How to export data dictionary with MySQL Workbench

Rene Castro - Dataedo Team Rene Castro 2018-08-06

Table of Contents:


    MySQL Workbench is a great tool for management of MySQL and MariaDB databases, but free Community Edition is missing one important feature - DBDoc Model Reporting module that generates HTML data dictionary (it is available only in commercial editions).

    However, there are free plugins that do the same thing. In this article we will show you how you can generate data dictionary from your existing MySQL database with one of those plugins - HTML Shema Report.

    Install plugin

    There are a few free plugins that generate data dictionary. I will use HTML Shema Report as I like its output format the most (they all are similar).

    To install plugin:

    1. Download HTMLShemaReport.py file,
    2. From the MySQL Workbench menu select Scripting and then Install Plugin/Module,
    3. Point to HTMLShemaReport.py file and click Open,
    4. Restart MySQL Workbench

    Plugin is installed.

    Reverse engineer database

    All data dictionary generators (I know) for MySQL Workbench work on models rather than schema connection so first we need to reverse engineer database into model.

    To reverse engineer database go to menu Database and choose Reverse Engineer... option.

    Provide connection details to your database and click Next. Wait for the connection and click Next again.

    When successfully connected wizard will show you list of available schemas on the server. Select the ones you want to reverse engineer.

    Wait for the schemas being read and continue with Next. On next screen you have an option to select object types and filter specific objects. Let's ignore it and import all objects. Click Execute >.

    Wait for reverse engineering to take place and when done continue with Next. Final screen shows you a summary of the import. Close with Finish.

    Export data dictionary

    When you have a model you can now generate data dictionary with a plugin. Go to menu, select Tools, then Catalog and then Database schema report in HTML format.

    This is what you will get:

    Live sample

    If you don't like the format you can try one of the other plugins.

    A better alternative: Dataedo

    As you can see, export from MySQL Workbench is very basic. There's much better alternative - Dataedo. Not only it generates much better looking and interactive HTML but also allows you to visualize schema with ER diagrams, split large database into modules, describe each data element and document table relationships. Here is a sample documentation:

    See live sample

    Try it yourself for free now

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