Using Hypothetical Indexes, you can generate an estimated execution plan for a given query, that would essentially assume the existence of a “hypothetical” index as if it actually exists as a real index. Compare that estimated execution plan to its counterpart without the hypothetical index, and you’ll be able to determine whether creating this index for real is worth the time and effort.
Hypothetical Indexes are actually nothing new in SQL Server. It existed since SQL Server version 2005. However, its use is still not widespread to this day. Most likely because it’s not very easy to use and the relevant commands are undocumented.
Click through to see how to use them and an important warning if you try it in production.