SQL Server 2012 : SQL Server Management and Development Tools - Organizing the Interface

9/28/2013 7:33:24 PM

Management Studio includes a wide variety of functionality organized into thirteen tools, which you can open from the View menu, from the standard toolbar, or from the associated hotkey:

  • Object Explorer (F8): Used for administering and developing SQL Server database objects. The Object Explorer Details page presents a list of objects under the selected node.
  • Registered Servers (Ctrl+Alt+G): Used to manage the connections to multiple SQL Server engines ranging from SQL Server 2005 all the way up to SQL Server 2012. You can register database engines, Analysis Services, Report Servers, SQL Server Express, SQL Server Express LocalDB, and Integration Services servers.
  • Utility Explorer: Opens the Utility Explorer dashboard. Allows you to create a Utility Control Point (UCP) and enroll instances and monitor health states of those servers at a holistic level.
  • Template Explorer (Ctrl+Alt+T): Used to create and manage T-SQL code templates.
  • Solution Explorer (Ctrl+Alt+L): Organizes projects and manages source code control.
  • Properties window (F4): Displays properties for the selected object.
  • Bookmarks window (Ctrl+K, Ctrl+W): Lists current bookmarks from within the Query Editor.
  • Web Browser (Ctrl+Alt+R): Used by the Query Editor to display XML or HTML results.
  • Output window (Ctrl+Alt+O): Displays messages from Management Studio's integrated development tools.
  • Query Editor: The descendant of SQL Server 2000's Query Analyzer, the Query Editor is used to create, edit, and execute T-SQL batches. Query Editor may be opened from the File ? New menu by opening an existing query file (assuming you have the .sql file extension associated with Management Studio), by clicking the New Query toolbar button, or by launching a query script from an object in Object Explorer.
  • Toolbox (Ctrl+Alt+X): Used to hold tools for some tasks.
  • Error List (Ctrl+\, Ctrl+E): Lists multiple errors.
  • Task List (Ctrl+Alt+K): Tracks tasks for solutions.

The most commonly used tools — Query Editor, Object Explorer, Template Explorer, and Properties windows — are available on the standard toolbar.

Window Placement

Using the Visual Studio look and feel, most windows may float, be docked, be part of a tabbed window, or be hidden off to one side. The exception is the Query Editor, which shares the center window: the document window. Here multiple documents are presented using tabs to select a document.

You can change any window's mode by right-clicking the window's title bar, and selecting the down arrow on the right side of a docked window or from the Window menu. In addition, grabbing a window and moving it to the wanted location can also change the window's mode. Following are the available options by either dragging the tool's window or using the tool context menu:

  • Setting the mode to floating instantly removes the window from Management Studio's window. A floating window behaves like a nonmodal dialog box.
  • Setting the mode to tabbed immediately moves the window to a tabbed document location in the center of Management Studio, adding it as a tab to any existing documents already in the location. In effect, this makes the tool appear to become a tab in the Query Editor. Dragging a tab to a side location creates a new tabbed document. Any location (center, right left, top, bottom) can hold several tabbed tools or documents. The center document location displays the tabs on the top of the documents; the other locations display the tabs at the bottom.
  • A tabbed document area can hold more documents than there is space to display the tabs. You can view the hidden tabs in two ways. Control + tab opens the active tools window and scrolls through the open files, or the Active File arrow in the upper right corner of the tabbed document area opens a drop-down list of the tabs.
  • While a dockable window is being moved, Management Studio displays several blue docking indicators. Dropping a window on the arrow docks it in the selected location. Dropping the window on the center blue spot adds the window to the center location as a tabbed document. See Figure 1.

When dropping a window onto the arrow, make sure the cursor has to be over the arrow, or it won't work.

  • Opening several windows can keep the tools right at hand, but unless you have a mega monitor (a 24” widescreen works well!), the windows will likely use too much real estate. One solution is auto-hiding any docked window that you want out of the way until the window's tab is clicked. To auto-hide a window toggle the pin icon in the window's title bar. When the pin is vertical, the window stays open. When the window is unpinned, the window auto-hides. An auto-hidden window must be pinned back to normal before its mode can be changed to floating or tabbed. You might find that you accidentally open the hidden tab so much that you avoid auto-hiding windows. Or you might find the feature useful.

Ctrl+Tab displays all windows and documents. You can click a window or document with the Ctrl key still depressed to select it. You can also use the arrow keys with the Ctrl key still depressed and release Ctrl when the window you need is selected. One press of Ctrl+Tab selects the most recently selected document. Repeatedly pressing Ctrl+Tab cycles though all the documents in the center location.

Figure 1 Moving a floating Window in Management Studio presents several drop points. The shaded area indicates where the dropped window will be placed.


To reset Management Studio to its default configuration (Object Explorer, Tabbed Documents, Property Window) use the Window ? Reset Window Layout menu command. Fortunately, this command does not reset any custom toolbar modifications.

To hide all the docked windows and keep only the tabbed documents in the center visible, use the Window ? Auto Hide All menu command.

The flexible positioning of the windows means you can configure the interface to give you access to the tools in whatever way makes you the most comfortable and productive. You might tend to close every window but the Query Editor and work with multiple scripts using the vertical split panes, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2 Although Management Studio can be configured with multiple windows, this is a common configuration for doing development work: Object Explorer Details for searches and Query Editor for script-style coding in the tabbed view, with a little Object Explorer on the side.


The Context Menu

In keeping with the Microsoft Windows interface standards, the context menu (accessed via right-click) is the primary means to select actions or view properties throughout Management Studio. The context menu for most object types includes submenus for new objects and tasks. These are the workhorse menus within Management Studio.

Add -nosplash to your SQL Server Management Studio shortcuts to improve startup time. To do this, right-click your SSMS shortcut (on your desktop, Start menu or taskbar) and go to Properties. In the Target window, add -nosplash after the quotes.
  •  SQL Server 2012 : SQL Server Private Cloud - Upgrading SQL Server
  •  SQL Server 2012 : SQL Server Private Cloud - Discovering SQL Server Sprawl
  •  SQL Server 2012 : Storage Systems (part 7) - Measuring Performance - Storage Performance Testing
  •  SQL Server 2012 : Storage Systems (part 6) - Measuring Performance - Sequential Disk Access, File Layout, Flash Storage
  •  SQL Server 2012 : Storage Systems (part 5) - Measuring Performance - Storage Performance Counters, Disk Drive Performance
  •  SQL Server 2012 : Storage Systems (part 4) - Storage Technology - Remote Data Replication, Windows Failover Clustering, SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups
  •  SQL Server 2012 : Storage Systems (part 3) - Storage Technology - Storage Tiering, Data Replication
  •  SQL Server 2012 : Storage Systems (part 2) - Storage Technology - SQL Server and the Windows I/O Subsystem
  •  SQL Server 2012 : Storage Systems (part 1) - Storage Technology
  •  SQL Server 2008 : Policy-based management - Policies in action (part 2) - Creating a database properties policy
    Top 10
    SG50 Ferrari F12berlinetta : Prancing Horse for Lion City's 50th
    The latest Audi TT : New angles for TT
    Era of million-dollar luxury cars
    Game Review : Hearthstone - Blackrock Mountain
    Game Review : Battlefield Hardline
    Google Chromecast
    Keyboards for Apple iPad Air 2 (part 3) - Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad Air 2
    Keyboards for Apple iPad Air 2 (part 2) - Zagg Slim Book for iPad Air 2
    Keyboards for Apple iPad Air 2 (part 1) - Belkin Qode Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2
    Michael Kors Designs Stylish Tech Products for Women
    - First look: Apple Watch

    - 3 Tips for Maintaining Your Cell Phone Battery (part 1)

    - 3 Tips for Maintaining Your Cell Phone Battery (part 2)
    Popular Tags
    Video Tutorail Microsoft Access Microsoft Excel Microsoft OneNote Microsoft PowerPoint Microsoft Project Microsoft Visio Microsoft Word Active Directory Exchange Server Sharepoint Sql Server Windows Server 2008 Windows Server 2012 Windows 7 Windows 8 Adobe Flash Professional Dreamweaver Adobe Illustrator Adobe Photoshop CorelDRAW X5 CorelDraw 10 windows Phone 7 windows Phone 8 Iphone