Top Alternative to Navicat for Windows

Navicat is one of the best-known software products for database development and administration, with a large community worldwide and all the database management essentials at hand. But if you came here looking for a functionally superior alternative for SQL Server, you are in the right place.

The Navicat alternative in question is dbForge Studio for SQL Server. Being similar to Navicat feature-wise, it delivers quite a few extra tools, some of which may be crucial to your daily work:

  • Far broader set of SQL development tools, which includes context-sensitive code autocompletion, rich formatting options, and smart refactoring
  • Advanced data and schema comparison and synchronization tools
  • Visual Query Builder for coding-free creation of complex queries
  • Integrated generators of realistic test data, database documenter, and unit testing tools
  • The trial period lasts 30 days, which is twice as long as Navicat offers
  • You can opt for an absolutely FREE Express Edition with basic database development and management tools

SQL Development Tools

dbForge Studio for SQL Server has everything to help you start coding up to 4 times faster:

  • Context-sensitive code autocompletion and object suggestions
  • Multiple formatting profiles
  • Rich and easily modifiable SQL snippet collection
  • Smart refactoring with automatic correction of references
  • T-SQL Debugger for stored procedures, triggers, functions, and scripts
  • Code navigation and other productivity enhancements

Data and Schema Comparison

dbForge Studio for SQL Server contains a unique combination of tools that help you compare database schemas and compare the actual data with subsequent synchronization.

Again, dbForge Studio boasts a superior set of features:

  • Conveniently displayed differences
  • Filtering of comparison results
  • CLI-powered automation of comparison and synchronization
  • Generation of comparison reports

Visual Database Designer

Database Designer offers an invaluable set of features that allow visualizing, creating, and editing SQL Server databases without coding. You can simply drag-and-drop your database onto a diagram and get a clear picture of its basic objects and relationships between them.

  • Scalable database diagrams
  • Tracking of logical relationships between tables
  • Quick printing of large diagrams
  • Export of diagrams as images

Query Builder

Query Builder, seamlessly integrated into dbForge Studio for SQL Server, helps you create queries of any complexity visually, with no need for coding. With its help, you can easily build queries that involve multiple tables, joins, conditions, and sub-queries.

  • Visualization of complex queries
  • Combinations of multiple queries
  • Complex conditions
  • Query structure overview in the Document Outline window
  • Preview and printing of query diagrams
  • Editing and export of query results

Data Generator

dbForge Studio offers a smart Data Generator, designed to deliver large volumes of realistic test data and populate the required database in a matter of moments.

  • 200+ meaningful generators with rich customization
  • Support for all essential column data types
  • SQL data integrity support
  • Real-time preview of generated data
  • Save Command Line option

Query Profiler

dbForge Studio features a handy tool called Query Profiler, which helps locate bottlenecks and optimize the execution of slow queries.

  • Search for performance bottlenecks
  • Quick jump to any step of query optimization to review, execute, or save queries
  • Tracking of session statistics for queries
  • Visual comparison of profiling results
  • Profiling history

Feature-by-feature comparison

The following table provides a detailed comparison of dbForge Studio for SQL Server 6.1.14 (Enterprise Edition) and Navicat Premium 15.0.26. For quick navigation, please use the side menu.

SQL Editing & Execution

dbForge Studio
Navicat Premium
Automatic SQL syntax check
Yes
Yes
Code outlining
Yes
None
Code snippets
Yes
Yes
Customizable SQL formatting and code beautifier
Yes
Yes
Wide range of SQL formatting options and profiles
Yes
Limited
Execute current statement
Yes
Yes
Parameter information for stored routines
Yes
None
SQL editor with syntax coloring
Yes
Yes
Quick access to favorite templates from the SQL editor
Yes
Yes
Bookmarks
Yes
Yes
Select block
Yes
None
Text search
Yes
Yes
Document Outline window for quick navigation through large scripts
Yes
None
Execution of scripts, selected SQL fragments and statements
Yes
Yes
One-step access to the database object editor from the code (go to definition)
Yes
Yes
SQL execution history window
Yes
Yes
Execution warnings
Yes
Yes
GUI transaction support
Yes
Yes
Command-line interface for script execution
Yes
None

Code Completion

dbForge Studio
Navicat Premium
Context-sensitive code completion
Yes
Yes
One-click access to schema object definitions
Yes
None
On-the-fly renaming of database objects
Yes
Limited
Auto-generation of table aliases
Yes
None
Quick information about database objects
Yes
Yes
SQL refactoring with automatic correction of references to renamed objects
Yes
Limited

T-SQL Debugger

dbForge Studio
Navicat Premium
Script debugging
Yes
Yes
Step Into, Step Over, and Step Out commands for step-by-step execution
Yes
Yes
Breakpoints support for procedures, functions, triggers, and scripts
Yes
Yes
Breakpoints window
Yes
Yes
Call Stack window with navigation
Yes
Yes
Watches window for variable evaluation
Yes
Yes

Visual Query Builder

dbForge Studio
Navicat Premium
Support for the SELECT statement
Yes
None
Support for the INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE statements
Yes
None
Common table expression
Yes
None
State-of-the-art diagram
Yes
None
Zooming
Yes
None
Keyboard support
Yes
None
Diagram preview
Yes
None
Diagram printing
Yes
None
Visual addition of sub-queries to any part of the main query
Yes
None
Query outline (displayed in the Document Outline window)
Yes
None
Visual editing of sub-queries
Yes
None
Expression builder for creating complex conditions
Yes
None
Drag-and-drop required tables
Yes
None
Copy/Paste for tables on the diagram
Yes
None
Undo/Redo support
Yes
None

Database Designer

dbForge Studio
Navicat Premium
Visual Database Designer
Yes
Yes
Visualization of tables
Yes
Yes
Visualization of stored procedures and functions
Yes
None
Visualization of views
Yes
Yes
Easy access to database objects for viewing their properties
Yes
Yes
Support for IDEF1X and IE notations
Yes
Yes
Customizable diagram look and feel with skin support
Yes
Limited
Smart ER Diagram layout
Yes
Yes
Diagram export to different image formats
Yes
Yes
Arrangement of diagram shapes using containers
Yes
Yes
Customizable diagram printing with a rich set of options
Yes
Limited
Optional display of table constraints, indexes, and triggers
Yes
None
Integration with the Document Outline window
Yes
None
Diagram navigation with the Diagram Overview window
Yes
Yes
Notes for adding comments to a diagram
Yes
Yes
Export to image only
Yes
Yes
Zoom in/out
Yes
Yes
Save/Load diagram
Yes
Yes
Forward engineering of physical database designs
Yes
Yes

Data Editor

dbForge Studio
Navicat Premium
Copying data with column headers for quick pasting to a spreadsheet
Yes
Yes
Custom data filters of any complexity
Yes
None
Data Viewer window for browsing images, RTF, and binary cell values
Yes
None
Date/Time editor with a visual interface
Yes
Yes
Foreign key lookup editor for easy editing of fields referencing other tables
Yes
Yes
Free copying of any block of data to clipboard
Yes
Yes
Full-text search (Ctrl+F) in the data grid
Yes
Yes
Single row values view
Yes
Yes
Graphical card view
Yes
None
Grouping by arbitrary columns
Yes
None
Incremental search (Ctrl+I) through the data grid
Yes
Yes
Large objects (LOB) editor
Yes
None
Multi-table query result set editing
Yes
Yes
Paginal data browsing for large result sets
Yes
Yes
Data printing
Yes
None
Quick filter available for each data cell
Yes
None
Record numbering option
Yes
None
Read-only state indication
Yes
Yes
Report and pivot building directly from the data editor
Yes
None
Server-side sorting and filtering for large data sets
Yes
Yes
Visible columns dialog
Yes
Yes
Editing of multiple execution results of one script on separate tabs
Yes
Yes
Autocommit mode
Yes
Yes
Export selected data to CSV, HTML, and XML
Yes
None
Export selected data to JSON
Yes
None
Export selected data to SQL
Yes
None
Export selected data to a file
Yes
None

Database Explorer

dbForge Studio
Navicat Premium
Multiple database connections
Yes
Yes
Filter objects in the objects folder
Yes
Yes
Browse and navigate through objects
Yes
Yes
Detailed object properties and data browsing in the Object Viewer window
Yes
Yes
Dependency tree browsing for each object
Yes
None
Quick template script generation for selected objects: SELECT, INSERT, etc.
Yes
Yes
The 'Send To' command for quick sending of tables to Query Builder, Data Report, and other tools
Yes
Yes
Search box
Yes
Yes
Duplicate objects (tables, views)
Yes
Yes
Duplicate structure/structure and data
Yes
Yes
Duplicate objects (procedures, functions)
Yes
None

Table Designer

dbForge Studio
Navicat Premium
Flat table editor
Yes
Yes
Convenient editor for foreign keys
Yes
Yes
Partitioning support
Yes
None
Preview of schema changes before updating a database
Yes
None
Heuristics that helps define data types of new columns
Yes
None

Object Editor

dbForge Studio
Navicat Premium
Visual editor for database objects
Yes
Yes
Backups
Yes
Yes
Undo option for the object editor
Yes
None

Schema & Data Comparison

dbForge Studio
Navicat Premium
Comparison and synchronization of data in databases of virtually any size
Yes
Yes
Comparison of assemblies, procedures, functions, triggers, user types, sequences, synonyms, rules, defaults, plan guides
Yes
Yes
Comparison of external resources: tables, data sources, file formats
Yes
None
Service broker comparison (service, route, remote service binding, queue, message type, event notification, contract, broker priorities)
Yes
None
Storage comparison (full-text catalogs, partition schemes, partition functions, full-text stoplist, search property list)
Yes
None
Comparison of tables and views
Yes
Yes
Custom comparison keys
Yes
Yes
Comparison results filtering
Yes
Yes
Data synchronization script generation
Yes
Yes
Viewing of data differences per record
Yes
Yes
Exclusion of tables and records from synchronization
Yes
Yes
Saving and loading of comparison settings
Yes
Yes
Command-line interface for data comparison and synchronization
Yes
None
Generation of accurate comparison reports in HTML and Excel
Yes
None
Generation of comments
Yes
None
Specific options for tables, script objects, triggers, indexes, and constraints
Yes
None
Include\Exclude objects by mask in Data Compare
Yes
None
Include\Exclude objects by mask in Schema Compare
Yes
None
Schema comparison with script folders
Yes
None
Scheduled data synchronization
Yes
Yes
Save as Command Line
Yes
None
Comparison of directories
Yes
None
Support for Azure DW
Yes
Yes
Support for Azure Synapse
Yes
None
Support for SQL Server 2019
Yes
Yes

Data Export

dbForge Studio
Navicat Premium
CSV
Yes
Yes
XML
Yes
Yes
Text
Yes
Yes
XLS
Yes
Yes
XLSX
Yes
Yes
PDF
Yes
None
DBF
Yes
Yes
HTML
Yes
Yes
RTF
Yes
None
JSON
Yes
Yes
Google Sheets
Yes
None
MDB (Microsoft Access)
Yes
Yes
ODBC
Yes
None
SQL
Yes
Yes
Data export using the command-line interface
Yes
None

Data Import

dbForge Studio
Navicat Premium
CSV
Yes
Yes
Text
Yes
None
XML
Yes
Yes
JSON
Yes
Yes
XLS
Yes
Yes
XLSX
Yes
Yes
Google Sheets
Yes
None
DBF
Yes
Yes
MDB (Microsoft Access)
Yes
Yes
ODBC
Yes
Yes
Paradox file
Yes
Yes

Schema Export & Import

dbForge Studio
Navicat Premium
Copy database
Yes
None
Database snapshots
Yes
None
Native backup/restore
Yes
Limited
Scheduled backup
Yes
Yes
Database script folders
Yes
None
Generation of database scripts
Yes
Yes

Source Control

dbForge Studio
Navicat Premium
Integration with Azure DevOps (Git, TFVC)
Yes
None
Integration with Git (GitHub, GitLab, BitBucket)
Yes
None
Integration with SVN
Yes
None
Working folder with SQL scripts
Yes
None
Shared and dedicated database development models
Yes
None
Commit, Get Latest, Undo Changes
Yes
None
Resolve conflicts: Get Local and Get Remote
Yes
None
Preview changes and differences before committing
Yes
None
Version-control static data
Yes
None
View the history of changes (who, when and why made each change)
Yes
None

Administration

dbForge Studio
Navicat Premium
Server Event Profiler
Yes
None
Server Monitor
Yes
Limited

User & Session Management

dbForge Studio
Navicat Premium
Visual editors for users, logins, and roles
Yes
Yes
Visual editors for schemas
Yes
Yes
Visual editors for object level permissions
Yes
Yes

Data Analysis

dbForge Studio
Navicat Premium
Display of table data representing parent-child dependencies (Master-Detail Browser)
Yes
Yes
Data report generation wizard
Yes
None
Data report designer
Yes
None
Pivot table designer
Yes
None
Сhart availability
Yes
Yes
Chart building wizard
Yes
Yes
Data search on a live database
Yes
Yes
Automated report generation and distribution using CLI
Yes
None

Test Data Generation

dbForge Studio
Navicat Premium
Support for all SQL Server column data types
Yes
None
Multiple generators with data customization
Yes
None
SQL data integrity support
Yes
None
Multiple ways to populate data
Yes
None
Meaningful generators
Yes
None
User-defined generators
Yes
None
Real-time preview of generated data
Yes
None
CLI wizard
Yes
None

Database Documenter

dbForge Studio
Navicat Premium
Broad picture of database structure
Yes
None
Rich customization features
Yes
None
HTML format
Yes
None
PDF format
Yes
None
Markdown format
Yes
None
Text format
Yes
None
Documentation customization with style templates
Yes
None
View inter-object and inter-database dependencies
Yes
None
Command-line interface
Yes
None

Performance Tuning

dbForge Studio
Navicat Premium
Visual SQL explain plan
Yes
Yes
Session statistics displayed in the UI
Yes
Yes
Query plan displayed in the tree view for easy reviewing
Yes
None
Profiling history that can be saved for further analysis
Yes
Yes
Comparison of profiling results with the highlighting of differences
Yes
Yes
Printing of profiling results
Yes
None
Top performance reports
Yes
None
Query Profiler with comparison results
Yes
None

Search

dbForge Studio
Navicat Premium
Search for database objects
Yes
Yes
Search for table data
Yes
Yes
Preview found pieces
Yes
None
Navigate to the object in Database Explorer
Yes
None

Unit Testing

dbForge Studio
Navicat Premium
Unit testing based on the tSQLt framework
Yes
None
Command-line interface
Yes
None

DevOps Automation

dbForge Studio
Navicat Premium
PowerShell cmdlet collection
Yes
None
Jenkins plugin for SQL Server
Yes
None
TeamCity plugin for SQL Server
Yes
None
Azure DevOps plugin for SQL Server
Yes
None
Bamboo plugin for SQL Server
Yes
None

User Interface

dbForge Studio
Navicat Premium
Start Page with quick access to main features
Yes
None
Rich user settings
Yes
Yes
UI skins
Yes
Yes
Customizable window layout
Yes
Yes
Tool windows with the auto-hide mode
Yes
Yes
Tool windows with the float mode
Yes
Yes
Multiple shortcut schemes with full shortcut customization
Yes
Yes
Syntax highlighting customization
Yes
Yes
Tabbed groups for documents
Yes
Yes
Toolbar customization
Yes
Yes
Wizard for sharing common code standards and templates
Yes
None
GUI font
Yes
Yes

Database Connectivity

dbForge Studio
Navicat Premium
Azure SQL Application ID
Yes
None
Connection coloring
Yes
Yes
Connection categories
Yes
None
Read-only connection
Yes
Yes
Multiple sessions for one connection
Yes
Yes
Export/Import of connections
Yes
None
SQL Server 2000 or later
Yes
Yes
Microsoft Azure SQL
Yes
Yes

Conclusions

The comparison above shows that dbForge Studio for SQL Server has a number of functional advantages that make it superior to Navicat: more sophisticated SQL development tools, schema and data comparison tools, test data generator, as well as documenting, query building, and unit testing tools. To top it off, dbForge Studio is far more affordable.

Your ultimate IDE for SQL Server databases

dbForge Studio for SQL Server is a versatile development environment that has proved to be an exceptional assistant for SQL developers, administrators, and data analysts alike. Moreover, the free Express Edition is a great starting point for beginners, non-profit organizations, and generally for anyone who needs their basic set of features at hand.

Get dbForge Studio for SQL Server today!

Download dbForge Studio for a FREE 30-day trial
to evaluate all of its powerful capabilities
hidden under a sleek user interface.