Relation Diagrams

Anyone have any particular recommendations for a good tool for building diagrams of MySQL entity relations? I’m looking for something that will easily let me denote field X in table Y relates to field A in table B. MySQL Workbench looked promising, but it only seems to be good for definining relationships between primary keys and when my database definitions didn’t always have indexes on the columns I was trying to relate (small, glue tables where an index actually reduces efficiency) it got buggy as heck.

I’ve tried Dezign, but I want something that’ll label the relationships with column names.

There are quite a few QT/GTK/ KDE ones, but frankly they look really, really awful. Am I going to have to use Access? :)


Check out Toad Data Modeler (there’s a free version available somewhere). It doesn’t do exactly what you want, but you can fudge it by naming each relationship (eg “key1/key2”) and setting it to display relationship names.

Official site:

Visio ftw.

I’ve tried a million billion programs and oddly enough, none of them are worth anything.

IF it allows you to correctly document and change your structure, it probably can’t produce a hardcopy for print, or it does something flacky that makes you not trust it enough to actually use it for anything bigger than hello world (such as removing all constraints, only to add them again with some insane naming standard, only not constraining QUITE the same as what you started out with)

Visio is not much better necessarily, but at least it has semi-intelligent db-scans, and the UI is fairly flexible and fast.

I use Viso by hand no DB interaction. It’s a pain to initially set up, but for visuals it does a good job.

I’ve yet to find anything that will map out relations correctly and in a visually appealing manner.

Also I believe in maintaining the relationships in the code and not defined in the database. Makes code more portable between databases.

Hmm, are you sure the mySQL Workebench ‘Place a relationship using existing columns’ button isn’t what you’re looking for?
(its the bottom relationship icon with an eyedropper in the diagram view)

pffft. In my day we used Dia.

And we liked it!

I have to agree with the others, Visio is an easy way to lay out relational table/database designs, being able to show cardinality, keys (primary and foreign), data types, etc.

I used it for a massive RDB when in university, and it performed like a champ.

Troll answer: Use a pencil and a piece of paper.

Try Enterprise Architect from Sparxs Systems ( For the relative small price ($135-335) that tool is wonderful with full UML 2.1 support. Free trial and both Windows and Linux versions. Also free Lite edition to read-only, if you ever need to give your model to someone else to review. The GUI is great IMHO. Been using this for requirements, use case and domain class modelling for years.

As mentioned in internal mails recently (apparently unread): yEd.

Easy to use, able to do fancy very well (maybe not as fancy as you need), free.

I did use conceptdraw on the Mac a while back for something different (it has PC version I think). Now not sure that fits the bill as it wasn’t suitable for my purposes and I needed a different program.

Yes thought it did but it may not be sufficient for your needs.
It can build and create from a database structure but looks quite simplistic in areas as they are more business project orientated rather than programmer. Sorry just a bad brain wave.

Hey bloo that’s pretty cool, just the sort of thing many would use for planning, network / Project diagrams etc.

Free and runs on multiple platforms. Nice find.

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