    • Enlarge width by
    • Enlarge height by
    • Blur radius
  • Effects
    • Gloss – None/ Flat / Inclined / Diagonal / Left Rounded / Rounded
    • Shading effect
    • Sketching
    • Accuracy

Style Sets

The style set is a grouping of related styles, styling rules, and a color palette. Each style set includes a default style definition which is used for the elements which do not have defined any other style. After changing the project style set, all elements without an individual style will be restyled by the new style set. Software Ideas Modeler comes with several predefined style sets and you may download others from the web site. It is also possible to create your own style set.

The gallery with all installed style sets is accessible from the Design tab / Style Sets group. You may change the current project style set clicking on the style set item in the gallery.

In the Style Sets group, there is also the Style Sets button. It opens the Style Set Manager window. If you click on the little arrow below the button, a drop-down menu will show. It offers the basic actions for the work with style sets:

  • Edit Current Style Set – opens Style Set editor where you can edit the styles, add new styles or delete the styles.
  • Set Default Style Set – sets the built-in default style set for the project.
  • Load Style Set – load a style set from the Style Set file.
  • Save Style Set – saves the current style set to a Style Set file.
  • Remove All Custom Styles – removes the individual styles from all project elements.

Style Set Manager

Style Set Manager provides the list of installed style sets and the operation for work with them. It allows you to add new style sets, edit or delete the existing ones, set a style set to the open project and import a style set from a file or export a style set to a file.

Style Set Manager offers a toolbar in the top part of the window. The toolbar contains these buttons:

  • Add – opens the Style Set editor with an empty style set. The style set will be added and saved after clicking the OK button in the Style Set editor.
  • Duplicate – opens the Style Set editor with a new style set which was created as a copy of the selected style set in the list of style sets. The style set will be added and saved after clicking the OK button in the Style Set editor.
  • Edit – opens the selected style set in the Style Set editor where you may change its styles and parameters.
  • Delete – deletes the selected style set. A confirmation message box will show before deleting.
  • Set to Active Project – sets the selected style set to the open project.
  • More – opens a drop-down with additional buttons:
    • Export – shows Save file dialog where you choose a file name for the exported style set. After confirming the dialog, the selected style set will be saved to the chosen file.
    • Import – shows Open file dialog where you choose a file with a style set which will be imported to the application profile and offered in the list of available style sets.

Style Set Editor

Style Set Editor allows you to create a new style set or edit an existing one, its styles, styling rules, and color palette. You may find out more about using the Style Set Editor in the separate tutorial.

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