Element Referencing

Referencing elements

The repository gives you the ability to reference elements from BPD documents stored in the repository. Processes, Sub-Processes, and Identicals are able to reference other elements from the same type.

BPMN has defined the meaning for referenced Tasks or Sub-Processes. A reference to a Sub-Process means that the flow control will jump to the referenced Sub-Process. Once the Sub-Process has finished, the flow control will return to the caller Sub-Process. The meaning of referring Tasks is, to share the implementation with the referenced Task. There is no jump or change in the flow; it’s more a kind of reuse of its implementation.

Identical elements are not defined in the BPMN specification. This behavior is an additional feature of Process Modeler. Unlike BPMN references, all identical shapes have one and just one BPMN object. Once marked as identical, a BPMN shape can be reused as often as you want in the model in order to increase readability. Common examples are pools and lanes, which may be reused on different Visio Sheets. The definition and attributes will be shared on all identical shapes everywhere.

The reference can be defined locally (in the same document) or through the repository referencing other elements in stored documents. After you have defined references to other elements, you will be able to navigate to those elements. The documents will be opened.

Viewing References

Existing references of the current BPMN diagram can be viewed in the References form (Menu Repository->References). This form also provides the functionality to easily change the versions of referenced elements (e.g. to update all versions of referenced elements to their head version).

The Referencing form (‘Referencing…’ context menu on a document in the Repository Explorer) displays a list with all documents that have a reference to the selected document.

Local and remote referencing

To reference another task or sub-process element in a process diagram, select an existing task (or create a new one). Use the right mouse button context menu to get the function Reuse

Context menu to reuse a task


Now a window “Call a Global Element” will appear on which you can select pools and tasks located in your actual diagram. In order to get elements of other diagrams (in the repository) you can extend the search with Advanced… and then choose the respective folders in the repository. This search dialog also lets you set a series of the search criteria (things like element name, version etc.).

Extending the search to Repository folders now shows a lot more elements (see picture). Elements stored in the Repository are marked with a storage symbol. In the most right column you can also see where theses elements are stored.


Click on the task you like to reference and use the “OK” button to choose it. Now the local task references another task in the repository or in you local document. The same procedure is valid for sub-processes and identicals.

Consult the “go to referenced element” chapter to get additional information how to jump to the referenced element.

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