Using the Dictionary in the Editor

Most of the Dictionary functionatlities can be used directly from the Editor. This includes creating new dictionary entries, referencing existing dictionary entries, and reading properties of already referenced entries. In this chapter you will learn how to work with the Dictionary from the Editor.


A description of access rights of the Dictionary can be found in the Managing access rights section.

Creating new dictionary entries

To add, delete, or publish a dictionary entry, you need the corresponding access rights. Workspace administrators can grant users publish, write, or delete rights for the Dictionary. Please contact an administrator and ask them for the corresponding rights if you cannot access entries in the dictionary. Workspace administrators can find instructions on how to grant rights for dictionary users in the chapter Managing access rights.

Generally, you can add new dictionary entries in the Dictionary application. As you may need to add new dictionary entries while modeling, particularly in the beginning of a project, you have the option to add new dictionary entries directly from the Editor:

  1. Type in the label of a diagram element (for example: “Check purchase order”).

  2. Click the book icon in the lower left corner of the element. The New entry dialog will open.

    Create a new dictionary entry from the Editor.
  3. A category for the dictionary entry is automatically preselected, depending on the type of modeling element. You can change the category using the dropdown menu.

    Create a dictionary entry.
  4. Type in a short description of the dictionary entry. You can format the text here, just like any other text editing software.

    The entry will be created in the language that is currently chosen for the diagram. To translate the entry later, open it in the Dictionary (see Working with the Dictionary).

  5. Optionally, you can add documents to a dictionary entry. Insert an identifier and the URL of the document in the corresponding input fields. To add multiple documents, use the +-symbol next to the URL field. If you want to link to files on network drives, follow the instructions under Referencing documents.

    Link external documents to the dictionary entry.
  6. Click Create and the new entry will be created. The diagram element will now reference the new dictionary entry.


Once the Dictionary contains entries, the auto-completion feature allows you to reuse these entries when creating new elements.

By default, only dictionary entries whose category type matches the element type pop up in the auto suggestions. This behavior can be changed by a workspace administrator (see Editor settings).

  1. Start typing in a label for the diagram element. While you type, dictionary entry suggestions will appear below the element.

    Dictionary entries are suggested by the auto-completion functionality.


    The auto-completion feature supports wildcards (*). For example, typing C*O may return the entries CIO, CFO and CEO.

  2. You can select an entry by using the arrow key on your keyboard. Press Enter to choose the selected entry. Alternately, you can select an entry with your mouse.

Once you have referenced a dictionary entry, the entry’s title will be copied into the element’s label and the attribute values of the dictionary entry are adopted.

Reusing dictionary entries via drag & drop

You can also use the search function for dictionary entries in the Editor. It can be accessed through the shape repository. In order to reuse an object from the dictionary, use the search box below the element repository.

  1. Enter the desired search term. Search results will appear as you type.

  2. If necessary, you can apply a filter to include specific dictionary categories only.

    The dictionary search box below the Editor's shape repository enables you to easily re-use dictionary objects
  3. Now, you can drag and drop the element onto the diagram canvas. The dictionary entry is already referenced and dictionary attributes are displayed directly at the element.

    Drag and drop the element onto the diagram canvas.

Publishing dictionary entries


Publishing rights for dictionary entries must be specifically granted for every user by a workspace administrator.

If a dictionary entry is set to manual publishing mode and has been altered without being republished, the Editor will display a warning message:

If changes in a dictionary entry used during modeling are not published, this warning will be displayed.

To avoid this, make sure you publish the current entry dictionary along with the diagram you’re creating.

Displaying dictionary entries

Once an element references a dictionary entry, you can navigate to the entry.

  1. Click the book icon. A popup window displays the dictionary entry.

    Navigate to a dictionary entry.
  2. Click Remove link to remove the connection to the Dictionary. This is especially useful for establishing a connection to a different dictionary entry.

    Display a dictionary entry in the Editor.
  3. Click Open in dictionary. A new browser tab will open with the full dictionary entry, including its description, attached documents and a list of all diagrams that reference this dictionary entry.

    Display a dictionary entry.

Overwriting locally dictionary entries

If you would like to individually specify a value for the current process context during modeling, you can locally overwrite attribute values that are prescribed by a referenced dictionary entry.


You should however take care when doing this: local modifications are not applied in the Dictionary. Generally speaking, such an approach will cause that corresponding element properties can be no longer managed centrally in the Dictionary and causes inconsistencies between elements that reference the same dictionary entry. Furthermore, there is currently no way to check which dictionary entries have local versions in diagrams.

To change locally the value of an attribute of the Dictionary and to undo if necessary, proceed as follows:

  1. First, select the element in your diagram with the attribute that is defined by a linked dictionary entry.

  2. Click on the value of the attribute you want to modify locally. A warning message appears to point out that local changes do not affect the dictionary entry.

    Warning message when changing locally a dictionary attribute.
  3. Click OK to continue. Depending on the attribute value, an additional editing dialog opens.

    Editing dialog to change attribute value.
  4. Now enter the desired attribute value. If the new value is applied, the attribute is marked accordingly (yellow book icon).

    Display of a changed attribute value.


    It is not possible to overwrite a dictionary attribute value with its default value.

  5. To undo the local change of an attribute value, click the corresponding book icon. The dialog Dictionary entry opens. Here, you see the local element value compared to the dictionary value.

    Display of the overwritten dictionary value.
  6. Click Revert to set the value of the Dictionary as the value of the element attribute.

  7. Close the dialog.