Watch Those Parentheses

Kenneth Fisher shows how to see open and close parenthetical locations:

You’ll notice that when I go over the parentheses the one I’ve selected and it’s pair turn yellow, unless there isn’t a pair of course. You can also use Ctrl-] to flip between the open and close parenthesis in a pair. This can be particularly useful to make sure that you remembered a close parenthesis at the end of a subquery. In this case that last close parenthesis doesn’t have a match. Now finding out that you are missing an open parenthesis doesn’t mean you know where it’s supposed to go. But you can track the different pairs, making sure that each time you open a parenthesis you close it in the correct place. In this case it belonged right at the beginning.

FYI yellow isn’t the default (it’s a light gray). I find the default hard to see (I’m getting old) so I changed it to yellow in the options under fonts and colors.

Read the whole thing.

Alternate Credentials

Daniel Hutmacher shows us various techniques for starting Management Studio under different Windows credentials:

The easy way to solve this is to just log on directly to the remote server using Remote Desktop and use Management Studio on that session, but this is not really desirable for several reasons: not only will your Remote Desktop session consume quite a bit of memory and server resources, but you’ll also lose all the customizations and scripts that you may have handy in your local SSMS configuration.

Your mileage may vary with these solutions, and I don’t have the requisite skills to elaborate on the finer points with regards to when one solution will work over another, so just give them a try and see what works for you.

I prefer Daniel’s second option, using runas.exe.

Negative Width And Height In SSMS

Manoj Pandey ran into an issue with Management Studio wanting to open a window with a negative size:

By checking the error its obvious that there is something wrong with Width or Height of SSMS Query-Editor window.

So, I went to REGEDIT (In RUN, type regedit.exe) and after navigating here n there got the location where to update this property.

Navigate to folder: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\SQL Server Management Studio\13.0\

Here check the MainWindow property value (image below), it was showing: 0 451 109 -120 876 1

Change it to a positive value considering the width of your SSMS editor window, I replaced -120 with 1400

I had no idea that the main window size details were kept in the Registry.

Making SSMS Better

Brent Ozar has a few tips to improve your SSMS experience:

Step 1: configure SSMS to only show file names on the tabs. Click Tools, Options, Text Editor, Editor Tab and Status Bar, and set all of the tab texts to false except file name. After all, not like all this stuff fits on the tab.

I definitely agree with step 1.  You can try out steps 2 and 3 and see if they fit your workflow.

Undocked Query Windows

Michael Swart notes that undocked query windows now feel all grown up:

The March 2016 Refresh (13.0.13000.55 Changelog) updates SSMS to use the new Visual Studio 2015 shell. Part of that change means that undocked windows are now top-level windows.

Top level windows are windows without parents so the undocked window is not a child window of the main SSMS window (but it is part of the same process). And so it gets its own space in the task bar, and participates in alt+tab when you switch between windows.

Also these undocked windows can be a collection of query windows.

One reason I rarely used child windows is that I’d undock something, switch to a browser tab underneath, and then switch back and watch the undocked window pop over my browser tab.  This sounds like a good improvement.

Template Replacement

Andy Mallon shows SSMS template replacements:

In the above example, there’s not much value-add by using the template replacement. It’s probably easier to just use @variables and highlight-replace.

The template replacement really shines when you have examples where you’d otherwise need to use dynamic SQL. If you have object names or database names that need replacement, this is a great answer. If you work in a multi-tenant hosting environment, and a client name is part of the DB name, this can make your life a lot easier.

Templates work great with auto-replace (a feature several third-party toolkits include).  My favorite auto-replace that I’ve created is “die” which asks for an schema and procedure name and generates the DROP PROCEDURE script.  Naturally, I also have diet (table), diev (view), and dief (function).

Management Studio Trello Board

Aaron Nelson has set up a Trello board for Management Studio collaboration:

A couple weeks ago I mentioned that we are using Trello to help the community collaborate about what we want next in SQLPS before we submit Connect items to Microsoft.

That effort is going very well.  It’s going so well in fact that when the topic of getting some new improvements into SSMS was brought up, the SQL Tools team suggested that a Trello board to collaborate and prioritize what people want improved in SSMS would be very helpful to them.  Ultimately Microsoft needs Connect items filed but using Trello helps folks to debate and combine ideas.

The cynic in me says “this is what Connect is supposed to do” but Aaron and Chrissy LeMaire had a great deal of success working with the SQLPS team, so here’s hoping they get traction here as well.

Registered Servers

Erik Darling shows how to set up registered servers in Management Studio:

And if you hip and hop over to the Connection Properties tab, you can set all sorts of nifty stuff up. The biggest one for me was to give different types of servers different colored tabs that the bottom of SSMS is highlighted with. It’s the one you’re probably looking at now that’s a putrid yellow-ish color and tells you you’re connected and that your query has been executing for three hours. Reassuring. Anyway, I’d use this to differentiate dev from prod servers. Just make sure to choose light colors, because the black text doesn’t show up on dark colors too well.

In team environments, I’m more a fan of Central Management Servers.

Where Was I?

Shane O’Neill shows how to see the queries which were run in Management Studio:

Suddenly you’re not sure if you really ran the SELECT statement at all.
Maybe you ran the insert statement and 2089 rows were marked to never be seen again!
Or maybe that other table only had 2089 rows in it and you’ve now deleted every one!!

Now this blog post is not going to deal with fail-safe’s for preventing those scenarios because 1) you should already know how to do that, and b) if you don’t know, then maybe back away until you research it… It’s only going to deal with a nice little way you can figure out what it was that you just ran.

I don’t think this will go into my everyday processes, but it’s handy to have when you absolutely need to make sure you’re running the correct line in a script.

Basic SQLCMD

Steve Jones shows  some basic SQLCMD operation:

I had the need to connect from the command line recently, and decided to make a quick post on using SQLCMD, as I had an issue.

SQLCMD is a command line utility that comes with SQL Server. I know many people don’t use command lines, but they are handy at times.

SQLCMD and OSQL aren’t things you typically need to use a lot, but sometimes you won’t have the ability to run Management Studio and it’s good to know that there are built-in alternatives.

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