Tuesday, August 12, 2008

DD Tips and Techniques - 2 Displaying Shapes

When I said occasional in the last blog - I didn't specify the time interval - so here is a second post in as many minutes!

There are a number of ways to tidy a cluttered diagram. Sometimes you don't want to see all the columns/constraints in the table shape, or perhaps you only want to see some of the columns - the keys or the most important columns:

View As -> Compact
Select shapes in a diagram and use this context menu to completely remove any columns or constraints from the shape

Hide Selected Shapes
If you want to show only some of the members of your shape (for instance only the keys and major columns in a table) select members you want to hide and use this context menu. The members are cut from the diagram but are still available to you through the shape editor. To see all the members again use Show All Hidden Members

Tools -> Preferences -> Diagrams -> Database
Under this node you will find many different options for your database diagram - you can change font, shape colors for many different database shapes. For instance - select Table from the dropdown list and uncheck Show Constraints if you want to exclude them from the diagram. Note that changes made in this way only apply to new shapes added to a diagram. So it's good practice to check your preferences before you start work on a diagram

Database Diagramming Tips and Techniques - 1 Keyboard Accelerators

I'm working on a new database design and thought I'd pass on some of the tips that I use to aid my work. As always with my blog entries, this will be an occasional series.

Keyboard Accelerators - diagram cleaning aid

I often create new offline database tables using a database diagram. I can visualize and edit objects in-place easily and often. But having to resize the shapes and tidy up the relationship lines can be very frustrating! So I do the following:

First the setup -
Go into Tools -> Preferences -> Accelerators
Scroll down the Actions list and select Height and Width
Add a new accelerator (if none set) - I use Ctrl H
Scroll to Select All and check what accelerator is set - default is Ctrl A
Scroll to Straighten Lines and add an accelerator - say Ctrl L

Now, in my diagram whenever I can't see all the info in my table shapes I either select the specific tables and do Ctrl H or do Ctrl A + Ctrl H to resize all my shapes followed by Ctrl L to straighten the lines.

Easy Tip No1!