Generate Entity Relationship Diagrams for a Laravel codebase

laravel-2 php

When starting on a codebase that has been worked on for some time, it can be handy to try and get an over-arching picture of the system and relationships between the various models.

I recently decided to add this to my own onboarding process steps, which should of course be in addition to actual discussions with your co-workers.

There will inevitably be idiosyncrasies in every codebase that a relational diagram just wont show. And many aspects of an older codebase will only come with time and exposure to the weeds of said codebase.

However, I think an ERD can help in many cases. Although if you’re dealing with a huge monolith, this could end up adding much extra confusion.

This guide uses a third party package:


Please refer to the official README steps on the package’s website/repository. This guide is kind of a braindump as I do the steps.

Note: I branch off in a temporary branch and run these commands so as to not muddy the main / master branch.

Install Dependencies

Install graphviz. On Arch I did this:

sudo pacman -S graphviz

Install in a Laravel project as a dev dependency:

composer require beyondcode/laravel-er-diagram-generator --dev


Generate the ERD with default settings (using the app/Models folder for ERD generation):

php artisan generate:erd

This will give you a file called graph.png in your current directory, unless you give it a specific name on the end of the command.

# With a custom name
php artisan generate:erd my-file.png

# With a custom name and different format
php artisan generate:erd my-file.jpg --format=jpg