Link between objet in WBS

+14 votes
asked Jul 12, 2022 in Wanted features by Gilles (140 points)


I use PlantUML for a lot of diagrams, either Use Case Diagram, C4 Diagram or WBS Diagram.

I miss a feature : I need to link WBS Object to another WBS Object (in another "column") with a colour-defined arrow.

Does this feature seem to be a great idea to someone else ?

Could this become real ?


Wbs with arrow example

commented Jul 12, 2022 by Gilles (140 points)

Yes the need is quite similar.

A syntax similar could be nice, adding the stereotype.

* Test
** A topic
*** "common" as c1
** "Another topic" as t2
t2 ..> c1 <<foo>>

commented Jul 13, 2022 by Rico_27

I have the same need on my side for wbs diagram. I would add that this additional link could be a circular arrow.

This would be a great Feature to add. The lack of this functionality is very painful as it has to be done after manually and in case of update of diagram, the links have to be done again manually.
commented Oct 6, 2022 by Gilles (140 points)
This feature received some upvotes and there's no news about it.

Is there a blocking trouble with this specific feature ?

Is there a way to help you with this feature ?
commented Dec 5, 2022 by Todd Musheno (2,680 points)
You may want to add text to the lines as well

2 Answers

+1 vote
answered Dec 1, 2022 by plantuml (295,000 points)

There are two issues in this request.

  • The first one is the syntax.

Finding a nice syntax is not an easy task.
And once it has been set, it's difficult to change.

Your proposal is fine:

* Test
** A topic
*** "common" as c1
** "Another topic" as t2
t2 ..> c1 <<foo>>

We could also be creative, and propose something like:

* Test
** A topic
***(c1) "common"
**(t2) "Another topic"
t2 ..> c1 <<foo>>

What do you prefer?

  • The second issue is the drawing itself.

Those additional links will not change the layout so those links will probably clash with existing nodes and regular links.
So the drawing will probably be not very nice.
Is this an acceptable limitation for you?

commented Dec 2, 2022 by Gilles (140 points)

For the syntax, I would apply the one that exists. I made an exemple using syntax seen with plantuml on other diagrams, but if you think the second syntax is better for any reason*, that's great for me.

The links will probably clash with existing nodes. And that's OK for me. The stereotype will allow me to specify the colour of each link, handling the readability despite the clash.

* And if you choose it, I would really appreciate that you explain why : human readability, ease to process, ... whatever it would be. Just because I'm curious.

commented Dec 4, 2022 by plantuml (295,000 points)

About the syntax, the best option is to test both and to see which one is better.

So with last online version you can have this and this.

It's still an early version: no stereotype, color is hardcoded in red, no text on arrow.

However, any feedback will be appreciate :-)

commented Dec 5, 2022 by Todd Musheno (2,680 points)
I like the AS syntax as this is kinda a non technical diagram type.

And yes, I think some issues with render would be ok.
commented Dec 5, 2022 by Gilles (140 points)


I tried both and now, including <img:url> and both are OK. I was afraid that the first blocked this case, but it is not. First and Second. The second is more compact, with no " used.

The row are great, only the vertical one (if any) may be quite hard to read.

Thanks !

+2 votes
answered Dec 13, 2022 by plantuml (295,000 points)

Last snapshot allows this (you can click on the image)

commented Dec 13, 2022 by Gilles (140 points)
Wonderful ! I'll test it ASAP and be back.
commented Jan 15, 2023 by Ypo (120 points)

I am starting to use WBS, and in the manuals I can't find that kind of arrows.
I would like to know what are they used for. Any help in understanding better WBS and Plantuml use?
commented Jan 15, 2023 by Gilles (140 points)
This feature is under development: You won't find anything in the manual about it, everything is on this page. For the "arrow" feature. If you have some other questions, feel free to ask a bit more specifically.
commented Jan 15, 2023 by Ypo (120 points)
Hi Gilles.

What I wanted to know is the use of those arrows in the WBS diagram. What is their meaning?
Do they represent an order in the deliverables? Or any other thing?
commented Jan 15, 2023 by Gilles (140 points)


I use WBS-like diagram as a represention for structured data, for many use such as System Engineering. The arrows are used to represent link between data of different type. The colour are useful to put a meaning on the link: for exemple, "implementation", "association", "representation", ... Think of the link between a requirement and function...

Let's imagine it as a detailed explicit view of this diagram :

Some elements will appear in the community doc very soon.

I don't use it for any order in deliverables.

commented May 16, 2023 by The-Lu (67,080 points)

There are some observed issues:

  • How to link to the root node?
  • How to link to a node themself?