Database design includes a set of procedures that streamlines the development, design, and deployment of database management systems easier (DBMS). Data modeling technologies allow you to quickly construct tables and connections by creating a structural representation or ERD of the databases.

There is a vast choice of tools available to assist users in creating data designs. The article gives you a brief idea about relational databases and various Relational Database Schema Design Tools to help you make your schemas. 

What are Relational Databases?

Relational Database Schema Design Tool: Relational Database | Hevo Data
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In this section, we will learn what is a relational schema in database. A relational database is a set of data objects organized by specified relationships for easy accessibility. The data tables and indexes are kept distinct from the physical storage structures in the relational database model.

This enables database administrators to update the data storage without impacting the logical database structure.

Relational databases are used in the organization to organize data and find links between key data elements.

They make it simple to filter and obtain data, allowing businesses to gain insights.

A relational database’s data tables hold data about connected objects. Each column includes the data attributes, whereas each row carries a record with a unique identifier called a key.

Each characteristic is assigned a value in each record, establishing links between data points. 

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What is SQL?

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SQL (Structured Query Language) is a database communication and manipulation programming language. It supports the administration of data stored in databases, enabling users to obtain the data they want.

SQL can create tables, modify existing tables, and remove information from tables. IBM researchers Raymond Boyce and Donald Chamberlin created the SQL programming language in the 1970s.

Following Edgar Frank Codd’s work “A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks” in 1970, the computer language SEQUEL was established.

Database Schema Design Process Steps

You can design a Database schema by using the processes listed below:

Define the Objective

When you are starting with designing a database, the first step is to find the objective. You have to gather the business requirements before building the database.

By sampling queries and the answers you desire from the query, you may help identify what type of information you need to capture in the database.

After gathering the data, you have to divide it into separate tables and set unique column names.

Find the Primary Keys and Organize the Tables

Relational Database Schema Design Tool: Primary Keys in Relational Database | Hevo Data
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A table in the relational model cannot include duplicate rows because this would generate query issues. To maintain authenticity, every table should contain a primary key column that consistently recognizes all of the table’s records.

From the above image, the column grocery_id is the Primary Key in the grocery list because it is a unique id given to every grocery item.

Finding Relationships Between Tables


Relational Database Schema Design Tool: One-to-One | Hevo Data
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Relational Database Schema Design Tool: One-to-One | Hevo Data
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A one-to-one relationship means only one row of a table is linked to at most one row of the other table.

A shopping list item, for instance, can connect to a grocery item information table with additional data about the item. It won’t be listed if this information isn’t accessible for a particular grocery item.

The above tables are joined with the standard column, and the primary key for both tables is grocery_id.


Relational Database Schema Design Tool: One-to-Many | Hevo Data
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Relational Database Schema Design Tool: One-to-Many | Hevo Data
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A one-to-many relationship defines that one row in one table can relate to multiple rows in another.

A one-to-many connection allows you to maintain regularly utilized data in the parent database while referring to it several times inside the child table.

The foreign key in the child table refers to the parent table’s primary key. For example, the above table contains authorsLlist and booksList, where author_id is the foreign key.   


Relational Database Schema Design Tool: Many-to-Many | Hevo Data
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One or more rows of one table could relate with zero, one, or several rows in another table throughout a many-to-many relationship. A bridging, intermediate, or connector table is required to establish this relation.

Define fields

It’s crucial to remember that every table, or entity, ought to have a single, distinctive attribute for relational database design software. The primary key is this distinct value that allows us to distinguish records from one another.

There are two typical methods to generate a primary key:

  • Create a unique value using programming
  • Assign a number that rises on its own with every addition.

These are all simple and were taken straight from the specifications provided by the company.

Refine the Design Using Normalization Techniques

Refining the design helps remove duplicates, equalize the data in columns, and derive insights from combining the columns. By refining data with normalization, you can obtain many advantages. Normalization techniques used for refining are listed below:

  • First normal form (1NF): Your table’s columns should be single-valued, meaning they should not have different numbers. The data in the columns must have the same type and should have different names to avoid confusion. The essential benefit of 1NF is that it prevents groups from being repeated in a table.  
  • Second normal form (2NF): The concept of complete functional dependence drives the Second Normal Form (2NF). Relations with composite keys, or those having a primary key of two or more attributes, are subjected to the Second Normal Form. A relation must be in the first normal form and include no partial dependencies in the second normal form. If a database is in the second normal form, each non-key column entirely relies upon the primary key. 
  • Third normal form (3NF): The relation is in the Third Normal Form if it is in the First and Second Normal Form and no non-primary-key attribute is implicitly reliant on the main key. If a table is in 2NF and the non-key columns are independent of one another, it is 3NF.

Top Relational Database Schema Design Tools

There are many open-source and paid Relational Database Design Tools. The best Relational Data Schema Design Tools are listed below:

1. Lucidchart

Relational Database Schema Design Tool: Lucidchart Interface | Hevo Data
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Lucidchart is a diagramming and Relational Database Schema Design Tool that enables people to work together graphically to create, revise, and share charts and graphs, as well as enhance procedures, systems, and organizational structures.

Lucidchart is a web application that works with HTML5-enabled browsers and does not require add-ons like third-party software to help you quickly visualize your workflow and create schemas accordingly.

This Relational Database Schema Design Tool provides three pricing plans: Individual, Team, and Enterprise. It also has a free tier that allows you to work on 3 editable Lucidchart documents, 60 shapes per document, along with 100 templates.

2. DbSchema

Relational Database Schema Design Tool: DbSchema Interface | Hevo Data
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DbSchema is a Relational Database Schema Design Tool and documentation solution that supports Mysql, SQL, Postgresql, Microsoft SQL Server, and more.

It includes a dynamic design tool that allows users to create database designs. When you’ve finished creating, you can download the database design in PDF or HTML5.

DbSchema is available in free and paid editions. The perpetual license for the academic version costs $98, and the commercial version costs $294. 

3. SmartDraw

Relational Database Schema Design Tool: SmartDraw Interface | Hevo Data
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SmartDraw is a web-based Relational Database Schema Design Tool that lets users build relational designs dynamically. Anyone can update the dataset using drag-and-drop once it is made.

Whenever you change, add, or remove a form, the diagrams design function uses innovative structuring to update the layout regularly. 

This Relational Database Schema Design Tool is available in 3 versions, Individual, Team, and Site. The pricing starts at $9.95 per month and the highest price stands at $2995 annually for the Site tier.

4. Quick DBD

Relational Database Schema Design Tool: Quick DBD Interface | Hevo Data
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QuickDBD (or Quick Database Diagrams) provides a fast-paced online resource modeling application. This Relational Database Schema Design Tool allows using a hybrid model – code plus drag-and-drop – to help you build a database schema.

QuickDBD provides a collaborative feature where you can send your diagrams for effective collaboration. Besides, you can use predefined templates to design the diagrams quickly. 

You can buy the pro version for $14 per month and $95 per annum. However, it is also available as a free version for beginners.

5. ERD Plus

Relational Database Schema Design Tool: ERD Plus Interface | Hevo Data
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ERD Plus is a basic, online Relational Database Schema Design Tool primarily for creating star schemas, relationship schemas, and entity-relationship diagrams.

In ERD plus, the forward engineering feature help converts the entity-relationship diagram to a SQL relational structure.

It’s a free online Relational Database Schema Design Tool and a great learning resource, even when it doesn’t seem as great as most other alternatives in our collection. 

6. DrawSQL

Relational Database Schema Design Tool: DrawSQL Interface | Hevo Data
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DrawSQL helps users generate detailed database modeling representations that are both functional and attractive. It is a Relational Database Schema Design Tool for making, collaborating, and visualizing database entity-relationship models.

By importing the SQL statement, you can construct a relational design dynamically. 

DrawSQL offers multiple pricing tiers: Hobbyist, Starter, Growth, and Large. Hobbyist is DrawSQL’s free plan. You can avail of the Starter plan at $19/month. DrawSQL’s most expensive plan stands at $179/month and it allows you to build as many tables/diagrams as you like.


Relational Database Schema Design Tool: Interface | Hevo Data
Image Source is a simple Relational Database Schema Design Tool that allows users to create DB designs and use their domain-specific language (DSL).

This Relational Database Schema Design Tool is created for programmers, database administrators, and data scientists. has pro versions starting from $9 per month, where you can get version history and unlimited diagram features.  

8. sqlDBM

Relational Database Schema Design Tool: sqlDBM Interface | Hevo Data
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sqlDBM is Relational Database Schema Design Tool that does not need programming knowledge to design relational database schemas.

It enables programmers to concentrate on the database’s architecture rather than the syntax. SQL scripts can be imported to construct database models automatically and modify those scripts based on requirements. 

sqlDBM is Relational Database Schema Design Tool that comes in three different licenses: basic, business, and enterprise.

The trial version of the software is powerful enough to allow you to perform a lot of outlining without having to register or pay money.

The basic package (Starter) costs $4,000. sqlDBM offers two more pricing plans to its users: Small Enterprise and Standard Enterprise. These plans are tailored to your needs, and you’ll need to get in touch with their sales team to understand the actual price.


In this article, you learned about Relational Databases, SQL, and processes to design Database schema. You read about various Relational Database Schema Design Tools available in the market. The most straightforward method of making databases is by using Relational Database Schema Design Tools.

You can drag objects in position and visualize database schema without the need for coding. Some intelligent Relational Database Schema Design Tools tools also help us explore the connections between the tables and their characteristics, allowing you to quickly build schemas even if you are not a database engineer. 

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Freelance Technical Content Writer, Hevo Data

Pranay is curious about topics related to data science at heart with a passion for data, software architecture, and writing technical content. He is passionate about solving business problems through content tailored to data teams.

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