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Tip #16 – Can I put the same table in the diagram twice?

Yes, you can! Shortcuts combined with subject areas might completely change your approach to database modeling. They allow you to make your diagram much more structured, logically divided and readable. Let’s look at an example. At the beginning, we have a really standard database model for a shop.

Open your database model in Vertabelo:

Now, we’re going to use subject areas in the model. To start, let’s put the whole model in a subject area:

Change the subject area’s name to Main model and choose some color for it:

If you want to learn more on creating and formatting subject areas, read our previous Tip #15.

Back to the topic, we want to divide our model into three logical parts: Purchase, Client and Product. Start, for example, with the Purchase.

Create a new subject area and call it Purchase:

We don’t want to create a new table, but we’d like to somehow put an existing one in our new subject area, without moving it from Main model area. This is where shortcuts come in. Just select all purchase-related elements and copy them (use Ctrl+C for that):

Now, click Paste as shortcut in the top toolbar:

and move the shortcut tables inside the Purchase area:

As you can see, shortcut tables are dashed. If the table is dashed, it means that the same table occurs more than once in the diagram. You can remove the dashed occurence from the diagram and the table will still be in the model. On the other hand, if the table line is solid, then the table occurs exactly once in the diagram. If you removed the solid-lined table, you will remove it from the model completely.

Note that shortcuts are just shortcuts referencing a table – they merely point to some table and they are not the table themselves. We can have multiple shortcuts of one table.

Now, let’s create the Product and Client subject areas:

And finally, we put some relevant shortcut tables in these areas:

Now, we’re done. We divided our initial model to some categorical subject areas. Keep in mind that it was a really small model – think how much easier life can be when you use subject areas for large models!

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