The Complete Guide to UML Diagram Types with Examples

UML stands for Unified Modeling Language. It’s a rich language to model software solutions, application structures, system behavior and business processes. There are 14 UML diagram types to help you model these behaviors.

You can draw UML diagrams online using our software, or check out some UML diagram examples at our diagramming community.

List of UML Diagram Types

So what are the different UML diagram types? There are two main categories; structure diagrams and behavioral diagrams. Click on the links to learn more about a specific diagram type.

All 14 UMl diagram types categorized into behavioral and structural UML

Structure diagrams show the things in the modeled system. In a more technical term, they show different objects in a system. Behavioral diagrams show what should happen in a system. They describe how the objects interact with each other to create a functioning system.

Class Diagram

Class diagrams are the main building block of any object oriented solution. It shows the classes in a system, attributes, and operations of each class and the relationship between each class.
In most modeling tools, a class has three parts. Name at the top, attributes in the middle and operations or methods at the bottom. In a large system with many related classes, classes are grouped together to create class diagrams. Different relationships between classes are shown by different types of arrows.
Below is an image of a class diagram. Follow the link below for more class diagram examples or get started instantly with our class diagram templates.
Class diagram, the most popular UML diagram type

Click on the image to edit the above class diagram (opens in new window)

Get More UML Class Diagram Examples >>

Component Diagram

A component diagram displays the structural relationship of components of a software system. These are mostly used when working with complex systems with many components. Components communicate with each other using interfaces. The interfaces are linked using connectors. The image below shows a component diagram.

Component diagram template with explanation

You can use this component diagram template by clicking on the image

Get More Component Diagram Templates >>

Deployment Diagram

A deployment diagram shows the hardware of your system and the software in that hardware. Deployment diagrams are useful when your software solution is deployed across multiple machines with each having a unique configuration. Below is an example deployment diagram.

Deployment diagram template

Click on the image to use this deployment diagram as a template

Get More Deployment Diagram Templates >>

Object Diagram

Object Diagrams, sometimes referred to as Instance diagrams are very similar to class diagrams. Like class diagrams, they also show the relationship between objects but they use real world examples.

They show how a system will look like at a given time. Because there is data available in the objects, they are used to explain complex relationships between objects.

Object diagram template

Click on the image to use the object diagram as a template

Get More Object Diagram Templates >>

Package Diagram

As the name suggests, a package diagram shows the dependencies between different packages in a system. Check out this wiki article to learn more about the dependencies and elements found in package diagrams.

UML package diagram example

Profile Diagram

Profile diagram is a new diagram type introduced in UML 2. This is a diagram type that is very rarely used in any specification. For more detailed technical information about this diagram type, check this link.

UML Profile diagram

Composite Structure Diagram

Composite structure diagrams are used to show the internal structure of a class. For a detailed explanation of composite structure diagrams, click here.

UML composite structure diagram drawn using Creately

Use Case Diagram

As the most known diagram type of the behavioral UML diagrams, Use case diagrams give a graphic overview of the actors involved in a system, different functions needed by those actors and how these different functions interact.

It’s a great starting point for any project discussion because you can easily identify the main actors involved and the main processes of the system. You can create use case diagrams using our tool and/or get started instantly using our use case templates.

Use case diagram drawing using Creately

Click on the image to edit this template

Get More Use Case Diagram Examples >>

Activity Diagram

Activity diagrams represent workflows in a graphical way. They can be used to describe the business workflow or the operational workflow of any component in a system. Sometimes activity diagrams are used as an alternative to State machine diagrams. Check out this wiki article to learn about symbols and usage of activity diagrams.

Activity diagram drawn using Creately

Get More Activity Diagram Templates >>

State Machine Diagram

State machine diagrams are similar to activity diagrams, although notations and usage change a bit. They are sometimes known as state diagrams or state chart diagrams as well. These are very useful to describe the behavior of objects that act differently according to the state they are in at the moment. The State machine diagram below shows the basic states and actions.

State machine diagram

State Machine diagram in UML, sometimes referred to as State or State chart diagram

Get More State Chart Diagram Examples >>

Sequence Diagram

Sequence diagrams in UML show how objects interact with each other and the order those interactions occur. It’s important to note that they show the interactions for a particular scenario. The processes are represented vertically and interactions are shown as arrows. This article explains the purpose and the basics of Sequence diagrams. Also, check out this complete Sequence Diagram Tutorial to learn more about sequence diagrams.

You can also instantly start drawing using our sequence diagram templates.

Sequence diagram drawn using Creately

Sequence diagram drawn using Creately

Communication Diagram

In UML 1 they were called collaboration diagrams. They are similar to sequence diagrams, but the focus is on messages passed between objects. The same information can be represented using a sequence diagram and different objects. Click here to understand the differences using an example.

Communication diagram drawn using Creately

Interaction Overview Diagram

Interaction overview diagrams are very similar to activity diagrams. While activity diagrams show a sequence of processes, Interaction overview diagrams show a sequence of interaction diagrams.

They are a collection of interaction diagrams and the order they happen. As mentioned before, there are seven types of interaction diagrams, so any one of them can be a node in an interaction overview diagram. ( image – http://www.sa-depot.com/?page_id=645 )

UML interaction overview diagram drawn using Creately

Timing Diagram

Timing diagrams are very similar to sequence diagrams. They represent the behavior of objects in a given time frame. If it’s only one object, the diagram is straight forward. But, if there is more than one object is involved, a Timing diagrams can be used to show interactions between objects during that time frame. ( image – http://blog.tangcs.com/2008/01/10/uml-2-diagrams/ )

UML timing diagram drawn using Creately

Mentioned above are all the UML diagram types. UML offers many diagram types, and sometimes two diagrams can explain the same thing using different notations.

Check this blog post to learn which UML diagram best suits you. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment.

Author

Nishadha

Software engineer turned tech evangelist. I handle marketing stuff here at Creately including writing blog posts and handling social media accounts. In my spare time I love to read and travel. Check out my personal blog Rumbling Lankan where I write about online marketing stuff.

Comments

  1. Guilherme

    Is there a UML model that exemplifies a nightclub system?

  2. shiferaw

    it is very nice but there is no clear idea in database design and physical design

  3. christian

    aspect where models are used. can someone answer

  4. Prasanth

    Information is brief and helpful for basic knowledge of UML diagrams. Thank you.

  5. Maharani

    First comment was in 2012. Ahh, where’re I at that time …
    Thank you! It’s very useful and easy to study. If I find this earlier …
    Thanks you!

  6. ppkmano

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  7. Janie

    which UML version does this tool currently support?

    • Hi Janie,
      We currently support most of the features in UML 2. Is there any specific feature that you require ?

  8. Gau

    I need help in sequence diagram for smart city app..can anyone help me

  9. mina

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  10. Alysha Stanger

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  11. Aparna Sutheesh

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  12. test

    thank you very much, before midterm its like heaven

  13. PlanetB

    Any idea how a MF/legacy system will use UML diagrams…or what is the best way to use some of these diagrams for this environment.

  14. Azmath Mohamad

    simple and clear, thanks.

  15. KABIR

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  16. prem g

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  17. Akshay Akin

    This this very supportive for me. I just wa to know is there a way to see the UML diagram from multiple python source files. We have a hierarchy of classes spread in a package. How can I see the diagram for entire package?

  18. Usman sani

    It’s very help the learner, thank u much.

  19. utoken

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  20. Raul

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    Thanks a lot!
    Very easy to understand!

    Keep it going on mate!

  21. Patrik Fuhrmann

    Nice article. Only if there was use for all of these in real software projects. Seriously, who is using all of these, NASA? In reality maybe sequence and class diagrams are used (at most).

  22. Hamza Ashraf

    help in studt thanks

  23. Inko

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  24. shashi jha

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  28. Sachin

    very useful article … thanks for sharing

  29. Francesco

    There’s an error here: “In large systems with many classes related classes are grouped together to to create class diagrams.”

    Thanks for the article.

    • Nishadha

      Hi Francesco, can you please explain the error there? A class diagram is a collection of classes so I feel the sentence is correct. Do think its confusing or misleading? Thanks for the feedback.

      • Francesco

        Maybe it’s just confusing because you’re not using any punctuation. Please correct me if I’m wrong but I guess this is what you wanted to say: “In large systems with many classes related, (comma) classes are grouped together to (the second “to” here should be removed) create class diagrams.”

        • Nishadha

          Hi Francesco, agree that it is misleading and confusing. Thanks for pointing it out and I have modified the article. Hope you enjoyed the article.

          • Francesco

            Yes I did, it’s definitely useful 🙂

  30. raj

    Hi,

    This is a very helpful and compact article. Thank you boss..:)

  31. Sai

    Thanks a lot dear! Much Appreciated!

  32. MUJAHI

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  33. Manohar Tn

    I am an Engineering Student This Arun Kumar Notes U have Gives is very informative Sir…

  34. Ali Danbatta

    hi, this is wonderful job keep up.

  35. Bashir

    Hi Nishada,
    what a very helpful note you have given! I have a question. Pls can UML diagrams be used for the understanding of problem domain? if yes, please explain.
    Thanks.
    Kind regards

  36. Osama

    This is really an awesome article.. thanks buddy

  37. Quite useful even if we don’t need all schemas

  38. Carla

    Very nice and clean explanation. UML made easy!
    Thank you.

  39. Maria Barket

    tomorrow is my exam .. n it helps me a lot ..stay blessed 🙂

  40. saran

    it’s very useful for me, Thanks a lot

  41. Robinson.moat

    Hi
    very help in business plan and safe time.

  42. M.Prakash

    Thank you. Nice Article.

  43. kiqobad

    Hi Nishadha ,Have seen many UML diagram before, however, the way to put it all together and characterize them is very important as the author has done it here. Very nice way to represent and identify them.thanks very thanks…of iran kelardasht good time

  44. deepika

    its very useful….without book we easily got …idea

  45. felixi

    i love your piece on UML, hope it help me with my exams tomorrow. Really appreciate your generousity

  46. Bhavin

    Have seen many UML diagram before, however, the way to put it all together and characterize them is very important as the author has done it here. Very nice way to represent and identify them. Enjoyed it…

  47. Tinda

    much impressive task for learning

  48. Carci

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    Thank You very much!!!!!

  49. York

    hi man, very nice job. thx a lot~

  50. R.S.

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  51. suhas

    this very useful for the understanding the uml concept

  52. Shahbaz

    Most Effective notes

  53. mass milce

    many types of UML diagrams
    information contained highly detailed easy to understand

  54. Bindhu Madhuri

    very helpful, u made my day!!!

  55. Avadhut

    Great stuff,Thanks a lot.

  56. DIYA

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  57. sachin

    many types of UML diagrams
    information contained highly detailed easy to understand

  58. Shobhit

    That was pretty informative stuff, and you sire explained it pretty easily!

  59. anonimous

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  60. Madeea

    thanks this article is very helpful and easy to understand…great work

  61. Nishadha

    Hi Fabio,
    As I have listed down in the article, there are 14 UML diagram types in UML 2.0

  62. Fabio

    Hi Nishadha , I find this very helpful and easy to understand, but I have a question about the number of Diagram, I read this http:/www.omg.org/gettingstarted/what_is_uml.htm and I found ” ..representing the results using UML 2.0’s thirteen standard diagram types.” 13 or 14 ?

  63. Kanker Serviks

    many types of UML diagrams
    information contained highly detailed easy to understand

  64. Balambigai

    Simple and easy to understand

  65. josphat

    superb.this page is eye catching.kudos quality stuff

  66. Miguel

    Hi,

    what would you suggest if you want to build a diagram in which would be displyed a student grades; minimum grades to to pass a exam; final result pass or fail

  67. Marzio

    Great explanation! My compliments. Simple and expressive.

  68. nisha

    thank u very much 4 ur article… its very helpful

  69. shivam tiwari

    Its very helpful site

  70. its very helpful uml diagram

  71. krish

    thank u lots…its v helpful to understand:-)

  72. iswarya

    really helpful… thank yu so much :):)
    🙂 🙂

  73. gopinath

    thanks
    very helpful

  74. Puvanarajan

    Thank you so much….
    😀

  75. parikshita

    Hello Nishadha,
    Thank you for the very nice article.

    Cheers!!
    PP

  76. Abi

    hi nishadha,
    its very useful and very easy for understanding..
    Thanks

  77. Nishadha

    Hi Varun,
    I haven’t used MATLAB so not sure what exactly you mean by develop logic using UML. Can you explains it a bit further ?

  78. Varun

    Hello Nishadha,
    Thank you for the very nice article.
    I have a question, is it possible in any way that we can develop logic using UML for example we can develop a logic using MATLAB.

    Thanks.

  79. nice one…really useful

  80. sunny kandola

    its really helpful … thanks

  81. Nishadha

    Good morning, Clark. I apologize for the mistakes. Thanks for taking the time to point them out. I have corrected them now. Enjoy the article and hope you got some value from it.

    • akmq

      By using 1 case study if you make these 14 diagrams then it will very helpful now it is although good but if you do like i say you then it much be better …! nice work

  82. Good morning, Nishadha. I like the presentation of this information since it provides brief explanations and examples and links to greater detail.

    I did notice that a few of your shortcut links up top are broken. Near the very beginning of your UML diagram types page you provide a numbered list of diagram types. Each link is supposed to take me to the brief explanation and example, but numbers 7, 10, and 14 don’t work. Number 13 actually takes me to the location for number 14.

    Overall, this is a convenient presentation. Thanks.

  83. super and easy to understand

  84. super,its easy to understand for student

  85. it is good to see

  86. priyanka

    thankzzzz…vry informative and quick to learn!!!!

  87. very good explained

  88. like the way u in 🙂

  89. Thank you for the clear diagrams and explanations.

  90. very well explained

  91. zubair

    awesome

  92. kiran

    it’s simple and understandable

  93. m.nandhini

    it’s easy to understand

  94. T.Pugazharasan

    Thankz its usefull 4 my studies.. thankz u….

  95. indhu

    its very helpful to me……….

  96. anish

    simple and helpfull………Thanks a lot.

  97. Looking for such documents for a long. Will also help me to conduct the training programs as well.

    Thanks a lot.

  98. very helpful …

  99. Rupali Matkar

    It’s easy to understand… Thanks a lot…

  100. very helpful n eseasy to underatand

  101. This is a very helpful overview with manyuseful links. Thanks alot for your effort.

  102. […] The Completed Guide with UML Diagrams and examples by Creately (flowcharts, wireframes, UML, mindmaps, and more) […]

  103. its really helping us to provide a lot of info we are gaining from it….

  104. Remya S

    very helpful to me, thankzzzzzzzz

  105. sahil sharma

    very helpful…………could have been better for beginners if each symbols were explained first….

  106. Kakoli Das

    its very helpful n easy 2 understand,thanx a lot…………

  107. […] particular system using the conventions set by the Unified Modeling Language (UML). Out of all the UML diagram types it is one of the most used ones. System designers use class diagrams as a way of simplifying how […]

  108. Thomas

    Very Helpful Thanks……

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