5 tips for drawing UML Diagrams

There are 14 types of UML diagrams that we can divide in two categories. Half of them, or the first seven, represent structural information, while the other half represent behavioral modeling and aspects of interactions. Needless to say, UML, which stands for the Unified Modeling Language, and it’s something used by software developers for modeling examples, documenting artifacts of software systems and for many other purposes as well.

In case you are wondering how to draw UML Diagrams more efficiently, make them easier to understand and more consistent in general, feel free to implement these five tips. Let’s take a look.

  1. Concentrated content is better than a wall of information

Huge heaps of elements are simply not a good thing to present to your viewers. When they have to focus on reading such a large diagram they won’t know what to focus on and in the end they end up learning nothing. Smaller, more focused diagrams work so much better, which is why the rule “less is more” is applied when UML Diagrams are in question. Don’t try to impress by showing up with huge looking drawings. Concise is better, period. Most UML Diagram Tool work on this concept as well.

  1. Lines should never be crossing

This entire concept is already something that requires a lot of attention. The viewer needs to focus on following a line to see which box it comes out of and where it ends. If the lines end up crossing each other then you have a problem. This usually happens because of these two reasons:

– You already have a lot going on in your drawing

– You did a structural problem and you need to re-program 

If it’s the first one, go back and look at tip number 1. Use a UML Diagram Tool if you need the extra assistance with the structure. When you keep this in mind from the very start you’ll have a much easier time structuring.

  1. Avoid diagonal lines both for aesthetic and functional purposes

There shouldn’t be any explanation about this, because you can simply load up a picture of a drawing that has all sorts of angles and diagonals going around, and you’ll see how messy it looks. Even if it’s a well-organized drawing, with the content concise and everything else on point, it will still look worse when compared to a drawing that only uses horizontal or vertical lines, without weird angles. It’s a lot cleaner to look at which is why most UML Diagram Tools structure drawings like this. Try it yourself and you’ll see the difference.

  1. Parent elements should be higher up on the drawing

This makes it really natural for the viewers, because all of the arrows will be pointing upwards towards the main parent elements. The hierarchy structure is important and it makes it easier for you to present, as viewers will find it natural to just follow a pattern that feels normal. There are some people who structure diagrams with the arrows pointing downwards but we’re honestly not a fan of that. You can try it and see for yourself.

  1. Construction is as important as content

You can prove a much better point with a solid construction. You need to tidy up your entire drawing. The cleaner it looks the higher the will of your viewers to keep following throughout the presentation. No unnecessary curves in the lines, and definitely don’t try to make it more complicated than it needs to be. You won’t impress anyone, you’ll just confuse them. Structure, tidiness and concise content, that’s what makes a drawing successful.


These five tips will help you structure your UML Diagram drawings better, so make sure to try them out the next time you are preparing a presentation. Your viewers will appreciate the attention to detail and you’ll find it much easier to present.

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