UML Sequence Markup

With our sequence markup tool, you can create and edit sequence diagrams with ease. Since Lucidchart auto-generates a sequence diagram from the text you enter, you can use the time you save to return to your code… or watch Star Wars.


When we met with Okta – the San Francisco-based identity management cloud software company – to learn about how they use Lucidchart in their day-to-day work, our team was pleased to discover how deeply they value visualizations.

Okta uses Lucidchart to create all types of visualizations. From wireframes to timelines to sequence diagrams, Okta’s teams rely on Lucidchart to communicate the complexities of security software to their clients. Dan Marma, a sales architect at Okta, explained how “Lucidchart diagrams inspire confidence with the customer so they can say, ‘Hey, these guys have done this before. These diagrams look good. They make sense. They’re readable. What we’re doing is no longer this confusing thing.’ Remove that element of confusion, and people feel better about their decision."



Not only does Okta create custom templates to encourage the use of visualizations, but they also take advantage of the extensive shape libraries available on Lucidchart. Specifically, they use the UML shape library to create sequence diagrams with UML markup.

Sequence diagrams allow you to visualize how operations occur over time. You can use UML markup to create a sequence diagram that represents anything from backend code to how security systems interact with each other. These diagrams are particularly useful when you need to visualize both how objects work together and in what order. In Okta’s case, they use sequence diagrams to illustrate their multi-factor identification feature, as shown below.


This sequence diagram demonstrates how Okta’s multi-factor authentication process functions and therefore allows potential Okta clients to see each step involved. By documenting this process through a collaborative sequence diagram, Okta sets their sales representatives up for success because sales reps are able to quickly reference the visualization to answer clients’ most technical questions. Additionally, once the sales rep closes the deal, the diagrams remain relevant because Okta’s customer success team will update the diagrams with more details that explain exactly how Okta will interact with the client’s current infrastructure and security systems. From the sales pitch to implementation and training, Okta’s visualizations save time for both parties as they eliminate the need for extensive video calls and conferences.

According to Okta’s Regional Director of Professional Services, “Okta’s number-one company value is customer success,” and the visual documentation Okta creates with Lucidchart sets their clients up for a successful Okta experience from the very beginning of the relationship.


See how visualizations can help you too! Build your own sequence diagrams with UML markup or browse our templates here. Once you’re done, don’t forget to showcase your work with Lucidchart’s presentation mode.

Follow these steps, and Lucidchart will auto-generate a sequence diagram for you:

  1. Activate the UML shape library. Click “Shapes” at the top of the Toolbar or use the hotkey “M.” Under the Software section, check “UML” or “UML Sequence.” Hit “Save.”
  2. Under the “UML Sequence” category in the Toolbar, click “Use Markup.”
  3. Under the “UML Sequence” shape library in the Toolbar, click “Use Markup.”

    UML Toolbar
  4. In the pop-over on the loft-hand side, type your markup.
  5. Click “Build” when you are ready to generate the diagram.


To create a new diagram, click “Use Markup” in the UML Sequence shape library again.

Category Syntax Description Example
Lines Alice -> Bob

Alice <- Bob

Draw a solid line (you can draw lines in both directions). SupportedMarkup1.png
Alice --> Draw a dotted line.
Alice -> Alice Draw a solid arrow to and from a participant.
Lifelines activate Alice Start participant activation with lifeline.
deactivate Alice End participant activation ending the lifeline.
Arrows -> Close arrow
-> > Open arrow
- No arrow
Text Alice->Bob: text Add a label to messages between participants. SupportedMarkup2.png
Alice->Bob: text\nmore Add a label with a line break between participants.
Notes note left of Alice: text1 Add a note shape on the left of Alice (if there are only two characters, "of Alice" could be omitted).
note right of Alice: Add a note shape on the right of Alice.
note over Alice: text3 Add a note shape displayed over Alice.
note over Alice, Bob: Add a note shape displayed over Alice and Bob.

note over Bob, Alice: This is an example of a

long note


with a line break. End note

Add a note shape with multiple-lined notes, displayed over Alice and Bob.
Grouping alt successful case: Bob -> Alice: data accepted; else some kind of failure. Bob -> Alice: data Build a grouping message with "alt" (alternative) and "else" to show different situations. SupportedMarkup3.png
opt text1

Alice -> Bob: text2


Build a grouping message with the keyword "opt."

You can change "opt" to other keywords as well. We support four key words in this pattern:

  • - opt (means "optional")
  • - par (means "parallel")
  • - loop
  • - critical

Note: These four keywords don't support "else." Only the keyword "alt" can be paired with "else."

Alias participant A as Alice Give participants aliases so you can write faster.
participant A as "Alice Jones" Put quotation marks around alias to give participant an alias longer than one word.
Comments 'comment text Single line comment
/' comment text '/ Multiple line comment

Don’t worry if your sequence diagram isn’t perfect on the first try. You can still edit the markup of a diagram you have already built, as long as you have not manually adjusted or ungrouped the diagram on the canvas.

Simply click on the diagram, and the sequence markup dialogue will appear on the left side of the editor.

Select the sequence diagram, and use the Properties bar at the top of the editor to style your diagram. If you would like to style individual blocks/elements on your diagram, you must first ungroup the diagram. Select the diagram, right-click, and select “Ungroup.”

Note: If you ungroup your diagram, you will not be able to edit the markup again.

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