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Use-Case Model

The Use-case model is defined as a model which is used to show how users interact with the system in order to solve a problem. As such, the use case model defines the user's objective, the interactions between the system and the user, and the system's behavior required to meet these objectives.

Various model elements are contained in use-case model, such as actors, use cases, and the association between them.

We use a use-case diagram to graphically portray a subset of the model in order to make the communication simpler. There will regularly be a numerous use-case diagram which is related to the given model, each demonstrating a subset of the model components related to a specific purpose. A similar model component might be appearing on a few use-case diagrams; however, each use-case should be consistent. If, in order to handle the use-case model, tools are used then this consistency restriction is automated so that any variations to the component of the model (changing the name, for instance) will be reflected automatically on each use-case diagram, which shows that component.

Packages may include a use-case model, which is used to organize the model to simplify the analysis, planning, navigation, communication, development and maintenance.

Various use-case models are textual and the text captured in the use-case specifications, which are linked with the element of every use-case model. The flow of events of the use case is described with the help of these specifications.

The use-case model acts as an integrated thread in the development of the entire system. The use-case model is used like the main specification of the system functional requirements as the basis for design and analysis, as the basis for user documentation, as the basis of defining test cases, and as an input to iteration planning.

Origin of Use-Case

Nowadays, use case modeling is frequently connected with UML, in spite of the fact that it has been presented before UML existed. Its short history is:

  • Ivar Jacobson, in the year 1986, originally formulated textual and visual modeling methods to specify use cases.
  • And in the year 1992, his co-authored book named Object-Oriented Software Engineering - A Use Case Driven Approach, assisted with promoting the strategy for catching functional requirements, particularly in software development.

Components of Basic Model

There are various components of the basic model:

  1. Actor
  2. Use Case
  3. Associations


Usually, actors are people involved with the system defined on the basis of their roles. An actor can be anything such as human or another external system.

Use Case

The use case defines how actors use a system to accomplish a specific objective. The use cases are generally introduced by the user to meet the objectives of the activities and variants involved in the achievement of the goal.


Associations are another component of the basic model. It is used to define the associations among actors and use cases they contribute in. This association is called communicates-association.

Advanced Model Components

There are various components of the advanced model:

  1. Subject
  2. Use-Case Package
  3. Generalizations
  4. Generalizations
  5. Dependencies


The subject component is used to represent the boundary of the system of interest.

Use-Case Package

We use the model component in order to structure the use case model to make simpler the analysis, planning, navigation, and communication. Suppose there are various actors or use cases. In that case, we can also use use-case packages in order to further structure the use-case model in much the similar way we use directories or folders to organize the information on our hard-disk.

For various reasons, we divide the use-case model into the use-case packages, containing:

  • To help parallel development by partitioning the problem into bite-sized parts.
  • To improve communication with various stakeholders by making packaging containing actors, use cases and related to the specific stakeholder.


Generalizations mean the association between the actors in order to help re-use of common properties.


In UML, various types of dependencies are defined between use cases. In particular, <<include>> and <<extend>>.

We use <<include>> dependency to comprise shared behavior from an included use case into a base use case to use common behavior.

We use <<extend>> dependency to include optional behavior from an extended use-case into an extended use case.

How to Draw a Use-Case Diagram?

If we want to draw a use case diagram in UML first, we must study the complete system appropriately. We need to find out every function which is offered by the system. When we find out all the system's functionalities then we convert these functionalities into a number of use cases, and we use these use-cases in the use case diagram.

A use case means essential functionality of any working system. When we organize the use cases, then next we need to enlist the numerous actors or things that will collaborate with the system. These actors are used to implement the functionality of a system. Actors can be someone or something. It can likewise be a private system's entity. The actors should be pertinent to the functionality or a system in which the actors are interacting.

When we enlist the use cases and actors, then next, we need to find the relationship of a specific actor with the system or a use case. An actor should find the total number of ways in order to cooperate with the system. One actor can interact with the numerous use cases simultaneously, or it may interact with the multiple-use cases concurrently.

We have to follow the following rules while drawing use-case for any framework:

  • The use case name and actor name should be meaningful and related to the system.
  • The actor's interaction with the use case should be well-described and in a comprehensible manner.
  • Use annotations wherever they are essential.
  • If the actor or use case has many relationships, then display only important interactions.

When to Use a Use-Case Diagram?

The use-case diagram is an extraordinary system's functionality that is accomplished by a client. The objective of use-case diagram is to capture the system's key functionalities and visualize the interactions of different thinkings known as actors with the use case. It is the basic use of use-case diagram.

With the help of the use-case diagram, we can characterize the system's main part and flow of work among them. In the use-case, the implementation of details is hidden from external use, and only the flow of the event is represented.

Using use-case diagrams, we can detect the pre-and post-conditions after communication with the actor. We can determine these conditions using several test cases.

Generally, the use-cases diagram is used for:

  • Examining the system's requirements.
  • Capturing the system's Functionalities.
  • We use use-case diagram in order to modeling the general idea behind the system.
  • System's Forward and reverse engineering using several test cases.
  • Complex visual designing of software.

Use cases are planned to convey wanted functionality so that the exact scope of use case can differ based on the system and the purpose of making the UML model.

Tips for Drawing a Use-Case Diagram

There are various tips for drawing a use-case diagram:

  • It must be complete.
  • It must be simple.
  • The use-case diagram must show each and every interaction with the use case.
  • It is must that the use-case should be generalized if it is large.
  • At least one system module must be defined in the use case diagram.
  • When there are number of actors or use-cases in the use-case diagram, only the significant use-cases must be represented.
  • The use-case diagrams must be clear and easy so that anyone can understand them easily.

Importance of Use-Case Diagram

Use Cases have been broadly used over the last few years. There are various benefits of the use-case diagram:

  • Use-case diagram provides an outline related to all components in the system. Use-case diagram helps to define the role of administrators, users, etc.
  • The use-Case diagram helps to provide solutions and answers to various questions that may pop up if you begin a project unplanned.
  • It helps us to define the needs of the users extensively and explore how it will work.

Basic Use-Case Diagram Symbols and Notations

There are following use-case diagram symbols and notations:


With the help of the rectangle, we can draw the boundaries of the system, which includes use-cases. We need to put the actors outside the system's boundaries.

Use-Case Model


With the help of the Ovals, we can draw the use-cases. With the verb we have to label the ovals in order to represent the functions of the system.

Use-Case Model


Actors mean the system's users. If one system is the actor of the other system, then with the actor stereotype, we have to tag the actor system.

Use-Case Model


With the simple line we can represent relationships between an actor and use cases. For relationships between use-case, we use arrows which are labeled either "extends" or "uses". The "extends" relationship shows the alternative options under the specific use case. The "uses" relationship shows that single use-case is required to accomplish a job.

Use-Case Model

Guidelines for Better Use-Cases

With regards to examine the system's requirements, use-case diagrams are another one to one. Use-cases are simple to understand and visual. The following are some guidelines that help you to make better use cases that are appreciated by your customers and peers the same.

Generally, the use-case diagram contains use-cases, relationships, and actors. Systems and boundaries may be included in the complex larger diagrams. We'll talk about the guidelines of the use-case diagram on the basis of the objects.

Do not forget that these are the use case diagram's guidelines, not rules of the use-case diagram.


  • The actor's name should be meaningful and relevant to the business
    If the use-case interacting with the outside organization, then we have to give the actor's name with the function instead of the organization name, such as Airline company is better than the PanAir).
  • Place inheriting actors below the parent actor
    We have to place the inheriting actors below the parent actor because it makes the actors more readable and easily highlights the use-cases, which are exact for that actor.
  • External Systems are actors
    If send-email is our use-case and when the use-case interrelates with the email management software, then in this case, the software is an actor to that specific user-case.


  • The name of the use-case begins with a verb
    The use-case models action, so the name of the use-case must start with a verb.
  • The name of the use-case must be descriptive
    The use-case is created to provide more information to others who are looking at a diagram, such as instead of "Print," "print Invoice is good.
  • Put the use-cases to the right of the included use-cases.
    In order to add clarity and enhance readability, we have to place the included use-cases to the right of the invoking use-cases.
  • Place inheriting use-case below the parent use-case
    In order to enhance the diagram's readability, we have to place the inheriting use-case below the parent use-case.


  • Give descriptive and meaningful names to these objects.
  • Use them carefully and only if needed.


  • When we are using <<extend>> arrow, points to the base use-case.
  • When we are using <<include>> then arrow points to the comprised use-case.
  • Actor and use-case relationship do not display arrows.
  • <<extend>> may have an optional extension condition.
  • <<include>> and <<extend>> both are shown as dashed arrows.

Use-Case Examples

Use-Case Example-Association Link

In this use-case diagram, we show a group of use cases for a system which means the relationship among the use-cases and the actor.

Use-Case Model

Use-Case Example-Include Relationship

In order to add additional functionality that is not specified in the base use-case, we use to include relationship. We use it to comprise the general behavior from an included use case into a base case so that we can support the reuse general behavior.

Use-Case Model

Use-Case Example-Extend Relationship

With the help of the extend relationship, we can show the system behavior or optional functionality. We use <<extend>> relationship in order to comprise optional behavior from an extending use-case in an extended use-case. For example, the below diagram of the use-case displays an extend connector and an extension point "Search".

Use-Case Model

Use-Case Example-Generalization Relationship

In the generalization relationship, the child use-case can inherit the meaning and behavior of the parent use-case. The child use-case is able to override and adds the parent's behavior. The below diagram is an example of generalization relationship in which two generalization connector is connected among three use-cases.

Use-Case Model

Use-Case Diagram-Vehicle Sales Systems

The below diagram displays an instance of a use-case diagram for a vehicle system. As we can also see, a system as much as one vehicle sales system contains not in excess of 10 use-cases, and it is the delicacy of use-case modeling.

Use-Case Model

The use of include and extend is also displayed by the use-case model. In addition, there are associations that link between the use-case and actors.

Use-Case Diagram-Student Management System

The below figure shows the working of the student management system:

Use-Case Model

In the above use-case diagram of the student management system, we have two actors and five use-cases. The name of the actors is Student and Teacher. The use-cases represent the definite functionality of the student management system. Every actor interacts with a specific use-case. The student actor is able to check the test marks, time-table and attendance. These are only 3 interactions that can be performed by the student actor; however various use-cases are also remaining in the system.

It is not must that every actor has to interact with each and every use-case, but it can happen.

In the diagram, the name of the second actor is a Teacher. Teacher is an actor that is able to interact with all the system's functionalities. The teacher actor is also able to update the student's marks as well as attendance. Theses interactions of student as well as teacher actors together summarize the whole student management application.

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