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Is there software to create beautiful UML diagrams? All UML tools I have used so far just generate ugly and pixelated diagrams which cannot be used e.g. in a marketing brochure. Last time I re-painted all diagrams in Inkscape.

I'm looking for

  • a program that somehow supports built-in UML shapes (e.g. not Inkscape)
  • high resolution (300+ dpi) export to bitmap or vector graphics
  • beautiful in the sense of graphics design
  • configurable shape properties, e.g. border width, rounded corners

I'm not necessarily looking for

  • software which can generate syntactically correct UML diagrams
  • software which can import from or export to XMI format

Examples

  • Enterprise Architect does not suit my needs.
  • Microsoft Visio is quite close, maybe I'm just too stupid to use it.

Any UML version (1.0, 1.1, 2.0) supporting the following diagram types is ok:

  • sequence diagrams
  • class diagrams
  • component diagrams
  • package diagrams
  • state machine diagrams
  • use case diagrams

Budget: ~300€

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    Which UML tools did you try? Can you add an example of a UML diagram you find beautiful? – Franck Dernoncourt Aug 5 '14 at 3:35
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UML software is always a difficult area. From my experience, there seems to be some kind of natural law that prevents UML software from being pretty and well-usable. However, there is one piece of UML software I had the most pleasure with (or let’s call it the least problems):

Visual Paradigm

It supports every major UML diagram type out of the box and has proper shapes and feature sets for each one. For example in class diagrams, you have built-in support for different annotations on associations (multiplicity, role names etc.), and you can enter those from different interfaces—either in dialogues behind, or directly on the diagram when selecting the association. Similar features exist for other types too, making it very powerful.

As for prettyness, the default styles do have some flat blue-ish style which is not the prettiest. You can however change the styles at will. I personally changed them to be monochrome (just white background) to be simplistic but to the point. If I remember correctly, you can change the shapes using default styles, so all new shapes will automatically follow it. And of course, you can always change the style for individual objects.

It comes in different editions, and if you’re just interested in UML modeling, its basic “Modeler Edition” might be enough for you (although the “Standard Edition” is also within your budget). I personally used the community edition back then which had the restrictions of only being able to create one diagram of each kind before putting watermarks all over the document (when printing or exporting).

I do remember seeing some export options to vector graphics too, so you probably have that out of the box. Because of those watermarks on the community edition, my export routine was done by printing XPS because I could edit those watermarks out later, so I cannot comment exactly on the export functionality.

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For class diagrams, activity diagrams and use case diagrams that are not too complex you can use yUML and export to SVG. It creates a beautiful diagram from strings like this:

[Customer]1-*[Order],[Order]1-*[OrderLine]

See the result.

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I just discovered UMLet.

It can export to several file formats, including SVG, EPS and PDF.

It allows mixing of different diagram types into one drawing.

It supports the following diagram types:

  • Activity,
  • Class,
  • Composite Structure,
  • Package,
  • Sequence,
  • State Machine,
  • Deployment,
  • Use Case

The UI is not intuitive from my point of view (it is very basic and user action are sometimes weird).

It allows to create custom shapes using Java graphical components.

It allows user to set properties like border width (lw) or add your own ones to custom elements (like corner radius). The counterpart is that you will need programming skills for element customization.

Last but not least: it is free and open-source.

You can also try UMLetino, which is the web app derived from UMLet.

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UML Designer is a free and open-source tool which allow to create most of the UML diagrams. It can export to PNG - but I don't think it can at 300dpi in its current version, I tend to use screen capture and not the built-in export. It exports to SVG too but the result might vary in quality, some colors might be wrong sometimes.

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    Welcome to Software Recommendations! This post does not contain enough information to be considered a high quality answer. Please read our discussion on what makes an answer high quality to see if you can incorporate some of these improvements into your answer. Be specific go over the requirements and say yea or nae or work around can be done with like ___ - like does it have configurable shape properties? what is the maximum dpi that it can export? etc. – Nick Wilde Apr 18 '14 at 15:14

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