You have a schema. Someone else built it. You’ve just inherited it.

Now you need to build an application around it.

But, tell me more about this schema?

No docs? That’s OK, you can build your own!

1. Connect to Your Database, Open a ‘Driving’ Table

By driving, I mean one that’s likely to be at the ‘center’ of your business logic. An employees or sales table for example.

Now, once it’s open, click on the ‘Model’ tab – it’s right beside the ‘Data’ one.

This has been there since at least version 4.1 of SQL Developer…

Now, the first time you do this, it will take a few seconds. SQL Developer will need to load into memory its modelling extension. Once it’s done, you should have a pretty picture like above.

Now, it’s likely you haven’t captured the ENTIRE schema.

That’s OK.

2. Click the Modeler Button

The picture you see here, is JUST a picture. It’s not a design/model yet. It’s to help you understand how your table is related to other tables. You’ll notice your ‘driving’ table is outlined in red. Now, if you want to do anything with this – move stuff around, make changes, add other things…you need to send these objects to an actual design.

Clicking ‘the button’ will do that for you.

This tells SQL Developer to create a design and import these objects to a new relational model.

So now you have a 1 button-click entry point to the Modeler inside of SQL Developer.

3. Add the Rest of Your Tables

Now, there’s a few ways you an do this. You can multi-select and drag and drop from the connection tree to the diagram. You can do a File > Data Modeler > Import > Data Dictionary and walk the wizard, or you can…actually, those are the two ways.

If you have a TON of tables and just blindly select everything to import, you’ll get ‘copies’ of those original tables you grabbed in step 1 – they’ll come over as TABLE_NAMEv1. That’s OK, you can just delete them later.

If you’re bringing over a LOT of objects, you’ll get to wait a bit…

This might take a few minutes.

Once it’s done, you might have a few tables that overlap each other – that’s OK, easy fix.

Go from THIS:



Ahhhh, much better.

Or, You Could Just Skip All This Jazz And Do It The ‘Long’ Way

Easy to do, once you know how 🙂

How to Open the Modeler from SQL Developer

But Wait, My Pictures Has No Lines!

You’re not alone. And maybe we can help.


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. Kurt Arthur Reply

    Never mind, I found it under the “File” menu entry. Seems like it should also
    be available from the “Actions” button though.

  2. Kurt Arthur Reply

    How does one export the generated E/R diagram? I don’t see an obvious
    option to do so.

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