Howto draw basic UML diagrams w/ Idea 7?


I'm using Idea 7 #7584. I'd like to reverse engineer my existing java files to class diagrams. How can I do it?

I also installed the simpleUML plugin but I don't know how to use it to draw a UML diagram. It let me open existing diagrams only (but I don't have any existing diagram, so I'm not sure if that feature works).

Looking forward to your help.


For simple code analysis, I like SimpleUML. There's a plug-in available via the Plug-In Manager.

Once installed, you can select some classes and have them inserted into a new SimpleUML diagram. You can later add and remove classes, manually or automatically lay the diagram out, control which kinds of members of the classes are displayed and which inter-class relationships are displayed.

Unless I'm mistaken, it does only class diagrams, so it's far from a complete UML solution, but I find it just right for getting a birds-eye view of some code.

Randall Schulz


i heard netbeans 6 can do this runs away


Visual Paradigm has a commercially licensed UML plug-in available: It does reverse-engineering as well as many other things. (They do have a free community version for non-commercial use, but it doesn't do reverse engineering. The Community Edition can be downloaded from the IDEA plug-in manager, see "SDE for IntelliJ IDEA".)

They also have a standalone UML CASE Tool/IDE that has IDEA integration.(

The main difference between the plug-in (SDE) and the standalone (VP-UML) is where you do the UML editing; in the VP tool, or your IDE. Also, the standalone integrates with different IDEs (Eclipse, IDEA, NetBeans, and many others) whereas the plug-in license is for a specific IDE. (You can read these VP forum threads for info on the differences: &

Might be more than what you're looking for, but I thought I'd mention it as I have found them to be good products.


Hi Randall,

Could you tell me how to "select some classes and have them inserted into a new SimpleUML diagram"? My question sounds very stupid, but ... I don't know how to use this stuff. Its website doesn't have anything to help.

You can have a look at my idea screen shot.




Could you tell me how to "select some classes and
have them inserted into a new SimpleUML diagram"?

You can open the popup menu on a class in the project tree or on an identifier in the editor and select "Add to simpleUML diagram"-->"New Diagram", Select Classdiagram and specify a name for the diagram.



Thai Dang,

Start by opening the Project View (ALT+1 or Windows -> Tools Windows -> Project).

Next, select one or more Java classes that are part of your project.

Then right-click on one of the selected class names or icons to activate the context menu.

Near the bottom of that menu is a sub-menu, "Add to simpleUML diagram...". When you start, the only entry in that submenu will be "New Diagram...". Select that command and simpleUML will create a default class diagram including those classes and will open a window to show them.

Alternately, you'll notice that in the Windows -> Tool Windows submenu is an entry for simpleUML. You can select that command to get either the latest simpleUML window or, if there none, a new blank in which you can open simpleUML diagrams you saved earlier.

Once you have a simpleUML diagram active, you can use the command icons along the left side of the simpleUML window (they have tool-tips to explain the iconography). There are also context menus for the diagram background and for classes shown within that diagram.

That should be enough to get you started.

Good luck.

Randall Schulz


Please sign in to leave a comment.