Entity Framework Tools in Visual Studio

Applies to: yesVisual Studio noVisual Studio for Mac


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Entity Framework is an object-relational mapping technology that enables .NET developers to work with relational data by using domain-specific objects. It eliminates the need for most of the data-access code that developers usually need to write. Entity Framework is the recommended object-relational mapping (ORM) modeling technology for new .NET applications.

Entity Framework Tools are designed to help you build Entity Framework (EF) applications. The complete documentation for Entity Framework is here: Overview - EF 6.


The Entity Framework Tools described on this page are used to generate .edmx files, which are not supported in EF Core. To generate an EF Core model from an existing database, see Reverse Engineering - EF Core. For more information on the differences between EF 6 and EF Core, see Compare EF 6 and EF Core.

With Entity Framework Tools, you can create a conceptual model from an existing database and then graphically visualize and edit your conceptual model. Or, you can graphically create a conceptual model first, and then generate a database that supports your model. In either case, you can automatically update your model when the underlying database changes and automatically generate object-layer code for your application. Database generation and object-layer code generation are customizable.

The Entity Framework tools are installed as part of the Data storage and processing workload in the Visual Studio Installer. You can also install them as an individual component under the SDKs, libraries, and frameworks category.

These are the specific tools that make up Entity Framework tools in Visual Studio:

  • You can use the ADO.NET Entity Data Model Designer (Entity Designer) to visually create and modify entities, associations, mappings, and inheritance relationships. The Entity Designer also generates C# or Visual Basic object-layer code.

  • You can use the Entity Data Model Wizard to generate a conceptual model from an existing database and add database connection information to your application.

  • You can use the Create Database Wizard to create a conceptual model first and then create a database that supports the model.

  • You can use the Update Model Wizard to update your conceptual model, storage model, and mappings when changes have been made to the underlying database.


    Starting with Visual Studio 2010, Entity Framework tools do not support SQL Server 2000.

The tools generate or modify an .edmx file. This .edmx file contains information that describes the conceptual model, the storage model, and the mappings between them. For more information, see EDMX.

Entity Framework 6 Power Tools help you build applications that use the Entity Data Model. The power tools can generate a conceptual model, validate an existing model, produce source-code files that contain object classes based on the conceptual model, and produce source-code files that contain views that the model generates. For detailed information, see Pre-Generated Mapping Views.

Title Description
ADO.NET Entity Framework Describes how to use Entity Data Model Tools, which Entity Framework provides, to create applications.
Entity Data Model Provides links and information for working with data that is used by applications built on Entity Framework.
Entity Framework (EF) Documentation) Provides an index of videos, tutorials, and advanced documentation to help you make the most of Entity Framework.

See also