Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a MS SQL database that has been running strong for 10+ years.

I'd like to diagram the database structure, without spending hours laying it all out in Visio or something similar...

I've seen nice models diagrammed before, but I have no idea how they were created. From what I've seen - those models were created in advance of the database itself to assist in clarifying the relationships... but my database already exists!

Does anyone have any suggestions for methods I could employ to tease out a nice clean document describing my database structure?

share|improve this question
these were some helpful suggestions, thanks to all of you for your help. So far, I've been trying to work with the Visio suggestion by SKaiser... I'd completely overlooked that functionality - so I appreciate that a lot! Generally some great thoughts though - thanks all! – Ejoso May 17 '10 at 6:38
up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you already have Visio (Professional), it has a fantastic database modeling tool that can connect to your database and create an editable diagram from it. I have even used Visio to make diagrams that can then create databases (including relationships, constraints--just about everything).

Visio Standard and Professional comparison:

share|improve this answer

We have used SqlSpec successfully at my current place of employment. You should also be aware that SQL Server Management Studio can generate diagrams of databases as well.

share|improve this answer

I'm a big fan of Aqua Data Studio's Database query tool, which amongst dozens of other features has a very capable Entity-Relationship Modeler. This thing is amazing in support for just about every database, every operation and every common DBA task you can imagine.

(just a very satisfied user)

share|improve this answer

Toad has very powerful modeling components.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.