How to document a database

Documenting your database is one of the important things you will need to do so that to keep everything in order. You need structure to be able to find a document quickly. Here are a few ideas on how you can document a database in the most efficient way. 
The first thing to mention in regards to the issue in question is using word processors. The most commonly known word processors are Microsoft Office and Libre Office Writer. There are both benefits and drawbacks of using word processors to document databases. The advantages include the fact that you are already using these word processors which means that you will not have to figure out how to get started, as well as the fact that they are equipped with really good printing and formatting features. The main disadvantage is the difficulty in preparing and maintaining a database using a word processor. 
Using spreadsheets is another great option when you need to document a database. This variant is better for navigating and searching within the document which presupposes that you will spend less time trying to find what you need. However, printing a spreadsheet will be a nightmare. 
Depending on whether you need the documents stored in your database to be viewed only or also edited, there are various documentation tools to take into account. For instance, there exists a Spectral Core Documenter with the help of which one can view a database and read documents in it. However, there is no editing option. In case the latter is a significant aspect for you, it is advisable to try using Elsasoft SqlSpec or ApexSQL Doc. Such tools help to store metadata in the database. Descriptions is another term that is quite often used when people are talking about metadata. Thus, the tools mentioned above provide you with an opportunity to describe columns and tables, as well as generate documents for further sharing. 
In case you are looking for tools that have forward and reverse engineering features, your best options will be SAP PowerDesigner or Erwin. The advantages of such data modeling tools include support for multiple database engines, rich descriptions, global repository, and more diverse authoring capabilities. Speaking about the disadvantages, there are a few to mention as well: there are so many additional features figuring out how to use a certain tool may become problematic; editing of column descriptions is usually rather inconvenient; some of the tools are not quite suitable for reverse engineering; in order to export documents one might need to customize it or even to install an additional program. 
What is vital to highlight is that knowledge regarding such topic as documenting a database will be useful not only to those who have just started a new job but also to students at college or university. For instance, creating a database will all necessary materials which you are going to use during the learning process will really come in handy. When working on criminal justice writing assignments, at school, having a list of resources will help you come up with a properly formatted reference page faster. What is more, structuring all materials you have already used or are going to use in the future will help you deal with criminal justice research papers in a more efficient way. In terms of teaching, creating a database of criminal justice research paper topics will take less time in case a teacher decides to do it in spreadsheets. A paper writer at one of the essay writing services can use a database to structure formatting guides in regards to a certain subject, for instance. 
Taking everything into account, the choice of a tool you are going to use in order to document a database typically depends on the features a certain tool has. In other words, you need to figure out what you expect from a certain tool in terms of the goals that have been set. For example, you will need to use different tools for database documenting in case you want your documents merely to be viewed by other members of the team or to provide the latter with an option to edit them as well.

Ifeanyi Okondu
Ifeanyi Okondu

Ifeanyi Joseph Okondu is a Product Manager, technical writer, and creative. Connect with him on LinkedIn

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