How to Create ER Diagram: Step by Step Tutorial

Last updated on August 24, 2021 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 ER diagram that 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.

3 Methods to Create ER Diagram

Create ER Diagram in 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 make ER diagram 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

Create ER Diagram in Microsoft Visio

Microsoft Office Enterprise has another product dedicated for designing diagrams. With Visio, you can create ERD with advanced graphic symbols and notation for ER diagram. This will help you create 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

Create ER Diagram in GitMind

GitMind is a data modeling tool to help you create ER diagrams online absolutely 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. 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 build 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


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 a 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 August 24, 2021

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