Sometimes I need to draw a quick ER diagram and I do not want to spend too much time considering the layout, but rather just want to visualize it.

The other extra what I need that on DB theory class we computed, inferred ER model from functional dependencies. It was a quite complicated algorithm. Is it something like that on internet? So the input could be also the list of the dependencies.

It can be a mobile, desktop, or a web-app.


3 Answers 3


For such things I prefer Grapviz. You can list the dependencies in a simple plain-text file, and then have a choice of different processors to generate output. Best explained using an example:

digraph G {

hda -> hda1;
hda -> hda2;
hda -> hda3;
hda -> hda4;

run with the dot processor would generate something like this:

Graphviz example
Graphviz example (click image for larger variant)

Graphviz is supported by many tools, there are plugins for a lot of software products, and you also can use it stand-alone. For more details, you can also check the corresponding Wikipedia page.

Some further readings:

All the following stuff is using Graphviz:

  • Do you know is it a way to produce ER model if I have the functional dependencies as input?
    – János
    Dec 12, 2014 at 12:25
  • I've not explicitly worked with complex ER diagrams, so I'm not sure how far it goes. The example I've presented is just a very basic one, there are tons of ways to fine-tune (colors, fillings, labels, fonts, and more). Doing a Google image search on "graphviz ER" gives you a ton of examples to see whether it might fit your needs concerning possible results. Rails-ERD is a project using Graphviz for ER diagrams, maybe that might be worth a closer look.
    – Izzy
    Dec 12, 2014 at 12:33
  • 1
    János, I've updated my answer with some additional resources. As I've already mentioned, plenty of projects are using Graphviz the one or other way. I've collected some resources with relation to your question. Some of the examples might even be "separate answers" – but not having used any of them, I could not give any recommendations personally ;)
    – Izzy
    Dec 12, 2014 at 12:56

I generally use draw.io for drawing both ER and UML Diagrams. It's got a simple drag and drop interface useful for visualizing ER models on the go. It won't compute functional dependencies for you though.


I made my own simplified ER diagram drawer, you can download from App Store for free: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/draw-er-diagram/id935879437?mt=8

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