Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I really don't like to draw network diagrams manually.

Aren't there tools which could let me describe the network in a structured textual format and get a nice picture rendered?

share|improve this question

Yes, there is GraphViz which renders from the dot language. (N.B. The 'Graph' bit referrs to graphs in the sense of connected nodes and edges, not bar graphs and line graphs).

It renders basic pictures by default, but is very configurable - see the gallery, or Google Image search for examples - but not easily configurable beyond coloured lines, dotted lines and shapes. You can get "tidy" pictures with a bit of effort. "Nice" is more debatable.

Sadly, it is the product of decades of time, academia and open source; and by that I mean very effective, feature filled and capable, but also ugly, opinionated, and gratingly temperamental.

I used to know of a website which would render GraphViz diagrams as you type them, but I haven't been able to find it recently. Anyone know it?

There is also a connection from the dot language into Visio, here: ( and ). I have not used this.

share|improve this answer
A nice answer. Thank you. Though too low-level. I was thinking about something specifically meant for network diagramming. E.g. I describe every host (PC/router/server/printer/etc), every interface of theirs, every switch, every physical connection (including the media used), geography (which node is in which room/floor/building) as a separate record to get a reasonable looking printable graphical network documentation rendered. – Ivan Apr 27 '13 at 14:39

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.