What is the "a" and "m" on diagram model entities...?

Hello folks,

Agilian Enterprise Edition, v. 10.0…

When mousing over an icon on a diagram, I see either a lowercase “a” (or a padlock symbol? – can’t quite determine) or an uppercase “M” character near the upper left corner of the diagram element under specific conditions, which I describe below. Could someone tell me what these characters represent?

I see these symbols as a result of reusing a model element. The scenario is this:

  1. I initially create a model element by selecting it from one of the diagram’s category menus and placing it on the diagram canvas.
  2. I drag that same element from the diagram’s model explorer to place a second instance on the diagram.
  3. Mousing over one of the icons, I see the “a” and I see the “M” on the second icons.

As I discovered this recently, I don’t remember which of the “a” or “M” appear on the initially created icon and which appears on the second, third or subsequently created instances of that icon.

If I go to the diagram’s category menu and create a “new” instance of a model element instead of taking it from the diagram’s model explorer, I do not see the “a” and “M” characters.

Could someone tell me what these symbols represent?

Many thanks…

Hello rhimbo,

The letter “M” is standards for “master view”, and the “a” is auxiliary view for a model element. You can get to know more with this link:


Best regards,
Rain Wong

Apart from Rain’s answer I’d also like to point your attention to VP’s Youtube channel. Yesterday they uploaded a tutorial video about how to set a master view in an UML class diagram, and this also explains (and shows!) the relation between the ‘M’ and ‘A’ objects.

I’m sure you’ll see that there’s much more to VP-UML than meets the eye :wink:

You can find this tutorial video here.