Printing Multiple Pages With MySQL Workbench, Community Edition

Jun 28, 2008 / By Gerry Narvaja

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A few days back I read the Workbench Team’s blog and was curious about the printing capabilities of MySQL Workbench Community edition. As we already know by now, it only allows you to print a single page. I needed to review a customer query which had several tables and some complicated relationships, so I decided to take Workbench Community for a spin (I already knew the Standard edition from my previous job) and tested the following steps:

  1. imported the database after doing a mysqldump -d (Workbench Community can’t connect to the database to get the schema directly).
  2. had Workbench rearrange the diagram.
  3. followed the Workbench Team’s blog instructions to spread it among more pages, since it ended really cramped.
  4. created a PDF file, which was barely readable on paper.

Here’s where the heavy testing started. Besides the PDF file I also created an SVG and an EPS. All of these are scalable. My thinking was that if I imported these files into the right tools, I should be able to get a bigger printout.

SVG

SVG stands for Scalable Vector Graphics. The only free (as in freedom and beer) utilities I could find for SVG were Firefox, which includes a SVG viewer within the browser, and an Adobe viewer which is going to be discontinued soon and runs only on Windows. Neither worked so well, and I had some weird issues displaying the graph. So I moved on to the next alternative.

EPS

EPS stands for Encapsulated Post Script. In this case there are more tools, including importing the graphic into a regular text document (Open Office in my case). Again, things didn’t work as expected so I moved to the PDF.

PDF

Looking around the PDF printer driver in Linux, I discovered that it has the option for “poster printing”. This means that you can print a big document across several pages and then paste them together. It worked like a charm — I was able to print the one page PDF across six pages, which in turn I printed to paper from a PDF reader. I don’t recommend doing the poster printing straight to the printer because it takes some time to create each page, and you may end up tying up the printer. In a networked environment, that can create some animosity.

The PDF printer driver I have for Windows does not have this feature.

Conclusion

MySQL Workbench Community is a very versatile tool, suitable for work in small and medium size projects with no problems. The solution I found — generating a PDF from Workbench, generating a bigger PDF, and then printing — won’t scale if you have hundreds of tables or many databases to look at. In that case, the Standard edition is a bargain.

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