Creating Custom Actor Shapes

If you have an alternate shape that you would like to use as an actor, you can easily create a custom shape that when placed, will create a new actor.  You can do this with any of the shapes from the CaseComplete shape libraries, or even with an image that you paste into a diagram (or insert via the Diagram menu).

Place any shape that you want to use as an actor onto a diagram.  In this example we will use the Phone shape found in the Network Shapes library.  Name it “New Actor” or any other default text for new actors.  Make any desired formatting changes, such as text margins, justification, color, etc.  Most of the shapes that come with CaseComplete position the shape’s label in the middle of the shape.  Depending on the shape, you may want to move the label below the shape as shown here.  Please see the end of this document for instructions on how to do this.

If you haven't created a custom shapes library already, create one by clicking on the icon above the shape libraries area (you must have an open diagram to see the shape libraries).

Drag the shape from step 1 into your custom shapes library.  When prompted for a name, give it a descriptive name.  In this example, we will use “Phone Actor.”

With your custom shapes library active, click on the properties button.


Navigate to the Phone Actor configuration folder and add a unique Tag to your shape folder. This tag is used in the Diagram Options dialog, as well as the dropdown menu for adding actors to your diagrams.

Next navigate to the Phone shape under the Phone Actor folder, select it, and then select the Name property.  Change the Name to “Actor.”  This tells CaseComplete to treat it as an actor when dragged into a diagram.  Note the screenshot below shows many custom shapes.  If this is a new custom library, you will only have the one Phone Actor shape.

Close the properties dialog and save the changes to your shape library by clicking the green save button

You’re done.  You can now drag the new actor from your custom shapes library into a diagram.  You’ll note that a new actor will be created in the project browser when you do so.

Moving the Label below its Shape

Most of the shapes that come with CaseComplete have their default label position set to be within the bounds of the shape.  For some shapes, this is not practical since the label would be obscured.  Follow these steps to place the label below the shape.

  1. Right click on the shape, select Style/Text Align/Top
  2. Right click on the shape, select Style/Text margins.  Change the margins as shown:


This is a little tricky and requires some explanation.  First, you need to know that margins are expressed as a percentage of the size of the shape.  For example, for a left margin of 5, the label would be 5% of the shape’s width in from the left edge.  A negative margin goes the other direction – instead of inward toward the center of the shape, it goes outward.  So what we see in the example above is that the left and right margins will extend beyond the left and right edges of the shape (by 50% of the width of the shape).  This is useful to make wider labels so the name doesn’t wrap as quickly, especially for narrow shapes.  In the vertical direction, the top of the label will be 105% down from the top (i.e. just below the bottom edge), and the bottom of the label will be 65% down from the bottom edge.  You may need to experiment with different values to get the desired label size and location.


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    Tom Kolankiewicz

    Very helpful! Thanks this is exactly what I needed.

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