Database Diagram – Available Again in SQL Server Management Studio 18.1 Onwards

Database Diagram was one of the most popular features of SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). This feature was available in SSMS till version 17.9. However, the same was removed by Microsoft in version 18.0.

Many of my clients of Comprehensive Database Performance Health Check who love the features of Database Diagram, did not upgrade to the latest SSMS. I have been asking my clients to upgrade to the latest SQL Server but many who depended on the database diagram did not upgrade it.

Finally, the good news is here when Microsoft has released new SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) V 18.1, which now have Database Diagrams and a few other enhancements.

Here is the link to download the latest version of SSMS.

Remember if you are using SSMS 17.x version, the new version SSMS 18.x will install side by side and will not upgrade the earlier version of SQL Server. However, if you are using 18.0 version of SQL Server and you want to upgrade to the latest version of SSMS v 18.1, it will automatically upgrade your SSMS to the latest version.

Database Diagram - Available Again in SQL Server Management Studio 18.1 Onwards databasediagram-800x616

Here are a few additional blog posts about SSMS features:

Finally, let me ask you one question. Do you use SSMS Database Diagram feature or do you use any other framework or design tools? I would be very much interested to know what you find most comfortable for your business and it would be good learning for everyone who is reading this blog.

Leave a comment with your favorite Database Diagram tool.

Reference: Pinal Dave (

Database Diagram, SQL Server, SQL Server Management Studio, SSMS
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12 Comments. Leave new

  • I found 18.0 to be unusably buggy. Between the indefinite hang when you try to restore a database and select a *.bak file, to tabs failing to redraw properly when you clicked between tabs with the mouse, it was just too dangerous and unusable. I have no faith either of these huge massive problems are fixed in 18.1. I recommend people stay on 17.9

  • For a quick look at an individual table and to see everything connected to that table via foreign keys, I used database diagram.

  • Honestly, I’ve never used a 3rd Party tool for database diagrams, so I don’t know if there’s anything better than SSMS for this. I use SSMS Diagrams extensively to visually construct the relationships and I’m able to “see” the database this way. And I also use the diagrams to show users how the back-end data is related. It’s a critical tool that allows me to build a solid database. About a year ago, the bosses wanted to move away from all the Microsoft products and go with Open Source “free” products. I argued that SSMS and Visual Studio gave me all the great development tools I needed WITHOUT having to buy a hodgepodge of 3rd party dev tools. And then I heard the news that Diagrams were being discontinued — I was livid. So I never updated past v17.9.1 and I am now this morning getting an upgrade notification. I was happy to find your blog on this topic. Thank you – I read lots you for posts!

  • I use database diagrams for EVERY project that I work on as it is a great tool that automatically can make changes to the tables/relationships/keys/etc (in dev) and then I can generate the script changes.

    I didn’t upgrade SSMS when I heard they were removing it.
    I’m glad I found this blog post so I can finally upgrade.

    Thanks! Much appreciated

  • Yes, SSMS 18.4 has DB Diagram support but it crashes when person one 1 created diagram and person 2 tries to open it in that tool. And that is not fixed since v 18.1 How about that?!

  • manit chanthavong
    February 24, 2020 11:06 am

    Still very buggy in 18.4. it’s a disappoint the same bugs still exists.

  • Warren Pitallo
    May 22, 2020 11:39 pm

    What the better question is: What crackhead decided to remove it and why? They must be on Oracles paylist

  • This is still an issue in 18.5.1 – would like to see a fix of this!

  • I commented on this back on 7/26/19, so this is an update. Because of the diagram removal, I’ve been using v17.9.1 since last year. And since last year I’ve also been dealing with a memory leak issue (different problem) when working with T-SQL and large sprocs with many nested calls. The memory leak had something to do with Intellisense and it would lock up SSMS. So I’ve been turning off Intellisense when working in certain sprocs to cope with it, which reduces productivity. About two weeks ago, I found that v18.5 (15.0.18330.0) had resolved the memory leak, so I installed and have been using. I have my diagrams back now and the Intellisense is working a lot better. However…., now when I open certain diagrams to review or make a change, SSMS is crashing! I’m pretty sure it has a lot to do with something related to me making a column or key change to one of the tables. These changes aren’t that new. I’ve been working on a greenfield db project for over a year now and change/test/improve are part of the cycle. But now the diagrams are crashing SSMS. This is terrible when I forgot to hit the save button on an open tab! I wish SSMS would just remove the table if something couldn’t be resolved. Now I’m actually considering paying for a 3rd Party SQL dev tool. So far I have seen dbSourceForge and RedGate but not even sure if RegGate handles diagrams. Is anyone else seeing the same issue on 18.5?

  • Same issues for me with 18.5. Extremely buggy and crashes. I’m also looking at a 3rd party tool.

  • This is probably old news, but Database Diagrams were broken in versions 18.1 – 18.5. Saving a DD in those versions would corrupt the diagram and your would be no longer able to open it in any version of SSMS. This was fixed in version 18.6, but I’m not sure if you can do anything to recover the corrupt diagrams.


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