Model a BPMN diagram

This section describes the special features of modeling a BPMN diagram. Find more on modeling instructions that apply to all notations in section Modeling.

Select a notation subset

By default, multiple subsets for the BPMN notation are available.

Which subsets or which elements within a subset are available to you depends on the settings of your workspace. Your workspace administrator can customize the subsets.

To select a notation subset, follow these steps:

  1. From the explorer, open your diagram.

    The editor opens.

  2. In the shape repository on the left, select the subset you want to use.

    The elements of the subset are displayed in the shape repository. You can change the subset any time.

Modeling elements

The modeling elements correspond to the BPMN standard. Find an overview in the element guide Business Process Model and Notation: An introductory guide.

The following elements are additionally available:

For the following elements, we provide detailed instructions:

Work with BPMN connectors

When connecting two elements, the connector type is automatically determined according to the BPMN standard. For example, connectors between tasks are sequence flows, while connectors to annotations or data objects are associations.

Add, move, or remove bending points

To show the bending points of a connector, hover over it. You can drag any existing bending point to a new location.

To add a bending point, click the connector and drag the new bending point to its location.

To remove a bending point, you have the following options:

  • drag the bending point to a location that is on a line with the two neighboring bending points

  • drag the bending point onto a neighboring bending point

Move connector sections

You can move horizontal or vertical connector sections that are between bending points or between a bending point and another element. To do so, hover over the connector, click the yellow area, and drag it onto it's new location.

Attached intermediate events or boundary events

The BPMN specification uses the term boundary event instead of attached intermediate event.

With attached intermediate events, you can react on events that occur during the execution of a task. For example, if a customer cancels an order while it is still being processed, the order processing needs to stop and tasks need to be executed that cancel the order.

  • To attach an intermediate event to a task, drag it onto a task. A green border in the task indicates that the event can be attached. Some intermediate events, like the link intermediate event, can't be attached to a task.

The following event types are available:

Event type Description
Canceling The occurring event cancels the task and determines how to proceed.
Non-canceling The path defined at the event is executed in addition to the executed task.

Attached intermediate events are canceling events by default.

  • To change an event to non-canceling, select it and disable the option More Attributes > Cancel activity in the attributes panel.

Canceling events are displayed with a solid border, the border of non-canceling events is a dotted line.

Change the diagram orientation

BPMN diagrams are horizontally oriented by default.

We recommend to set the orientation before you start modeling.

Changing the orientation can change the diagram layout significantly and even break the layout. Previous layout states can't be restored.

To change the orientation, follow this step:

  • In the attributes panel, under Main Attributes > Diagram orientation, select the horizontal or vertical orientation.

Check the diagram syntax

You can check the syntax of a BPMN diagram.

  • In the toolbar, click > Check syntax. Errors are shown in the diagram. To get more details on an error, hover over it.

Further checks are available, read more in section Work with modeling conventions.

Next steps