DFD vs ERD: Difference and Comparison

Data flow diagrams (DFD) and entity flow diagrams (EFD) are both parts of a diagram section called flowcharts. Both drawing methods are used to represent data transfer through the process.

The business flow diagram and the data flow diagram are the same because they show the flow of information.

Key Takeaways

  1. DFD (Data Flow Diagram) visually represents data processes and flows within a system, while ERD (Entity Relationship Diagram) showcases relationships between entities in a database.
  2. DFDs focus on how data moves through a system, whereas ERDs emphasize the structure and organization of data.
  3. DFDs are essential for understanding and documenting system processes, while ERDs are crucial in database design and normalization.


DFD (Data Flow Diagram) is a graphical representation of how data flows within a system. ERD (Entity Relationship Diagram) is a graphical representation of entities and their relationships to one another and is used to represent the data requirements and relationships between entities in a system.


A data flow diagram is a type of overview of the maximum data flow in a system. It helps to explain the process at a higher level. You create it from end to end, which includes the source system and storage space.

A data flow diagram is like a map. It is a way of understanding that it has created any process that needs to be understood.

A business relationship diagram visually represents a business and how it relates to other businesses. Allows users to see how data is linked to a website and how businesses are related.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonDFDERD
Full-FormDFD is the abbreviation of Data Flow Diagram.ERD is the abbreviation of entity flow diagrams.
Also calledDFDs are also called data flow charts.ERDs are also called database models.
DepictsAs the name suggests this diagram shows us the data flow.As the name suggests this shows us the flow of entities as opposed to data.
Symbols UsedSymbols used to make DFDs are rectangles, arrows, ovals, parallel lines, and circles.Symbols used to construct ERDs are rectangles, lines, boxes of different shapes, and standard notations.
MeaningEvery arrow illustrates whether data entered or left the system.All entities in the diagram try to depict similar things.

What is DFD?

A data flow diagram is a diagram that represents the flow of data from one data store to another.

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Data flow diagrams are part of a typical family of drawings, which includes business relationship diagrams and classroom diagrams.

Data flow diagrams are useful in situations where you want to understand how data is related to other data.

Data flow diagrams can also help understand potential sources of data errors.

For example, if you have a data flow diagram and you know that your data store contains incorrect data, you can track this incorrect data back to the previously received location and understand where the error occurred.

A data flow chart, also known as a data flow diagram, is a diagram showing how data flows from one process to another.

It displays a data processing system and assists you in analyzing and designing software applications, websites, and other applications.

The data flow diagram is used in applications, especially in the field of website management, software design, and computer architecture, and to represent data flow between the various stages of the process.

In software, a data flow diagram is a visual representation of how data in a system is converted.

Data flow diagrams are integral to the first software system design, allowing the designer to see a process collection map.

A data flow diagram is used in applications mainly in the field of database management, software design, and hardware design and for representing the flow of data between various steps of a process.

In software, a data flow diagram is a visual representation of how data in a system is transformed.

Data flow diagrams are an important part of the preliminary design of a software system, allowing the designer to map out a set of processes visually.

data flow diagram

What is ERD?

This is a type of image representation of the data in the database system. It is a useful diagram to clearly outline how each piece of data interacts with the other data.

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Where boxes with diagrams represent tables, and columns from one table are connected by rows and corresponding columns of another row from another table.

Provides a clear layout or website plan. This is a useful way for website designers to find out how to design their websites. End users also use it for site viewing.

ERD shows how data is related. For example, one table may have many different rows, but each row will have only one entry in the other.

Website modeling is an important step in the design process. Without it, it is impossible to maintain a functional website, especially those that can be accessed and used by the system.

 The website model is a graph of business relationships. It shows how the data is stored and clearly represents its underlying structure.

Business is data, and relationships are the connection between data. The database model is used to guide decisions about website design, especially data.

Main Differences Between DFD and ERD

  1. Data flow diagrams are used to visualize the flow of data between participants in a system, which includes information and steps that process that information. Business flow diagrams show the business flow in the system and illustrate the system’s logical structure.
  2. DFDs use boxes and arrows to indicate how information is moving through the system. ERD is a way of displaying information about websites, such as tables and relationships between them.
  3. DFD boxes indicate areas where data can be entered, and arrows indicate how data is moving. ERD displays its data and attributes.
  4. Generally, no data relationship is shown in the data flow diagram, but in the business relationship diagram, the data relationship is shown.
  5. DFD diagrams include a database, while ERD does not represent any database.
  1. https://ideas.repec.org/a/jfr/jms111/v8y2017i4p51-61.html
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/5387079/

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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6 thoughts on “DFD vs ERD: Difference and Comparison”

  1. This article help me to understand the main differences between DFD and ERD diagrams. I agree with the comparison table, where it explains the purpose and depiction of both.

  2. The references provided back up the information presented in this post. It is always a good practice to support information with credible sources.

  3. This is a clear an informative comparison of DFD and ERD. DFD is like a map to understand process while ERD shows entities and relationships.

  4. Data flow diagrams are a crucial part of understanding the flow of information within a system. It is interesting to note that it focuses on how data moves through a system, while entity relationship diagrams emphasize the structure and organization of data.

  5. It is an interesting point that DFD diagrams include a database, whereas ERD does not represent any database. It highlights the key differences between DFD and ERD.


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