Just so you don’t think I’m crazy, you should know that I’m a father to a wonderful two year old daughter. She’s awesome, except when she wants to act her age. When we get desperate, we turn on her favorite show. I have seen about 200 different episodes of Dora the Explorer. My Spanish is getting better, but I’ve got these really bad songs stuck in my head. I’m going to share one of these with you right now.

If there’s a place you got to go
I’m the one you need to know
I’m the Map
I’m the Map
I’m the Map
If there’s a place you got to get
I can get you there I bet
I’m the Map!

Wouldn’t it be awesome if life were like this? Whenever you needed something, there was this magical talking map that told you exactly how to get what you wanted. Unfortunately life can’t be that simple, but sometimes our software can be.

Yes, I’m using Dora as a segue for a SQL Developer Tip and Trick post. Blogging is much cheaper than therapy, and the drugs are better!

SQL Developer Data Modeler Navigator Can Get You There I Bet!

Data models can be quite large. It’s a real challenge to take a workspace and evenly distribute the table and view objects in the diagram in such a way that it’s easy to read. Especially when everyone’s monitor and resolution setups are different. You can just about bet the default presentation of your model is going to be problematic. That’s why we have many different tools for helping re-arranging objects automatically, zooming in and out, and of course the ‘Go To Diagram’ function you can call directly from the object explorer.

But, sometimes in life, what you REALLY need is a map!

Let’s take a quick look at a big model:

Ok, so where are my darn tables and views already?!?

Tucked neatly in the upper-right-hand corner of the modeler is a panel labeled ‘Navigator.’ This will show us the way!

The Navigator is our Map

If you click on the panel and then on the ‘Restore’ button, you’ll get something like this –

The Navigator makes it easy to navigate your models

As you click around the navigator, the ‘red box outliner thingie’ (can you tell that I am college educated?) will auto-zoom/navigate the area in the main model space.

You might be wondering why I have dedicated 500+/- words to such a simple topic, and I’ll be honest with you – I did not notice this feature until just recently. The navigator by default is minimized in the application and it’s very easy to miss. Plus we are often very reticent to ask for help and directions – even when the map is right there for us to consult. I hope this helps save you at least a few seconds while you work with your data models.


I'm a Distinguished Product Manager at Oracle. My mission is to help you and your company be more efficient with our database tools.


  1. I posted this in another thread but there was no feedback, and this one looks actually more relevant to Browser navigation.

    It would be great, in larger models, to be able to move more efficiently between the logical, relational and physical objects. Sort of something like now is available in SQL Developer, the “Go To” for some related objects like indexes.

    • there is no physical diagram, So are you just wanting to get from one item in a tree to it’s associated item in another model tree?

    • julesdba

      Yes, just to get with a shortcut from one item in a tree to it’s associated item in another model tree would be a great time saver.

  2. Hi Jeff,

    Can we search table names in the Navigator ?
    I see search opens a new dialog box ..


    • Kinda, you can type into the table name. So if you know the name, and it’s a long list, just type to navigate.

  3. Nícolas Morais Reply

    Hi Jeff!
    I’m currently trying to use Data Modeler in my job. Unfortunately the model I have to work on is huge, it has 2k+ tables. Data Modeler is painfully slow to work with this model, the ide freezes all the time and making it impossible to navigate in the model.
    With the model opened I have checked the memory usage and it is about 900MB (it’s ok, i have 8gb of ram). CPU usage seems to be the problem as is keeps topping one single cpu in my machine.
    Is it a bug? Is it a limitation of the tool? Is there any setup I can make to enable Data Modeler to use more CPUs?

    • You don’t need more CPU, I’m thinking you need a LOT more memory. Opening a model with 2,000+ objects to ‘draw’ in the diagram is very expensive.

      In your /bin directory, open your .conf file and give us more memory.

      Something like this –

      AddVMOption -Xmx2048M

      Our modeling development manager works with models even larger than this and frequently run with 3GB of memory allocated.

    • Nícolas Morais

      Wow!!! Now I’ll stop trying and begin really using it!
      It’s still a bit slow (probably due to single cpu 100%) but its completed acceptable. I’ll just enter the main model to select some tables to create the proper subviews.
      Next step: get away from my low res monitor!!

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