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I would like to have a good tool for designing the Database Schema with all the tables, columns, data types and relations. Today I mostly do this with pen and paper but I would like to do it in a good design tool.

Is there any good (and maybe free) Database Design tool?

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More for ER than for prototyping (never heard it in the context of databases): If you are on MySQL, try MySQL Workbench. Although it generates MySQL specific code, small adjustments are easily made.

For PostgreSQL, there is a nice list in their wiki, PGDesigner lookes very capable. Furthermore, there will be a Designer in future versions of pgAdmin.

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I started using NORMA (link fixed Oct 2011) which is useful to capture the relationships and constraints in plain English. See Object Role Modelling too.

This will generate XSDs and SQL scripts.

I hope never to see an ERD ever again...

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I used in the past the Power Designer (or Q Designer back in those days). It was terrific! Had reverse engineering facilities, script generation.. everything you'd need. But it's not free.

A free tool I've used a bit in the past was DB Designer. But I could use it only for small dbs. Had errors back then working with complicated schema designs, but it was few years ago, so I'm sure it was fixed.

Now I use only SQL Server's own diagramming tool.

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MySQL Workbench is a great free tool.

Another option is SQL Server's diagramming, which is included with Express, so you could try that for free as well.

Embarcadero's ER/Studio has a free trial. It is a more complete solution (read, expensive) in that it supports logical and physical modeling. ER/Studio is an incredible product that is worthy of its pricetag if you do a lot of design.

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I have used both MySQL Workbench, Toad Data Modeler, and Oracle's SQL Developer Data Modeler. Any one of them would be a good place to start.

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You can use Vertabelo. Vertabelo is an online database designer working under Chrome and Safari developed by company I work for.

The most important feature of this tool is that it allow to share database models across the team and collaborate on them via web browser.

Others Vertabelo features include:

  • Support for PosgreSql, MySQL, Oracle, MS SQL Server, DB2, SQLite, HSQLDB
  • Model versioning
  • Dynamic/Visual search
  • Live database model validation
  • Forward engineering
  • Reverse engineering

Vertabelo is free to use for academic projects and have commercial versions for larger database projects.

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