ER Diagram Tool

Generate ER diagrams automatically and visualize your database

The Easy Choice for Database Modeling

Easy to Generate Automatically

Use SmartDraw to visualize your database structure automatically. Simply take a CSV of your table definitions and launch the ERD visualizers in SmartDraw to generate a relational database schematic with all the proper notations. No drawing required!

Easy to Draw

If you want to conceptualize relationships and structure before your database is set up, SmartDraw can help you create entity relationship diagrams (ERD) manually too with built-in ERD symbols, all the relevant notations, and intuitive, but powerful tools. You can easily build an ER diagram by connecting shapes to new shapes using an intelligent pop-up menu of ERD symbols and define cardinality with an intelligent ERD cardinality selector.

ERD Symbols

Easy to Work With Other Apps

SmartDraw is easy to work with no matter what other apps you use. You can add ER diagrams to:

  • Microsoft Office®
    • Word®
    • PowerPoint®
    • Excel®
  • Microsoft Teams®
  • Google Workspace
    • Google Docs
    • Google Sheets
  • Atlassian apps
    • Confluence
    • Jira

Easy to Save to Your Existing Storage Solution

SmartDraw works hand in glove with most file storage systems. You can save your ER diagrams directly to:

  • SharePoint®
  • OneDrive®
  • Google Drive
  • Egnyte®
  • DropBox®
  • Box®

There is no need to create a parallel set of common folders and permissions, SmartDraw can just save files directly into your existing set up. You can spend less time managing software and more time on making ER diagrams.

Easy to Share

Share your ER diagram with anyone, even if they don't own a copy of SmartDraw, with a link. You can also easily export any diagram as a PDF or common image formats like PNG or SVG.

Easy to Share

Easy to Get Help

Have a question? Chat or email us. SmartDraw support is in-house and free!

Easy to Get Help

Easy Collaboration

SmartDraw makes it easy to work with a team. You can collaborate with business analysts and engineers to get feedback and comments on both conceptual and logical ER diagrams as well as physical database schemas.

Work together on designing, debugging, and planning your database structure. You can save your ERD to a shared folder or send anyone a link.

SmartDraw also works where you already communicate with your team. You can collaborate on plans in Microsoft Teams®, Slack or Confluence.

You can use SmartDraw's ER diagram tool from troubleshooting to designing with ease.

Collaborate on ERD

Our ER Diagram Tool Features

  • Import database data
  • SQL, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle
  • Include tables and fields
  • Support primary and foreign keys
  • ERD templates & symbols
  • Crow's foot notation
  • IE and IDEF1X notation
  • Export as PDF, PNG, or SVG
  • Works with Google Workspace
  • Works with with Microsoft Office®
  • Works with Microsoft Teams®
  • Works with 3rd party storage providers

How to Generate an ERD from Data

Step 1

Get Your Data

Export a CSV of your table definitions from your database server. You can use one of our scripts to help you get started. Click here for help preparing your data.

Step 2

Generate Your Relational Database Schema

In SmartDraw, choose the Automatic ERD (Database Diagram) in the Extension section of the template dialog. When prompted import the CSV file with your table definitions. Select the columns and types you want to visualize and click "Build Diagram". The database diagram generated is going to be fully editable.

How to Draw an ER Diagram Online

Step 1

Identify the Entities

The first step in making an ERD is to identify all of the entities you will use. An entity is nothing more than a rectangle with a description of something that your system stores information about. This could be a customer, an invoice, a schedule, etc. Draw a rectangle for an entity and connect it to another entity by drawing a line and choosing another entity from the pop-up menu of symbols.

Step 2

Identify Relationships

How are the entities related? Add a diamond shape between any entities that are related with a brief description of how they are related. Connect the entities to the relationship with a line.

Step 3

Add Entity Attributes

Add any key attributes of your entities by connecting the entity to an oval-shaped symbol with a brief description of the attribute.

Step 4

Define Cardinality

You can quickly select the right cardinality notation from the ERD arrowheads modal.

See Why SmartDraw is the Best ER Diagram Tool

The main reason more software developers choose SmartDraw is the breadth and depth of content included. This means lots of ERD templates and other software design diagrams to help you collaborate with your engineers and make sure everyone stays on the same page.

You can choose an automatic template and generate your ER diagram using data from your database or choose one of the manual ERD templates included and design your database from scratch.

Spend more time coding and less time struggling to conceptualize a design. Let SmartDraw's ERD tool make it easy.

Watch the video to see how you can create an ER diagram automatically with SmartDraw.

What is an Entity Relationship Diagram (ERD)?

ERD stands for entity relationship diagram. An ER diagram is used to visualize the relationships between entities in a database. This is useful for engineers hoping to either document a database as it exists for troubleshooting or to sketch out a design of a new database.

An ER diagram can help business analysts and engineers debug, troubleshoot, and analyze, as well as gather design requirements, spot inefficiencies and flaws, and engage in business process re-engineering.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About ERD

Why make an ER diagram?

An entity-relationship diagram, or ER diagram, models the logical relationships between entities and thereby can help engineers troubleshoot issues or discover inefficiencies in existing database designs.

These diagrams can also help engineers design new databases and make sure they can uncover design flaws before they're implemented in production.

What are the symbols in an ERD?

An ER diagram will consist of three basic symbols: rectangle, oval and diamond to represent entities, attributes, and relationships.

ERD Relationship Types

There will be multiple instances of each entity in a database. Cardinality allows you express the number of each entity that can be associated with another entity.

For example, in an employee database, a manager will have multiple employee reports (in a one to many relationship), but an employee will only have one ID number (a one to one relationship).

There are three main types of relationships in a database expressed using cardinality notation in an ER diagram:
- one-to-one
- one-to-many
- many-to-many

ER Diagram Rules

There are three rules for making ERDs.
1. An entity should appear only once in a particular diagram.
2. Don't connect relationships to each other. Relationships should only appear between two entities.
3. Name every entity, relationship, and attribute on your diagram.

Can I import my database schema?

Yes, SmartDraw supports importing data to generate an ER diagram. Learn more here.

What are ERD models?

Entity Relationship models can vary based on the level of abstraction visualized: conceptual, logical, and physical.

Entity Relationship Diagram (ERD) Symbols

There are three main symbol types used in ER diagrams. Rectangles that represent entities, ovals that represent the attributes of entities, and diamonds for describing the relationship between entitities.

Every ER diagram will also need lines connecting attributes to entitities and linking entities with relationships to each other.

Cardinality in ER diagrams have multiple different style of notations. There's Chen style, IE or Crow's foot notation, and Bachman style. SmartDraw supports all common ER diagram notations.

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AT&T logo
Cisco logo
Honeywell logo
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