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Top 7 Entity Relationship (ER) Diagram Online Tools

Are you searching for the best online ER diagram tool? Read on and discover our top picks.

Data modeling is one of the most critical parts of a software project. Database architects use ER diagrams (also called ERDs or Entity Relationship Diagrams) as a data modeling technique.

Many ER diagram tools are available, but choosing the best tool for your project can be hard. Still, your data model is a key factor in the success of your entire project; it’s important to get it right. So, how can you choose the most powerful and suitable ERD diagram online tool, one that fulfills all your development requirements and fits in your budget?

What Features Should an Online ERD Tool Have?

First, we will consider the features that you should expect from an online ER diagram app. (During these days of remote teams and social distancing, we’re going to focus on online ERD solutions). When evaluating a new ERD tool, ask yourself:

  • How will this work through the entire database design process?
  • Does it support different DBMSs and reverse engineering?
  • How does it manage changes?
  • How does it enable collaborative development work with my team?
  • Does it allow me to export my work to different formats?
  • Can I import existing work from different formats?

Let’s compare the features of a few top-rated ER diagram online tools and see how they support database design.

My Top Picks for Online Entity Relationship Diagram Tools

1. Vertabelo

Vertabelo

Vertabelo is a professional database modeling tool that lets you design a data model collaboratively in the browser. It supports these databases:

  • PostgreSQL
  • IBM DB2
  • Oracle Database
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • MySQL
  • HSQLDB
  • SQLite
  • Amazon Redshift
  • BigQuery

Sharing a model or working with a remote team using Vertabelo is simple as providing a team member’s email address and clicking a button. There is also an option to create and send a public link to your model.

Vertabelo’s handy features include reverse engineering (lets you import an existing database using a simple command-line tool) and migration script generation, which generates a script that creates, changes, or drops database elements according to your data model. Instant automatic saving, live validation, versioning, cloning, and SQL previews make your workflow easier.

Vertabelo

This ER diagram tool has a friendly user interface and navigation options that make your modeling tasks easy and efficient. And it provides XML export and import functionality as well.

Vertabelo

2. Lucidchart

Lucidchart

Lucidchart is a multi-purpose online solution that supports many types of diagrams, including ER diagrams.

Lucidchart allows you to either create an ERD or generate one automatically by importing data. When you create a data model manually, Lucidchart provides templates and an ERD shape library (which you must enable from the shape manager).  This program will export your model to DBMS queries and supports the following databases:

  • MySQL
  • Oracle
  • PostgreSQL
  • SQL Server
  • Salesforce

If you have a Lucidchart operational account, you can model your data collaboratively from anywhere in the world.

3. Visual Paradigm Online

Visual Paradigm Online

Visual Paradigm’s online diagramming app lets you create conceptual, logical, and physical data models. This tool also has all the ERD symbols and connectors needed to create industry-standard models. With VP, you can:

  • Work with your team collaboratively online, or
  • Download the software and work without collaboration on your personal computer.

You can start your data model from scratch or use a template. Visual Paradigm supports reverse engineering to import your database from DDL (Data Definition Language) and forward engineering to create the DDL or database from your ERD. Automatic foreign key generation when you create an ERD is a nice touch.

Finally, a wide range of relational databases – including Oracle, DB2, Microsoft SQL Server, Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise, Sybase SQL Anywhere, MySQL, HSQLDB, Cloudscape/Derby, and PostgreSQL – work with Visual Paradigm.

4. Draw.io

Draw.io

Draw.io is a perfect online ER diagram tool if you like to design your database manually, starting from scratch. However, you can save your own templates and reuse them later with this program.

This tool is free if you want to draw your diagrams online. It comes with all the required tools and shapes to design your final diagram without much hassle. You can save your designs in Cloud storage (e.g. Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, etc.) and share them with others. Or you can store your work in your local drive if collaboration isn’t an issue.

This online ER Diagram tool lets you insert entities by copying SQL codes to a text file and importing them. It does not provide a feature to generate SQL script from the diagram, so consider this more of a drawing tool and not a full database modeling tool.

5. Microsoft Visio

Microsoft Visio

Microsoft Visio Online is also considered one of the best ER diagramming tools because of its simple platform and user-friendly interface. You can choose between the web app and the desktop app according to your requirements.

This tool comes with more features like easy customization and a document-sharing option for users and non-users.

Visio supports multiple data sources for reverse engineering, including Excel workbooks, Access databases, SharePoint foundation lists, SQL Server databases, Exchange Server directories, Azure Active Directory information, and other OLEDB or ODBC data sources. Just like Draw.io, this tool does not provide a feature to generate SQL scripts, so it should not be seen as a full database modeling tool.

6. Gliffy

Gliffy

This is another easy-to-use online ER diagramming platform. It helps registered users create entity relationship diagrams collaboratively with their teams.

With Gliffy there are a number of templates available to speed up your process. The tool has a basic drag and drop feature for easy diagramming.

Gliffy also allows you to access previous versions and import or export diagrams. Popular export formats include JPG, PNG, and SVG.

On the other hand, Gliffy does not support the generation of SQL script, so it should be seen as a drawing tool.

7. SqlDBM ER Diagram Online Tool

SqlDBM ER Diagram Online Tool

This ERD diagram tool is also described as a SQL database manager. As a Cloud-based data modeling tool, SqlDBM can be accessed from anywhere in the world. It’s relatively uncomplicated and simplifies your database development process. You can design conceptual, logical, and physical data models and then apply them to your database with just a few clicks.

SqlDBM incorporates database rules and objects (e.g. database keys, schemas, indexes, column constraints, and relationships) It works with the most popular databases and Cloud data warehouses, including Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics, Snowflake, Amazon Redshift.

The SqlDBM reverse engineering feature creates a graphical representation of the selected database objects and the relationships between them. This allows you to redesign your database structure to suit your requirements.

Find Your Best Entity Relationship Diagram Tool

Online ER diagramming has evolved over the years. Many platforms and tools offer competitive features at affordable prices. Online platforms are more feasible for modern software projects, as they more readily adapt to remote and distributed teams.

When choosing an online ER diagram tool, make sure it supports a wide range of DBMSs and offers labor-saving features like reverse engineering and migration script generation. User-friendly interfaces, import and export features that support popular formats, and integrated notations and ER shapes all make a database architect’s work easier.

And, last but not least, consider the cost-effectiveness of your ERD tool; see how the competition stacks up in terms of the features available at different price tiers.

What traditional or online ER diagramming tools do you use? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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