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Transition shape

In a statechart or activity diagram, a simple transition Transition shape icon - straight Transition shape icon - circular is a relationship between two states or action states, or between a state and itself. (A complex transition has multiple source and/or target states.)

A simple transition indicates that an object in the first state will enter the second state and perform specified actions. The trigger that makes the transition fire is the occurrence of the event labeling the transition. A transition is shown as a solid arrow from the source state to the target state and is labeled with a transition string with the following format:

event-name (parameters) [guard condition] / action -expression > send-clause

For example:

right-mouse-down (location) [location in window] / object:=pick-object (location) > object.highlight ()

Tip: Control which property values appear on a shape in a diagram by right-clicking the shape, and then clicking Shape Display Options. In the UML Shape Display Options dialog box, select and clear options to display or hide property values.

Name a Transition shape and add other property values

Open the element's UML Properties dialog box by double-clicking the icon that represents the element in the tree view or the shape that represents the element in a diagram.

Kind displays the kind of transition. The following table shows the kind of transition displayed for the various types of transition shapes:

UML Diagram Type




Signal Receipt

signal receipt


Signal Send

signal send


Object Flow

object flow


Control Flow








Select Guard if a guard condition exists that determines whether the transition will be enabled. The guard is evaluated when an event triggers the transition. If you select Guard, type a Boolean expression in the text box that describes the guard, using the language you specified under Language.

Hide a Transition shape's guard condition, events, or actions

Right-click the shape, click Shape Display Options, and then clear Guard, Event, or Action.

See Also

Work with transition shapes in UML statechart and activity diagrams

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