As solutions get more complicated every day so does the domain model. Navigating in the designer can become quite frustrating if you have a rather large database with 100+ tables. There is however a light at the end of the tunnel. 

There are a few often overlooked features of the designer that can make your life easier when dealing with large models. 

First of all you should get familiar with search bar on top of the Model Explorer and the Schema Explorer. It is the easiest way to find a class or a table by its name.

schema and model explorers

So what do you do now, that you have found the desired object? You can simply right click on the class/table and select Locate in diagram/Find class in diagram. This will select your class in the diagram.

Great tools for managing the explorers are the Collapse All/Expand All commands just next to the search bar.

So far so good, we can find and then locate classes and tables through the explorers and also we are quite confident when working with the model and schema explorers. But what do you do if you want to see the bigger picture, see the diagram and all of the relations, not just the classes. We now turn our attention to the diagram toolbox.

toolbox

What is really important here is the Layout Diagram command which is fifth as well as the Collapse All and Expand All commands which are the first two. A really useful combination is to first use collapse all classes so that they take only a little space, enough for the class name, and then layout the diagram. This will surely make navigating in the model a lot easier as it usually saves up to more than three quarters of the size of the diagram. Also as you can see you can easily zoom in or out on the diagrams as needed.

These are just a few tips on how to handle bigger models but I hope they are useful to you. If you do have any insight on how to make things ever easier please share your opinion in the comments below.


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