How to draw SBGN diagrams in yEd

This is a collection of tips on drawing SBGN diagrams in yEd Graph Editor. This page is not meant to be an introduction to yEd. To learn more about yEd please review tutorials at the yEd website and relevant YouTube videos. Here we offer a quick help for the use of the SBGN palette.

Modifying general settings

Auxiliary units

Process “ports”

In SBGN a process is represented by a square box linked to two connectors, small arcs (“antennas”) attached to the centers of opposite sides.


There is no dedicated support for such “ports” in yEd at the moment. The small two small “antennas” have to be created by making bend points on the links. There is the snap-to-bend-point feature in yEd. This feature is to be used to co-position bend points as if they were “ports” of a process so you see two small arcs for each process or a logic operator.

Complex and compartment


To add cardinality to an arc: right click on the arc that links the entity to the process > Properties > Label tab. The following settings should be used:

Background: #ffffff
Border: #000000
Model: Side Slider
Position: Dynamic
Along Edge: Centered
Side of Edge: On Edge
Orientation: Parallel
Auto-Rotate with Edge: check


Then move the label manually to the desired position.

Other tips


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