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Customizing Class Diagrams

You can change the way that class diagrams display information about your project. For example, you can change the entire diagram’s apparent size by clicking the Zoom In and Zoom Out buttons (or by clicking a zoom amount in the list box) on the Class Designer toolbar. Setting the zoom does not affect how a class diagram prints.


You cannot change the terminology displayed for your project’s types on the diagram surface. Terminology is dependent on the language of the project.

The available methods for changing diagrams are summarized in the following list:

  • Manual line routing. First, click an association line to select it. Then, you can move the line, or segments of the line, left, right, up, or down. The line’s endpoints remain anchored on the shapes it connects.

  • Association line label placement. First, click the label of an association line to select it. Then, you can drag the label to another position in the diagram.

  • Hide association line. Right-clicking an association line displays a context menu. Then, if you click Show as Property, the line is removed from the diagram, but the association appears as a property in a shape. See How to: Change Between Member Notation and Association Notation.

  • Show and hide shapes. To hide a type’s shape, right-click its header area and click Remove from Diagram. To show it again, drag it onto the diagram from Class View.

  • Show and hide type members. Using either Class Designer or the Class Details window, you can show a type’s members or hide them. For more information, see How to: View Type Members.

  • Expand and collapse shapes. To collapse a shape, right-click its header area and click Collapse. This hides all of the shape’s compartments. To expand the shape, right-click it and click Expand.

  • Expand and collapse shape compartments. To collapse a compartment within a shape, right-click the compartment label and click Collapse. To display the compartment, click the shape (to give it focus) and clear the compartment’s Hide boxes in the Class Details window.

  • Group and sort members. You can group a type’s members in various ways. For more information, see How to: Group Type Members.