Adjusting Relationship Routing in Entity-Relationship Diagrams

This tutorial will guide you through the process of adjusting the relationships in your ERD for better clarity and organization, specifically focusing on rerouting relationships for a cleaner diagram layout.

When working with entity-relationship diagrams (ERDs) in Software Ideas Modeler, one might encounter a situation where the relationships between entities are visually cluttered or not ideally represented. This tutorial will help you to improve the routing for better visual representation.

Entity-Relationship Diagram - Our Initial Scenario

Imagine you have an ERD for an enrollment system that includes several entities: Class, Teacher, and Department. Initially, the Department entity is not positioned optimally in relation to the Class and Teacher entities. For a more logical and visually appealing diagram, you decide to move the Department entity so that it sits between the Class and Teacher entities on the diagram, specifically placing it above the Teacher entity and below the Class entity.

Initial scenario - Our example entity-relationship diagram
Initial scenario - Our example entity-relationship diagram

Moving the Entity

Click and drag the Department entity to its new position between the Class and Teacher entities.

After moving the Department entity, you might notice that the relationships (lines connecting entities) are routed strangely, creating unnecessary detours and clutter in the diagram.

The routing is handled this way because the relationships are usually set to lock to specific fields, meaning they aim to connect to specific attributes within an entity, like the DepartmentID attribute in our case.

Moving the entity (Entity-Relationship Diagram)
Moving the entity (Entity-Relationship Diagram)

Adjusting Relationship Locks

If you prefer to preserve the layout this way and emphasize the connected attributes, there's nothing wrong with that. It's always important to consider what you want to show with your diagram. Whether you prioritize visual clarity or the emphasis on specific attribute connections can guide your decision on whether to adjust the routing.

To change the routing of relationships and make your ERD clearer, follow these steps:

  • Select the Relationships: Click to select the relationships that are incorrectly routed. You can select multiple relationships by holding down the CTRL key and clicking each relationship.
  • Access the Locks Setting: Right-click on one of the selected relationships to open the context menu. Hover over the "Locks" submenu to reveal its options.
  • Adjust Lock to Fields: Find and click on the "Set Lock to Fields" option, which is likely checked. Clicking it will uncheck this option, indicating that the relationships are no longer strictly bound to connect to specific attributes.
Final version of our entity-relationship diagram
Final version of our entity-relationship diagram

Improved Diagram Clarity

After adjusting the lock settings, the relationships will reroute themselves to point directly to the target entities, avoiding unnecessary detours. This adjustment makes the diagram visually cleaner and easier to understand, though it's important to note that these changes are visual and do not alter the actual logical connections between entities.

New Comment