I want to have an export from my database diagram to PDF or image types. How can I do this?
I worked with SQL Server 2008 R2.


5 Answers 5


There is no direct way to transform the standard SQL Server diagram to a PDF or an image file type. Actually there is no simple way to export the diagram from within the tool.

You can, however, save it externally and send it to someone by:

  • print to a file printer (an .xps file) which is formatted like a pdf and an XPS file viewer exists on any windows machine;
  • open the diagram and right click somewhere in the middle and you'll have there the option to "Copy diagram to clipboard". From here you paste to MSPaint or another image creator and save to wanted format;

Not very straightforward, but can do the job.

  • 4
    The PDF/XPS printing gives you a big jigsaw puzzle for anything other than tiny diagrams. For sharing with other users, I have been sometimes zooming out and doing screen shots for them. Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 19:14
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    @DanCsharpster is right on about printing to PDF. I happen to have an Adobe subscription so my solution for the multi-page output was to then open the pages in Photoshop from PDF. I then use the marquee tool to select/copy the portion of the diagram that I want from each of those pages, and paste it into a new Photoshop document with a large enough page size for the entire diagram. Then, after creating all these layers, nudge them so that they line up. Voila - save from Photoshop in your preferred format. Commented Jan 16, 2022 at 15:01

SQL Server Management Studio has a very easy way to have everything on one page!

Simply right click on the diagram area, and choose "Copy Diagram to Clipboard"! You want to zoom in first; If you're zoomed out you'll get pixelation when you paste as it copies the entire diagram to clipboard at your current zoom level.

Once you've copied the image, you can paste it into Paint and save it as any picture type you want.


SchemaCrawler is a free tool that can create database diagrams in PDF format, with help from GraphViz. You can search for tables that you want to include in your

Sualeh Fatehi, SchemaCrawler

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    Being a CLI-app, some heavy lifting is needed. Result is beautiful and usable. Thanks for this tip! Commented Nov 15, 2023 at 11:14

in SQL management 2012, under Database Design menu... select "Copy Diagram To Clipboard"... paste into any program which will let you print or save to PDF.


This is super easy and free to do in Windows 10+. Simply use the built-in Snipping Tool when viewing the Database Diagram by pressing Windows Key + Shift + S. Be sure to zoom in to an appropriate level in the diagram before capturing the screen region you're interested in. Once you've snipped the image, simply paste it into the destination document, or save it directly from the Snipping Tool.

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