make Zooming and Printing improvements to the RELATIONSHIPS diagram window/view
The Relationships Diagram window has been a static feature in need of serious improvements - like adding comments to the relationships, and descriptions to the tables in the diagram (like tooltips). The control of Zooming and Panning - and printing/Previewing the diagram could use some serious overhauling. The automatic pagination - and the lack of control of what parts of the diagram are clipped to other pages - is HORRIBLE. Given a sufficiently large entity model, the existing capability falls woefully short of helping us to diagram and document our databses decently! How about giving us Multiple Relationship Diagrams (Pages) so if we need to section up the diagram, we can spread it across other diagram pages ourselves?
Thanks everyone for posting and supporting.
We understand the need but currently there is no plan to improve zooming and printing of the relationship diagram.
If you have additional related suggestions, please create new items for them.
The Access Team
Ben Sacheri commented
FYI: Stephen Lebans developed a way to have multiple relationship diagrams. I experimented with it in Office 2013 and Office 2016 without issues.
1) To allow the saving of the layout of the Relationship window to a table.
2) To allow the restoration of the layout of the Relationship Window from a table.
3) To allow the saving/restoration of multiple Relationship Window views.
4) To allow the importing of the layout of the Relationship Window from an external MDB.
Limitation: It does not add/remove tables between diagram views which was a deal killer for me.
Milda Batutiene commented
I would also like to mouse drag select or ctrl+mouse click to select multiple tables to rearrange them all together within the window.
I am grateful for this discussion. This is one of the points in Access which produces quite a bit of annoyance. If you handle a bigger project, the possibilities are so limited.
- Fix clipping error of the relationship window. As soon you place objects far right or down (increasing the size of the window) and you save your work and then restart Access, you will have objects on the left/top side out of reach. This error exists as far as I remeber since the '97 version.
- In this window graphical/documentary work is done, too. Not only the definition of relationships. So zooming, grid and reasonable printing/image saving is obligatory. The relationship windows just gives me a good first impression about the database. Often I stitch a poster with all the tables to the wall, so I have a quick overview about the relations and the spelling of field names.
- Enhance designing: I don't know what other people do with this window. But to me it is easy to find i. e. typemismatches, consider name schemes and so on, especially if you get to work on a database you didn't design yourself. I would be extremly happy to have more information displayed but only the field name. Miniumum a tooltip giving information about field type etc.. If one could directly edit the field name, you'd have an easy database design tool. Doubleclick on the field name produces a dialog you can change all the field properties. Why not add directly a new table? I know, sounds a bit like an unprofessional approach. But how much time can you save?
- The relations are just simple straight lines. If you have dozens of tables, it really gets difficult to identify optically where the relations goes. Since we have left/right joins in the tables, why aren't those not entering right/left side of the field? And why it has to be a straight line, which is normally hidden by the table objects? It should go around those and rearrange automatically. Why not use colors for connection lines? Again: To me the relationship window describes the main aspects of the project, way better, than the provided documentary function.
- As already mentionned below: Multiple views on the project in the window would be helpful. Especially in big projects, you may only want to see a few tables and their dependencies.
- Manually root the relationship lines, graphically enhance the presentation of tables/field/relations with colors or typography.
Stop diagram from changing. I reopen a relationship and sometimes all the tables are no longer set as they once were!?
Stop tables from being able to go out of the view pane (plain stupid that this can happen in the first place). How is anyone supposed to fix this. We are force to completely delete everything and start over.
Christopher Cookson commented
It would be nice to have similar functionality to SQL Server where it's possible to have multiple relationship diagrams (via SQL Server Management Studio)
Above and beyond ever other improvement, please also add to the growing list:
1. Enable the mouse to scroll within the editor
2. Provide the means to export/import a relationship schema. They corrupt and it would truly be useful to be able to at a click of a button recover them.
The option to save more then one diagram. 100's of tables in one diagram is not very usefull
Heinz Hoegel commented
I mostly agree, my wishlist would be:
1. Zoom capabilities
2. A button to copy the whole used (!) part of the diagram (beyond window borders) onto the clipboard
3. Multiple diagrams per database
4. More (optional) details in the diagram (data types, null allowed)
When we click on Relationships Report, the editable Report shows a lot of white space on the right side of each table. This is not easily suppressed. It can be done with a lot of busy work.
The gold key symbols disappear on the printable version. So when we print the report we can no longer tell the primary key(s).
My suggestion is drop the gold keys in display and the report and go back to just BOLD on the field names when they are the primary key or part of a composite primary key.
In the ERD itself, why is there so much wasted white space to the LEFT of the gold colored primary key(s)? Can we get rid of this please?
The boxes for each table are double outlined. This is another space waster when you have lots of tables.
Bottom line here is we want this diagram to be FUNCTIONAL and not optimized for PRETTY.
Concur with the observations stated by others. We do need better control of Relationship Diagrams. One item worth mentioning is when I import tables from one database to another, the relationship diagram does not come over as carefully arranged. It shows up in a military formation of ranks and columns which is quite useless.
Dale Fye commented
Totally concur with this idea, multiple diagrams within the same database. I currently use the relationship diagrams in SQL Server to perform this functionality, but would much prefer to have it in Access.
John Partyka commented
Yes! Access is the backbone of our data warehousing and sharing infrastructure, shared by research analysts using BI tools like Tableau, SPSS and Excel. Defining and enforcing table relationships is an essential best practice which we employ in dozens of shared databases. Working with screen shots to document our repositories is ridiculously primitive for such an important process.
Similar to the query SQL view, it's as though Microsoft is deliberately ignoring professional developers in favor of niceties and intrusive controls for novice users.
this is a good idea as Relationships are so critical to building a successful database. Stephen Lebans and Allen Browne both wrote utilities to enhance the Relationships diagram. Lebans had a utility to Save and Restore Layout, which I used until it quit working. Allen wrote a utility to expand the information shown but it also is old.
Some of the databases I work with have hundreds of tables. Currently, I take screenshots and put them into PowerPoint to annotate them. There is a problem, however, when one table is out of view -- then I have to save the layout, move the table that needs to be seen when I scroll, and close without saving.
Also, sometimes, if the diagram is saved and the table in the upper left is NOT selected, and the diagram spans multiple screens, when you open the diagram again, tables are not where you can see them by scrolling so you have to clear the layout and start again with the diagram.
Sometimes, as Kent does, I use the design view of queries to document the structure for parts of the database. Sometimes I clear the layout and use the diagram itself and not save when I close.
Also, it would be nice to be able to import the diagram from another database ... for instance, from the back-end to the front-end.
Kent Gorrell commented
Multiple Relationship Diagrams would be fabulous especially with the ability to print them.
Currently I emulate this with queries by using the query designer to capture just part of the picture so my clients can more easily see the relationships of each part of the application. But you can't edit the actual relationships and the only way to print is to take a screen grab.