ArchiMate Model Exchange File Format for switching EA-models between the tools

Model Exchange

When modeling an Enterprise’s (organization’s) behavior and structure, there is a need for unified modeling language. There is one comprehensive standard language by Open Group, ArchiMate (link), that can be used for overall modeling of an enterprise. In addition, there are several modeling tools that support ArchiMate language. Now and then there is a need for transferring the models between the tools. Now this is possible with a standard mechanism, which makes it possible to export and import ArchiMate models between the tools.

ArchiMate Model Exchange File Format

Open Group has published (2015) an XML-based ArchiMate Model Exchange File Format that enables model exchange between EA-tools (

This standard can be utilized in several use cases such as:

  • Sharing the ArchiMate EA-models between different modeling tools
  • Transferring the ArchiMate EA-model to a repository (that supports the standard)
  • Generating an EA-model based on a pre-configured model file, which can be prepared programmatically – as the file format is based on a standard XML-format defined in XML-Schema.

Some of the EA-modeling tools support this standard already.  I have tested the model exchange from Sparx EA (v.13) to Archi (v.3). It works nicely! All the elements and their relations were moved correctly – as well as element positions in every distinct diagram in the model.  The layouts of the diagrams were also moved as expected. I succeeded to transfer IT4IT (2) model from Sparx EA to Archi. See the figures below.

Model Exchange Sparx EA.


Archi-tool and IT4IT ArchiMate model, imported from the Sparx EA.

Any special preliminary tasks are not necessary. However, I changed some Sparx EA specific model elements (namely “Boundaries”) to ArchiMate “Business Function” -elements, so that the IT4IT value chain can be expressed on Archi-tool with the yellow background elements. In fact, those elements represent the IT4IT value streams (S2P, R2D, R2F and D2C).

Sparx EA (v.13) supports the model exchange by providing options to “Generate” and “Import” under the “Publish” menu item named “ArchiMate 2” as shown in the figure below.

Sparx EA and ArchiMate 2 menu options: “Generate” and “Import”.

Archi-tool (v.3) supports the model exchange by providing Import and Export options under the File menu as shown in the figure below.

Archi-tool and File menu items “Import” and “Export”.