How to add #Erwin Extended Notes to a #PowerDesigner model

Recently I was looking at the list of new features in Erwin Data Modeler 2020, and one feature caught my eye – Extended Notes.

I knew that I could add a very similar feature to any object in PowerDesigner in less than 10 minutes, with absolutely no programming.

Here’s a simple Logical Data Model – the Entity “Contact Type” has four Extended Notes (one of those has its own Extended Note)

Here’s one of those notes. The properties are all standard, except for Status , Author, and Importance, which I defined in a Model Extension.

These Extended Notes can be compared and merged using the standard PowerDesigner Merge / Compare utility, and I can include them in Reports, List Reports, and Dependency Matrices

Want to see how it’s done? Watch this video.

To discuss how you can the best out of SAP PowerDesigner, go to

Here are the slides from my 2-hour #PowerDesigner presentation to the UK SAP Database & Technology User Group (UKSUG) today

This was an opportunity I could not miss – a 2-hour presentation on modelling to an audience of database experts!
Starting with a brief look at using Visio and/or Excel for data modelling and governance, I talked about the extras we can gain by using PowerDesigner to design databases.
Of course, it’s not ‘just’ databases we’re concerned with, the relationships those databases have with our business and technical architecture is also important.
The next key topic is the role of Data Models and others (such as the Requirements model) in Governance and Design.
Next it’s mapping data sources and targets to demonstrate and create data lineage, showing how PowerDesigner supports multiple DBMS Versions (and what you can do to change how it does that), creating a CUBE for Business Objects, finally (almost) focusing on the support provided for SAP IQ.
Finally, I described some real-world uses of PowerDesigner.

Please vote for your favourite data modelling tool, whatever it is #PowerDesigner #ERwin #Idera #ERStudio

The people at ERwin pay a lot more attention than some other vendors do to promoting their product, including asking their users to vote for them in various polls or awards. Currently they’re asking their users to vote for ERwin in the “Readers’ Choice Awards” for Database Trends and Applications.

The following data modelling tools are listed in the poll –
PremiumSoft Navicat Data Modeler, Dell Toad Data Modeler, IDERA ER/Studio, ERwin, TimeXtender, SAP PowerDesigner.

That’s an interesting selection of tools, partly due to the absence of any tool from IBM, and also because there are two I’ve barely even heard of.

Voting closes on May 20th, so make sure to vote for your favourite modelling tool, whatever it is. My message is the same as it is to every registered voter in the UK today (lots of elections on in the UK today) – cast your vote and be heard!

Go to

Reviews published on

My detailed comparisons of PowerDesigner against ER/Studio and ERwin are now available on Just click on any of the ‘why PowerDesigner?’ links, then click on “An Invitation to Compare”. The reviews are already out of date – CA have announced a new web portal for ERwin, which they unveiled on February 1st. PowerDesigner 16.1 is also available – I’ll talk about the new features soon.

Update on ERwin r8.2

As promised, here’s an update to my initial post on Wednesday’s announcements from CA ERwin, following CA’s responses.

So, what’s new?

ERwin r8.2 new features (based on the part of the presentation I saw on Wednesday – I haven’t found a feature list on

  1. Active Model Templates – more granular re-use of model objects
  2. Concurrent licencing – don’t pay for a licence each if your users don’t work on data models full-time; let them share a few licences

Two new products

  1. support for a new relational DBMS – Microsoft SQL Azure. Manage and understand your cloud databases in the same way as you do your in-house databases, via a new stand-alone edition of ERwin Data Modeller (this does also support additional DBMS platforms)
  2. A new web portal – this is the big part of the announcement, and it plugs a gaping hole in the product line. As a first release, it’s pretty good – other vendors should take note.

The new web portal

Standard Edition

  • models can be loaded from files but not from the Model Mart
  • maximum 50 users
  • limited customisation
  • runs on the SQL Server Express database, making implementation simpler

Enterprise Edition

  • models can be loaded from files and from the Model Mart
  • 400+ users supported
  • Versioning & Configuration Management support (separate from the Model Mart)
  • Object Customisation through user-defined properties (separate from CA ERwin UDPs)

The portal doesn’t interrogate the live model mart repository, you extract models from the model mart and load them into a separate database. The extraction process uses metadata from the models to construct links between models and between objects in models, which can be searched and browsed; this type of searching isn’t supported by ERwin Data Modeller. The links can be visualised in diagrams, generated via Flash.

The portal comes with pre-defined ‘business’ and ‘technical’ views, tailored to different audiences – these views can be altered (with the Enterprise Edition, custom interfaces can also be created).

Access is based on‘configurations’ – these appear to be groups of models with defined access permissions. Note that these are separate from any permissions set in the Model Mart.

The key portal functions are:

  • search
    • keyword-based search, allowing you to filter by object type, property type, and model
      • cannot distinguish between entity/table or attribute/column (no surprise there, this is ERwin after all)
    • search results show the name, definition and comment of each ‘hit’
    • click on an entry in the search results to go that object in the portal, within a list of objects in the model the object lives in
      • now you can click on other objects in the model and check out their properties using the browser (see below)
    • the portal opens several tabs, so you don’t have to keep clicking on the back button in the web browser
  • reports
    • several pre-supplied reports – these are not RTF-style reports, the output is tabular
    • you can choose which properties to show in the report, the display sequence, and the ordering
    • the content of a report can be exported to a CSV file
  • browse
    • like the browser in ERwin data modeller, except you can browse lots of models at the same time
  • lineage
    • this is the really fancy part of the new portal – it can create diagrams showing the lineage of models and model objects, presumably tracing the links I mentioned earlier.  These diagrams aren’t available in ERwin Data Modeller. The diagram symbols are hyperlinked, so you can see the properties of the underlying objects, though I’m not sure if you can trace through dependent objects to show further context. One nice feature is the ability to copy the URL for the diagram – anyone else with the same URL will see the same diagram that you can see. There didn’t seem to be a way to save the diagram view, so that’s a nice stopgap.
    • one good use of this feature is to view links between models, so you can see how you’ve built your enterprise layers, and presumably show how models are synced to each other
  • diagrams
    • you can view scalable images of diagrams extracted from your ERwin models. The symbols are hyperlinked, so you can see the underlying object properties
    • you can flip the diagram between the logical and physical views, change some of the detail displayed, and switch notation between IE, IDEF1X, UML etc

Find out more from CA –

Let’s hope the ERwin product team haven’t exhausted themselves with this release of the portal, and continue the good work! As I’ve already said, the lineage diagramming stands out for me – generating diagrams from metadata is definitely the way forward.

Let’s get down to Business – webcasts from CA

CA have announced a series of webcasts to take place in February, which they’re calling “Let’s Get Down to Business”. The series focusses on the business value of data modelling, with a great set of speakers who are all well worth listening to – Alec Sharp, Karen Lopez, and Peter Aiken.

Worried How Data Quality in your Organization may be affected by a move to the Cloud?
February 6th, 2012
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. EST

Help your Business Love its Data (Models): Tailoring Data Models for your Audience
February 7th, 2012
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. EST

Getting the “Business” into Business-Oriented Data Modeling – Practical Techniques and Examples
February 9th, 2012
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. EST

Follow this link to find out more