Methods and apparatus for configuring process, environmental, industrial and other control systems generate and/or utilize models representing configurations of control systems and/or the systems controlled by them. Records of changes to the models or the configurations represented by them are maintained, thereby, for example, providing bases for determining current states, prior states and histories of changes. Objects in the model have characteristics, such as an object type characteristic and an area characteristic. Users can have corresponding permissions. A security mechanism apparatus controls access by users to the objects. Composite objects are defined by definition objects and are displayed in encapsulated or expanded formats. Objects can include an edit control type identifier that determines how they are presented for editing. Functionality responds to user commands by transferring characteristics of a first object depicted by the graphical user interface to a second object. Configuration-time formulas contained objects are evaluated to constants prior to downloading to the control system.