An entity relationship diagram, ER Diagram, or ERD, is a visual model of your database schema. It shows your tables as boxes, with connecting lines representing the relationships between them. It’s a great way to design a new relational database or make sense of and/or modify an existing one.
Top 7 tools for drawing your own ER Diagram
Generate an ER Diagram from your existing SQL database online, automatically
- Link: Trevor.io/create-an-er-diagram-online
- Price: free 14-day trial
Trevor.io is a BI tool used by startups and companies around the world. It’s great for exploring and visualizing data, and answering ad hoc questions, day-to-day.
Trevor.io has an impressive ER diagram tool that lets you add your existing database tables at the click of a button. Out of the box, Trevor detects your tables, columns, and joins (using foreign keys and also naming conventions) so your diagram stays automatically up-to-date. With features like zoom, and automatic highlighting of related tables and relationships, it’s easy to map even large diagrams very quickly and without having to draw anything yourself.
Draw ER diagrams using templates, symbols, and notations
- Link: Lucidchart.com/pages/examples/er-diagram-tool
- Price: free for single users (with limited shapes)
- See a video walkthrough here.
LucidChart is “the visual workspace for remote teams”. It’s an incredibly flexible tool, enabling you to model diagrams from scratch using templates, symbols, and notations. You can also import your own database to streamline ERD creation. LucidChart has plenty of collaboration options so you can work on the diagram with your teammates collectively (with features like sticky notes, comments, and mentions).
Design and visualize information systems, easily
- Link: Creately.com/lp/er-diagram-tool-online/
- Price: $4/month for individuals
- Try it without creating an account here.
Creately is a tool for drawing diagram, flowcharts, and mindmaps. It has an impressive shape library, complete with smart connectors and preset “handpicked” color palettes and styles, enabling you to build even complicated diagrams. You can also start from a template (see the screenshot above). Collaborating on the same document with teammates is possible and you can also share a read-only version for review. When teammates make updates, you’ll receive real-time updates – nice!
According to their website, Creately is already used by over 4 million people – woah!
Draw ER diagrams by just writing code.
DBDiagram lets you create your diagram simply by writing code, using dbdiagram’s own database markup language. SQL statements are generated to create your database tables, which speeds up actually creating the database you design. You can also export to images and also pdfs – woop! Share your diagrams online with your colleagues and customers with just one click.
Create Entity Relationship Diagrams, Relational Schemas, Star Schemas, and SQL DDL statements
ERDPlus is a web-based database modeling tool. You build your diagram by adding shapes and connecting lines, and can then export the generated SQL. ERDPLus has a somewhat dated design, but is held in high regard in the industry.
Create, visualize and collaborate on your database entity relationship diagrams
- Link: Drawsql.app
- Price: free (for public diagrams only, up to 15 tables)
A simple, well-designed tool to manually build your diagram or import from an existing database. They have a template gallery with over 200 diagrams to choose from. You can annotate tables and columns and also share a read-only version in ‘presentation mode’ – – super useful for explaining things to your teammates and other stakeholders.
Draw a database diagram by typing code
- Link: Quickdatabasediagrams.com
- Price: free (for public diagrams only, up to 10 tables)
- Try it without creating an account here.
QuickDBD lets you draw schemas rapidly just by typing, in a similar way to DBDiagram (above). Easily share your diagram with teammates via a simple share-link. Import a diagram from certain databases (MySQL, MariaDB, Oracle, SQL Server). Export the generated SQL to create the database you’ve designed.
There we have it!
The most relevant tool for you will depend on what you’re hoping to achieve.
If you’re modelling an existing database, want to get it done fast, and have it stay up to date, try Trevor.io.
If you’re creating something new and prefer code over a GUI, try QuickDBB or DBDiagram.
If you require more flexibility and have a bit more time to spend creating and maintaining your diagram, try LucidChart.