Database Administrators Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for database professionals who wish to improve their database skills and learn from others in the community. Join them; it only takes a minute:

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 am DBA for a Microsoft SQL Server 2008r2. Due to an audition, I need to provide data structure of my database, to people without an explicit IT background. I guess they would like the traditional format, with the tables as rectangles, with the fields listed inside, and the arrows between them to represent foreign keys. Is this something that is provided out-of-the-box by Microsoft?

share|improve this question
In addition to @gbn's answer, please see this answer on how you can export it in a format that can be exported outside SSMS. – Marian May 13 '13 at 8:39
up vote 5 down vote accepted

In SQL Server Management Studio Object Explorer, expand a database and look at "Database Diagrams" to create one.

This require db_owner rights which you should have as a DBA (a.k.a sysadmin)

share|improve this answer
That looks good, but my database has 263 tables, how will they ever fit? – carlo.borreo May 13 '13 at 8:56
@carlo.borreo: You still have 263 tables to show with columns and relationships no matter what tool you use. This is your requirement. However, I would create several diagrams to cover clusters of related tables, even if it means repeating tables on some diagrams – gbn May 13 '13 at 9:36
Most of the tables are connected. Is it acceptable to have tables divided in clusters, even if this means forgetting the references from the cluster to outside of it? – carlo.borreo May 13 '13 at 10:16
@carlo.borreo: I would personally, but I can't speak for your audiotirs – gbn May 13 '13 at 10:24

If you can present it in a file format and not as a diagram, then have a look at DBScribe

I am particularly fond of the .CHM type output file, as it lists not only the tables with columns and data type, but also gives links to the dependencies.


share|improve this answer

I ended up using a combination of Techwriter and of Server Studio's own database diagrams.

share|improve this answer

SchemaCrawler for SQL Server is a free tool that generates diagrams of tables selected by means of regular expressions. I recommend that you generate more than one diagram, per "domain" in your system - for example, one diagram each for customers, sales, orders.

Here is an example diagram: SchemaCrawler Diagram

In addition, SchemaCrawler can also generate human readable HTML documentation of your schema.

Sualeh Fatehi, SchemaCrawler

share|improve this answer

It's not a direct solution your request but once you will have diagrams you can paste them into Dataedo documentation and generate nicely formatted document for auditors. It will have detailed documentation of all database objects (with descriptions imported from DBMS) and your diagrams. You will be able to furtner descibe any other elelment.

Sample documentation: PDF

enter image description here

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.