How to Create ER Diagram: Step by Step Tutorial

Last updated on February 11, 2022 by

Before designing a database, it’s essential to make a logical structure of the information in a graphical form first. You can do this using an Entity Relationship diagram, which is also known as an ER diagram. This form of diagram provides documentation and a logical way of visualizing data in a database by showing how the entities relate to each other. In order to create one, you will need a tool that has the building blocks for ER diagram. That being said, we listed the most accessible tools to create ER diagram. To cut the chase, here are the recommended tools for ER diagram creation.

5 Methods on How to Make ER Diagram

Using GitMind

GitMind is a data modeling tool to help you create ER diagrams online absolutely free. The program provides a GitMind is a data modeling tool to help you create ER diagrams free. The program provides an extensive amount of shapes library allowing you to produce various diagrams like ER diagrams, org charts, and flowcharts. Moreover, you can export the file as an image file and insert it into a document. Aside from that, you can also use the tool to create mindmaps to organize your ideas and collaborate with your team.

Moreover, if you prepare to work on a desktop for more stability then GitMind now offers a version that supports Windows and Mac OS. Now to demonstrate the process on how to create ER diagram online, you may refer to the quick steps below.

  • On your device, go to your favorite browser and visit the official page of the tool. Click the “Get Started” button to use the online tool. If you wish to use its desktop tool, download the software.
  • Then, click the “New Flowchart” to proceed to the editing panel.
new flowchart button
  • Click the “More Shapes” menu and add the shapes folder you need to create ER diagram. Select table to represent entities. Name each entity and identify its attributes.
more shapes folder
  • Finally, connect the entities and make sure to use the proper notation style to show how entities interact with each other. By sharing the link, you’re allowing your friends to see your work and give them access to edit it.
export er diagram and share link

Using Microsoft Word

The first tool is Microsoft Word. The tool does not only allows you to write and edit a document but also offers shapes and figures to create illustrations. With it, you will be able to create diagrams to generate visual representations of information, data, or ideas. This is possible using the app’s SmartArt graphic feature that helps you to design quality illustrations through templates. Learn how to create ERD by following the steps below.

  • In a new blank document open the “Insert” tab. Next, open the “SmartArt” option to choose a template. Alternatively, you can create from scratch using the shapes provided by the tool.
ms word smartart graphic
  • Determine the entities you need and get square shapes corresponding to the number of your entities. Add a diamond shape in between the entities and identify the relationship.
add entities and relationship
  • After that, connect the shapes using lines and then show the attributes of an entity by adding circle shapes to create ER diagram completely.
add attributes to entities

Using Microsoft Visio

Microsoft Office Enterprise has another product dedicated to designing diagrams. With Visio, you can create ERD with advanced graphic symbols and notation for ER diagrams. This will help you create a physical ER diagram that shows the fields, keys, cardinality, and ordinality in designing your database. However, you need to purchase this tool separately since it is not included in the MS Office Suite. Meanwhile, here’s a simple guide on how to make ER diagram using this tool.

  • Go to the official website of Microsoft and get the Visio installer. Open the installer and launch the app afterward.
ms visio installer
  • Open a new file and type in “Database” on the search bar. Select “Crow’s Feet Database Notation” from the templates available.
crow's foot database notation
  • Drag and drop the entities located on the left sidebar. Adjust the properties of the Entity by double-clicking on the Entities. Simply do the same procedure in defining the relationship of the entities.
insert entity and rename

Using DBDiagram

If you’re fond of writing codes, then this next method for making ER diagram is the one you might need. By using DBDiagram you can easily create ERD online through the tool’s markup language database. The SQL statements are then used to make database tables for the faster creation of your diagram. In managing your files, this DBDiagram provides various options such as Save and Share functions. While there’s also a function for exporting and importing. In creating an ER diagram via this tool here are the steps to follow.

  • Visit DBDiagram’s official page and click “Create your diagram”
DBdiagram interface
  • The editing panel will then be opened with a template that you can begin with. Simple key in the details you need for your ER diagram through the area provided on the left part of the tool.
start editing
  • For keeping the ERD that you created, you can simply click the Save button or hit the Share button located at the upper part of the editor. You can also access the Import and Export buttons from the same toolbar.
dbdiagram save

Using ERDPlus

The last way to create an ERD diagram is by utilizing this free tool called ERDPlus. This is a straightforward ER diagram maker that can be used by green hand users. Anyone can make their diagram easily by clicking the desired function and then arranging the elements via a spacious editor located just below the menu bar. Aside from that, Import and Export functions are also provided for easier access to your supplementary files.

  • Open your browser and go to ERDPlus’s main page and click “Try It”
ERDplus tool
  • The editor will be launched. From here, you can begin creating your ER diagram by choosing the function that you need from the menu bar provided just above the editor.
ERDplus edit
  • Additional options will be provided on the right portion of the app when you place an element into the editor. When you’re done editing, you can save your file by doing a right-click and then selecting “Save Image As”
ERDplus save


You don’t need any special application to create ER diagram. By using the tools above, you can build ER diagram in no time. Standard diagrams can be done with Word but it lacks tools for more detailed and comprehensive diagrams. The other two programs may help you in this regard. However, if you want to create ER diagram without installation and absolutely free, GitMind is obviously the best tool to use.

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Posted by: on to Tips and Resources. Last updated on February 11, 2022

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