Setting BPMN attributes

The Attributes panel allows you to access and set attribute values for diagrams. This chapter focuses on BPMN attributes.

Using the Attributes Panel for changing attribute values

Modeling elements often come with a range of attributes you can edit. Some of them may influence the visual appearance (e.g. loop type for BPMN tasks), others don’t.

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Open the properties panel

To set the loop type of a task, proceed as follows:

  • Open the properties panel on the right side of the Editor by clicking on the arrow button.
  • Select the loop type attribute and select the loop type, e.g. Standard for a looped task or MI Parallel for a multiple instances task.
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Set the task’s loop type

  • Unselect the attribute and the change will take effect. You will see the loop or multi-instance icon in the task shape.

Hint

The upper section of the attribute Editor contains custom attributes which can be individually defined by your workspace administrators. Custom attributes can be defined, edited and removed via the Define notations/attributes dialog. For BPMN processes, some custom attributes are pre-defined but can simply be removed.

The attributes are divided into categories. Their content can be hidden by clicking the - symbol next to them.

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A category can also be collapsed or expanded by clicking on its name

It is possible to give the attributes an alphabetical order to find them more efficiently. Clicking the head of the Name column sorts the attributes depending on their descriptor and category.

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Sort the attributes by clicking the header of the ‘Name’ column

Attributes with visual effects

BPMN comes with a whole range of attributes that you can explore using the properties panel. Some of them actually have a visual effect. The following list provides an overview about the most important ones.

  • Name (all elements): Serves as main label of the element. You can also change it by double-clicking the element.
  • Loop type (task, subprocess): The default value None. Standard indicates that the activity is looped, visualized by a small loop icon. MI Parallel and MI Sequential indicate that the activity will be executed multiple times in parallel, respectively sequential, visualized by a small multi instance icon.
  • Task type (task) Defines explicitly, what kind of activity will be executed. This can be manually but also sending or receiving. The type will be shown in the left upper corner of the task.
  • Is for compensation (task, subprocess): If set to true, the activity can serve as compensation activity for another activity, visualized by a small compensation marker.
  • Is a transaction (subprocess): If set to true, the activity has transactional properties, visualized by a double frame.
  • Is ad hoc (subprocess): If set to true, there are special execution semantics for the tasks contained in the subprocess. Visualization is provided by an ad hoc marker.
  • Is a call activity (task, subprocess, event-subprocess): A call activity has a thick border and keeps a link to a globally defined (sub-)process. The control flow is assigned to the called process, but non-standard start events are ignored.
  • Subprocess reference (subprocess, event-subprocess): This reference can contain a URL pointing to the definition of the subprocess. Typically, the URL points to another BPMN diagram in the repository.
  • Is multi instance participant (pool): Multiple similar organizations or process participants can be contacted during a process. E.g., project proposals might be requested by a multiple companies.
  • Condition type (sequence flow): E.g. after a gateway, one sequence flow may be a default flow that is followed whenever no other condition is true. This is marked by a slash.
  • State (data object): States can further refine the life cycle of data objects. E.g. you could distinguish ‘new’, ‘completed’ and ‘rejected’. You are free to choose any state labels.
  • Input/Output (data object): Data objects can be read during a process, but they can also be written. An input or output arrow in the left upper corner will mark a data object as in- or output.

Subprocesses, event-subprocesses and pools can be collapsed and expanded. Also, it is possible to customize elements by editing the attributes border color and background color in the attribute Editor.

Documentation of an element

It is possible to leave documentation for each element of a diagram to store more detailed information about it. For example, if an infrequent task is not self-explanatory and requires instructions, additional information can be saved as documentation.

Hint

An element’s documentation can also be read and printed from Collaboration Hub. Read more about this feature at Accessing detailed information and comments.

Select documentation attribute and click the three dots beneath the documentation.

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Fill in information for the ‘documentation’ attribute.

The documentation text editor will open:

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The text editor

Edit the text using the toolbar buttons. Use the shortcuts to model even faster:

  • Save changes: Ctrl + S
  • Copy diagram elements: Ctrl + C
  • Paste diagram elements: Ctrl + V
  • Remove diagram elements: Del
  • Resize element symmetrically in all directions: Drag edge, Ctrl
  • Resize element without snapping to grid: Drag edge, Ctrl + Alt
  • Resize element with keeping aspect ratio: Drag edge, Shift
  • Move element without snapping to grid: Drag element, Ctrl or Alt
  • Select all elements of a specific type: Select element(s), Ctrl + I
  • Zoom in/out in diagram: Ctrl + -, Ctrl + +, middle mouse wheel
  • Stretch diagram: Ctrl + M, move pressed mouse
  • Undo: Ctrl + Z
  • Redo: Ctrl + Y
  • Select multiple elements: Ctrl + left click, Shift + left click
  • Expand the Explorer’s activity feed: Space bar
  • Open a diagram: Double click a diagram