Best Database Design Software

If you want a high-performance database with searches that run fast then database design is essential. Putting time into designing your database will help you to avoid problems like inefficiency and high redundancy.

Using database design software makes your data accessible to your users by making it easier to build and optimize database designs.

Here is our list of the best database design software:

  1. Lucidchart – Our top pick for database design software. Database design tool with over 500 image templates, database importing, exporting, integrations, sharing, and more.
  2. DeZign for Databases – Database Modeling tool with a drag-and-drop editor, forward engineering, reverse engineering, synchronization, custom reports, and more.
  3. SqlDBM – Free database design tool with forward engineering, reverse engineering, team management, documentation exports, and more.
  4. dbForge Studio for SQL Server – Integrated development environment for database design with a visual query builder, schema comparison, synchronization, and more.
  5. DbDesigner – Free web-based database modeling tool with support for MySQL, MS SQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, SQLite, with forward and reverse engineering.
  6. DbSchema – Database diagram design tool with reverse engineering, schema synchronization, an SQL editor, design experts, a database forms/report builder, and more.
  7. Navicat Data Modeler – Database design software with forward engineering, reverse engineering, model conversion, database compare and synchronization, and more.
  8. SmartDraw – Web-based database diagram tool with automated entity-relationship diagrams, over 34,000 symbols, sharing, and more.
  9. Vertabelo – Browser-based database modeling tool with reverse engineering, sharing, ASQL script generation, live validation, and more.

The Best Database Design Software

The list includes a range of database design tools for Windows, macOS, and Linux that you can use to create, import, and optimize databases. We’ve included a mix of tools with forward and reverse engineering, with features including drag-and-drop editors, schema comparison and synchronization, and more.

1. Lucidchart

Lucidchart Data Flow Diagram

Lucidchart is a visual design tool that you can use to create database designs. The tool comes with over 500 templates that you can drag and drop from a library to build custom diagrams. You can also import database structures from MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, and SQL Server.

Database sharing enables you to share your designs with others and gather feedback. You can share live versions of designs through mediums including Confluence, Jira, G Suite, and Microsoft Office. Lucidchart can also integrate with a range of platforms including G Suite, Atlassian, Slack, Salesforce, and Microsoft Office.

To ensure that your designs are secured, Lucidchart does single sign-on with SAML 2.0 where charts are stored on your account. You also have the option to automatically grant members of a team approval for license requests.

Lucidchart is ideal for enterprises looking for a simple and low-cost database design tool. There is a free plan that allows you to edit three documents and choose from 100 templates. Paid versions start at $7.95 (£8.00) for the Individual plan. Available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. You can sign up for free.

Key features:

  • Over 500 templates
  • Import database structure
  • Export database designs
  • Share designs with Confluence, Jira, G Suite, and Microsoft Office
  • Single sign-on
  • Automatic license provisioning

2. DeZign for Databases

DeZign for Databases Teamwork Edition

DeZign for Databases is a database modeling tool that you can use to create and databases. DeZign for Databases provides entity-relationship diagrams that you can use to design databases. You can drag-and-drop entities into the canvas to build custom designs.

The platform provides users a mix of both forward engineering and reverse engineering. Meaning that it can generate databases from data models provided by you, or develop a graphical data model from an existing database. There is support for over 15 databases including Oracle, MySQL, MS SQL, and PostgreSQL.

Database and model synchronization allows you to compete and synchronize changes made to the model or database, enabling you to update changes more efficiently. Customizable HTML, Word, and PDF reports allow you to generate documentation of all your databases. You also have the option to export database diagrams as an image via png, jpeg, gif, bitmap, or Windows metafile.

DeZign for Databases is a reliable choice for enterprises looking for a cost-effective database creation tool. Prices start at $19 (£14.21) per month for DeZign for Databases Standard. It is available for Windows. You can start the 14-day free trial.

Key features:

  • Drag-and-drop editor
  • Forward engineering
  • Reverse engineering
  • Automatically generate Oracle, MySQL, MS SQL, and PostgreSQL database designs
  • Database and model synchronization
  • Reports

3. SqlDBM

SqlDBM AdventureWorks v25 - Diagram Explorer

SqlDBM is a free database design tool you can use to create database models. The platform allows you to use reverse engineering to import an SQL script to automatically create a database model or use forward engineering to create one from scratch.

To help you edit your databases, SqlDBM supports Alterscripts. Any edits you make to your database model can be monitored by comparing revisions. You can collaborate with other team members by selecting Project Collaborators. Selecting the Allow to Edit option grants users access level permissions.

The software also provides you with a number of features that allow you to create database documentation. For example, you can create specifications with images and export them to PNG.

SqlDBM is an excellent choice for enterprises trying to develop and maintain SQL databases at a low cost. The Free version supports one project and one table of forward engineering at a time. Paid versions start at $240 (£179.47) per year with unlimited projects, tables, and revisions. You can sign up for the software here.

Key features:

  • Forward engineering
  • Reverse engineering
  • Team management
  • Create documentation
  • Compare revisions

4. dBForge Studio for SQL Server

dbforge studio for SQL server

dbForge Studio for SQL Server is an integrated development environment you can use to design databases. dbForge Studio for SQL Server allows you to create database objects with a visual editor. Similarly, a query builder enables you to build and visualize design queries.

You also have the option to reverse engineer databases through drag-and-drop. For example, you can drag a database onto the canvas view and view database objects on the screen.

With database schema comparison and synchronization, you can manage projects more efficiently. For example, you can generate a schema synchronization script to complete updates, and automatically sync databases through the command line.

dbForge Studio for SQL Server is a solution designed for enterprises looking for a tool to create database designs for SQL Server. Pricing starts at $249.95 (£186.88) for the Essential features edition. It is available for Windows. You can download the free trial.

Key features:

  • Visual editor
  • Track database changes
  • Forward engineering
  • Reverse engineering
  • Compare and synchronize databases

5. DbDesigner

DbDesigner

DbDesigner is a free web-based database modeling tool you can use to design databases and schemas. To design a diagram you can create a UML diagram or import data from an external database. The platform is compatible with a range of database providers including MySQL, MS SQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, and SQLite, although reverse engineering is only supported for MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Oracle.

You can share access with other users by entering their email addresses. Adding the email address of other team members will allow them to leave live comments, making it easier to collaborate and make changes to designs. Once you’ve finished editing you can export your database design in PNG or PDF, and create a public view link.

You can manage all projects through the dashboard, where you can open, delete, archive, or copy existing projects and view a full version history of projects. You can also add or remove team members to projects.

DbDesigner is a great fit for teams looking for a browser-based database design tool. The free plan supports up to two database models and tables per model. Paid versions start at $6 (£4.49) per month with support for five database models, and 25 tables per model. You can start the free trial.

Key features:

  • Forward engineering
  • Reverse engineering
  • Compatible with MySQL, MS SQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, SQLite
  • Team management
  • Share databases with live comments
  • Export database design
  • Full version history

6. DbSchema

DbSchema

DbSchema is a database diagram design tool that you can use to design and manage databases. With DbSchema you can reverse engineer schemas from existing databases. A range of DBMS is supported including SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL Oracle, Redshift, Cassandra, and MongoDB.

Schema synchronization allows you to modify databases schemas and synchronize them automatically when you connect to a database. An SQL editor provides syntax highlighting to make it easier to edit your databases.

You can also execute SQL queries and scripts to view the results as tables and text files. Once you’ve completed a query you can export the result as a CSV or XLSX file. There is also a graphical plan, which you can use to view query execution plans.

You can import data to your database from multiple file types including CSV, XML, XLS, and XLSX. For further design options, you can use the Forms & Reports engine to design database forms and reports. The forms are run as web applications with Bootstrap.

DbSchema is worth researching for enterprises in search of a feature-rich database design tool. The Personal License costs $127 (£94.99) and supports one user. It is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. You can start the 15-day free trial.

Key features:

  • Reverse engineer
  • Schema synchronization
  • SQL editor
  • Data importer
  • Database forms and reports designer

7. Navicat Data Modeler

Navicat Data Modeler

Navicat Data Modeler is a database design tool that you can design database models with database objects including tables, notes, images, shapes, layers, foreign keys, and more. The platform supports forward and reverse engineering and is compatible with MySQL, SQL Server, Oracle, PostgreSQL, SQLite, and Maria DB.

When designing models you can use Model Conversion to change model types from a Conceptual (Business Model), to a Logical (Technical Model), or Physical (Technical Model). Switching model types allows you to take a closer look at the relationships of linked entities so that you can make more informed design changes.

Database comparison and synchronization allow you to monitor the differences between databases and create a synchronization script to update them. You can also use SQL code generation to create SQL code for your database. All designs can be accessed anywhere in real-time through the Navicat Cloud.

Navicat Data Modeler is worth researching if you need a tool that provides access to database designs in the cloud. Prices start at $229.99 (£172.07) per year. It is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. You can download the 14-day free trial.

Key features: 

  • Forward engineering
  • Reverse engineering
  • Model conversion
  • Database compare and synchronization
  • Access designs through the Navicat Cloud

8. SmartDraw

SmartDraw

SmartDraw is an online database diagram tool designed for creating database diagrams. With SmartDraw, you can automatically generate diagrams by exporting data from an existing database with the Automatic ERD Extension. Once the diagram has been generated you can edit your entity relationship diagram by dragging objects to where you want them to go.

In terms of design options, SmartDraw has a massive library of over 34,000 symbols, with 70 diagram types, and more than 4,500 templates. While not all of these options are intended for database design there is more than enough to work with for mapping entity relationships.

When you’ve finished working on a design you can share it with apps like Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, and OneDrive. Diagrams can also be exported as a PDF or as part of a Microsoft Office or G Suite application. SmartDraw is also compatible with tools like Confluence, Jira, and Trello so that it integrates with your wider operations.

SmartDraw is suitable for enterprises that want a simple online database design tool. The tool costs $9.95 (£7.44) for a single user or $5.95 (£4.45) for five-plus users. You can sign up for the software.

Key features:

  • Over 34,000 symbols
  • Forward engineering
  • Reverse engineering
  • Share your designs
  • Compatible with Confluence, Jira, and Trello

9. Vertabelo

Vertabelo

Vertabelo is a browser-based database modeling tool that allows you to reverse engineer database diagrams automatically by using a command-line tool. The platform is compatible with widely-used databases including Oracle, MySQL, SQLite, IBM DB2, SQL Server, Amazon Redshift, and PostgreSQL.

You can share database models by adding the email address of other team members to invite them to work on the document. Designate team members as Owner, Editor, or Viewer to determine whether they can edit or view. You can also share the models from a public link, which you can send to others by email.

SQL script generation allows you to create SQL scripts to create and remove elements from your database. When designing your database design, live validation validates the model and provides you with hints on how to improve it. Live validation is useful for helping to optimize database design.

Vertabelo is a good choice for enterprises looking for a competitively priced browser-based database modeling tool. Prices start at $7 (£5.24) per month for up to five database models and 25 tables per model. You can start the 7-day free trial.

Key Features: 

  • Forward engineering
  • Reverse engineering
  • Share database models
  • Generate SQL script
  • Live validation

Best Database Design Software: Editor’s Choice 

Database design tools are useful tools for building databases quickly and painlessly. Out of the tools we’ve looked at on this list Lucidchart, DeZign for Databases, and SqlDBM stand out as tools that provide you with all the features you need to create diagrams efficiently while remaining competitively priced.

However, to find the best fit for your enterprise we recommend trying out at least one free trial before committing to purchase so you can see which tool suits your needs the best.