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Friday, 13 January 2017 14:22

Mastering ArchiMate 2 book alternate Colour Scheme for Sparx EA

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  • Update 03/02/2017: a complete and more simple solution with EA Project Template Package option has been added to this article.
  • Update 06/02/2017: an article on Archimate 3 is available here.

ArchiMate 2 is a standard enterprise architecture modeling language from the Open Group.

Available in Sparx Enterprise Architect modelling tool, it is aimed at modelling the enterprise architecture into a business, application and technology layers. According to the Open Group specifications, a colour scheme is applied to improve diagrams visibility: business elements are rendered in yellow, application elements in blue, and infrastructure/technical ones in green.

The following diagram illustrates ArchiMate 2 colour scheme implementation in Enterprise Architect:


For those who read Gerben Wierda's “Mastering Archimate Edition 2” book, he applies an alternative colour scheme based on the following rules: (see further explanations here)

  • Blue is used for active elements/objects (e.g. an interface or a component)
  • Yellow is used for behavioural elements (e.g. a function or service)
  • Green is used for passive elements (artifact, data object, business object...)
  • Colours are strengthened in the technical/infrastructure layer, and softened in the business layer

mastering archimate edition 2 book

In order to use these colours in Sparx Enterprise Architect, I started creating the Mastering Archimate 2 MDG:

  • Stereotypes for each Archimate 2 element have been created with the appropriate colour. They extend Archimate 2 built-in stereotypes.
  • Associated toolboxes with all stereotyped elements have been added.
  • Diagram types with associated toolbox completed the MDG.

Below is an example of an Archimate 2 diagram created with the Mastering Archimate 2 MDG:

Extended tests led to the identification of a number of glitches and issues:

  • EA Quicklinker function does not work properly as standard Archimate 2 elements are created, instead of stereotyped Mastering Archimate 2.
  • Any future models migration could be more difficult to achieve.
    • EA is provided with built-in migration scripts (Archimate 1 to Archimate 2, Archimate 2 to Archimate 3).
    • Stereotyped Archimate elements will have to be reverted to the standard Archimate 2 elements so the Archimate 3 migration works fine. 

Alternative solution with the Project Template Package (03/02/2017 update)

Following the initial version of this article pointing out the above issues, Sparx Systems suggested the use of a much simple solution with an element template that redefines the default elements colours.

This option involves creating a dedicated template package including each diagram type and redefined elements:

  • Archimate 2 diagrams are created in this package: Business Layer Diagram, Application Layer Diagram, and Technology Layer Diagram (Motivation and Implementation diagrams remain the same).
  • In each diagram, all the elements from the associated toolbox are added.
  • Colours are modified with the expected colours. Below is an example with Archimate 2 Technology diagram.

archimate 2 colour scheme enterprise architect sparx

  • The package must be identified as a template for the current EA project:
    • Open menu Project | Settings | Project Template Package, and select this package as the template
  • Result: any new Archimate 2 element created from one of the toolboxes has the expected new default colours.  


  • The Quicklinker works fine with this solution.
  • It is compatible with Sparx Archimate migration scripts.
  • A custom script is required to change the colour of existing Archimate 2 elements with the new colours.

The Mastering Archimate 2 MDG and the Element Template discussed in this article are available on request (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).