Entity-Relationship Diagram (ERD)

An Entity-Relationship Diagram (ERD) is a visual presentation of entities and relationships. That type of diagrams is often used in the semi-structured or unstructured data in databases and information systems.

At first glance ERD is similar to a flowchart, but it has specialized symbols and the meanings of those symbols, which make it applicable in the database models designing. An ERD is another best practice to define business processes and the foundation for a relational database.

An ERD is a general result of methodical analysis to determine and depict what is significant to processes in a business circle. It only shows a business data schema in the vector graphical form. The first step of the information system construction takes these models during the requirements analysis. The data modeling mechanism can be applied to build any logical data model, such as the relational model, and this is mapped to a real model during design.

This solution extends ConceptDraw PRO software with the ability to describe a database using the Entity-Relationship model.

This solution includes icons advocated by Chen's and Crow's Foot notation that can be used when describing a database.

The vector graphic diagrams produced when using this solution can be employed in your white papers, presentations, data sheets, posters, or any technical material.


There are 2 stencil libraries containing 45 vector graphics for Entity-Relationship Diagram (ERD) solution.

Design Elements — Chen ERD

Design Elements Entity-Relationship Diagram (ERD) - Chen

Design Elements — Crow's Foot ERD

Design Elements — Crow's Foot ERD

Examples

The samples you see on this page were created in ConceptDraw PRO using the Entity-Relationship Diagram (ERD) solution, and demonstrate some of the solution's capabilities and the results you can achieve.

All source documents are vector graphic documents. They are available for reviewing, modifying, and converting to a variety of available formats (PDF file, MS PowerPoint, MS Visio, and many other graphic formats) from the Solution Park, for all users who have installed the Entity-Relationship Diagram (ERD) solution.

Example 1: Entity-Relationship Diagram Using Chen's Notation

This diagram was created in ConceptDraw PRO using the Chen ERD library from the Entity-Relationship Diagram (ERD) solution. An experienced user spent 20 minutes creating this sample.

This sample diagram using the Entity-Relationship Diagram (ERD) Solution shows the type of icons and graphics you can use to develop a model of a database of arbitrary complexity according to Chen's notation.

This diagram example was redrawn from en.wikipedia.org using ConceptDraw PRO software enhanced with ConceptDraw ERD solution.

Entity-Relationship Diagram Using Chen's Notation

Example 2: Entity-Relationship Diagram Using Crow's Foot Notation

This diagram was created in ConceptDraw PRO using the Crows Foot ERD library from the Entity-Relationship Diagram (ERD) solution. An experienced user spent 20 minutes creating this sample.

This sample diagram using the Entity-Relationship Diagram (ERD) Solution and shows the type of icons and graphics you can use to develop a model of a database of arbitrary complexity using Crow's Foot notation.

This diagram example was redrawn from http://www2.cs.uregina.ca using ConceptDraw PRO software enhanced with ConceptDraw ERD solution.

Entity-Relationship Diagram Using Crow's Foot Notation

Example 3: Entity-Relationship Diagram — WordPress File Reference

This diagram was created in ConceptDraw PRO using the ERD, Chen’s Notation Library from the Entity-Relationship Diagram (ERD) Solution. An experienced user spent 10 minutes creating this sample.

This sample shows an Entity-Relationship Diagram of a WordPress file reference using Chen’s Notation, which represents the entities as rectangles and attributes as ovals. Creating similar diagrams in ConceptDraw PRO will take just minutes.

Entity-Relationship Diagram —  WordPress File Reference

Example 4: Entity-Relationship Model Diagram

This diagram was created in ConceptDraw PRO using the ERD, Crow’s Foot Notation Library from the Entity-Relationship Diagram (ERD) Solution. An experienced user spent 15 minutes creating this sample.

This sample demonstrates an entity-relationship model diagram. Highlight the boxes in the ERD diagram with bright colors to make it attractive and easy to remember.

Entity-Relationship Model Diagram

Example 5: Entity-Relationship Diagram — Students and Teachers

This diagram was created in ConceptDraw PRO using the ERD, Crow’s Foot Notation Library from the Entity-Relationship Diagram (ERD) Solution. An experienced user spent 15 minutes creating this sample.

This Entity-Relationship Diagram shows the relationships between the Students and Teachers entities. Drawing all entities of ER-diagram in one color spectrum, highlighting the headers, you will make your diagram look stylish and then successfully use it in different conferences, discussions, publications.

Entity-Relationship Diagram — Students and Teachers

Inside

Entity-Relationship Diagram (ERD) Solution for macOS

Entity-Relationship Diagram (ERD) Solution for Microsoft Windows

What I Need to Get Started

Install ConceptDraw PRO and the “Entity-Relationship Diagram (ERD)” solution, open Software Development area of ConceptDraw Solution Park and purchase from our online store. You may use “Entity-Relationship Diagram (ERD)” solution now.

Entity-Relationship Diagram (ERD) Solution — Buy

How to install

Download and install ConceptDraw STORE and ConceptDraw PRO. Next, install the “Entity-Relationship Diagram (ERD)” solution using ConceptDraw STORE.

Entity-Relationship Diagram (ERD) Solution - Install

Start using

Entity-Relationship Diagram (ERD) Solution - Start Using

Entity-Relationship Diagrams

Creating an entity-relationship (ER) model is to visually represent the structure of a business database, where data equates to entities (or objects) that are linked by defined relationships expressing dependencies and requirements. By nature it is an abstract visualization, the first step in the design process towards creating a logical and functional database.

The original concept was formalized by Peter Chen, the influential computer scientist who wrote The Entity-Relationship Model – Towards a Unified View of Data. This paper provided structured notation for database models – it remains a well-used standard to this day, but other notations, such as Bachman, Barker, or Martin, have been devised to handle specific database requirements.

Chen ERD notation

The Chen ERD notation, take from ConceptDraw’s Entity-Relationship Diagram solution

Entity-relationship diagrams (ERD) follow the common three-schema approach to software engineering, with three levels of abstraction being used to define an ER model.

Conceptual data model — A conceptual data model is the most abstract view of a data model. It offers a complete overview of a business area, including all significant business entities, and describing their relationships.

It omits further levels of detail, including data types and interface definitions, making it suitable as a means of presenting an initial business idea to a wide range of stakeholders.

Logical data model — Using this model a higher level of detail is established, with data entities describes as master, operational or transactional, and the relationships between them more precisely defined. This is the testing phase of a data model, where functionality can be observed independently of physical specifications.

Entity-Relationship Diagram

An ERD showing entities with their primary keys, made using ConceptDraw PRO

Physical data model — At this point data modellers start to take into account the physical constraints of the database area. Important factors to consider are database performance, physical storage space, and indexing strategy. Diagram notations will fully define all tables and columns, indexes, constrain definitions, and any linking or partitioned tables.

Creating an ERD requires choosing a specific set of notations that best serve the specific database being designed. Chen’s original notation had a linguistic approach, where boxes representing entities could be thought of as nouns, and the relationships between them were in verb form, shown on a diagram as a diamond.

Eventually Chen’s style was adapted into the crow’s foot notation, where relationships were shown as single labelled lines – this quickly became the popular standard, due to improved readability on diagrams, with a more efficient use of space on the page.

Crow’s Foot ERD notation

The crow’s foot ERD notation, take from ConceptDraw’s Entity-Relationship Diagram solution

Most other notation systems are adaptations, or use part of these original styles. Here is a brief list of some of the other standards that have been developed:

  • Bachman notation
  • Barker’s notation (ERDs for Oracle)
  • EXPRESS and EXPRESS-G notation
  • IDEFX1
  • UML class diagrams
  • Merise
  • Object role modelling
  • (min – max) notation

ERDs are an invaluable tool for software engineers, particularly since computing capacity, and thus data storage capacity, has markedly increased in recent years. They allow every aspect of database design to be managed, tested and communicated before implementation. Because ERDs have such a broad scope of influence across database activities, it’s imperative the standardized notation can be utilized and interpreted by a wide variety of stakeholders.

Entity-Relationship Diagram

A model of a computer game server database, made with the ERD solution for ConceptDraw

To create an ERD, software engineers will mainly turn to dedicated drawing software, which will contain the full notation resources for their specific database design. CS Odessa has released an all-inclusive solution for their powerful drawing program, ConceptDraw PRO. The Entity-Relationship Diagram solution contains vector stencil image libraries with full standardized Chen and crow’s foot notation included. Added to the solution pack are a number of ERD templates and samples to help kick start users own ideas.

ConceptDraw PRO offers a number of features that make it the ideal system with which to create entity-relationship diagrams. Intelligent connectors are used to establish relationships – connecting lines that automatically map the best route to join diagram objects. One-click commands allow a diagram to be created efficiently, getting ideas on the page as quick as they arrive.

As with all ConceptDraw products, there is a large online resource of help material related to the Entity-Relationship Diagram solution, including video tutorials, how-to guides, and a host of help topics.