Sql Server Management Studio is very robust and can do many things, but like any other product cannot do everything. Luckily there are add-ins available that fill in some of the gaps. My favorite and one I use every single day is SSMSBoost, (I no longer use it due to the change in the community license and the useful functions being taken away.)
[Update 3/18/2018….SSMSBoost has changed their community license and the product no longer has all functions available with that license. I no longer can recommend this plug-in for free use. If you don’t mind paying, it is still a very good app.]
It has a FREE Community Edition which does everything the paid version does, but you need to just download the newest version every 120 days and install over the current version. It does not overwrite any of your settings, so this 2 minute process is definitely worth it.
I could write 20 articles about the features, but below are three I use every day.
Find in Editor History
After using TOAD for Oracle for almost 10 years, I really appreciated the SQL Recall feature it had. If you wrote a onetime query for a user and did not save it, and then the next day they just wanted one tweak, you would have to recreate the query. Having the recall, you could look back and see all of queries you ran and bring it back up and make modifications. When I switched over to Sql Server, SSMS did not have this functionality, so I searched for something free that would do this. I finally found SSMSBoost which had this feature and provided all kinds of options for how it behaves.
For example (above), I just have it save the query only if it actually executes. If you have a syntax error, it will not save the query.
Below is how you would search for a query:
Click the History button -> Find in Editor History
Type in some distinguishing text to search for that you remember from the query and pick what time frame you want to search back from.
Double click the item that shows up and it will open up the query in SSMS. You just saved yourself a bunch of time from having to rewrite a query.
Exporting Results to Excel
Many times an end user will ask for data out of the database and wants it in Excel. You can right click and save results as or copy out the values by Selecting all and copying them out. If you use SSMSBoost, this is more efficient, because it keeps the datatype that the data is when it comes over to Excel. This means if you have leading zero’s or other special characters, they will not get dropped off or changed when the file is opened in Excel or if you save the file as a csv file, it will not split up the field to another column due to it having a comma in it.
Just right click and choose: Script grid data
That brings up the following box. Select the Excel template, and then click Start Scripting, after it is done, click the link below output files.
This brings up your data, all nice and formatted in Excel. Notice the leading zero is still present and the delivery location looks correct.
Below, this is how it looks when you just copy it and past the results out of the grid or saving the results grid. Notice the gibberish data and the leading zero is dropped. This is incorrect and you could provide invalid data. You never have to do this again, if you use the method above.
The last feature I use every day is Auto Replacements, otherwise known as spellcheck. If you spell WHERE incorrectly as often I do, you will love this feature. You can add any words that you misspell or you can even use it for code completion (see second screenshot)
Below is a time saving auto replacement feature: If you type in sel and then press space, it changes it to: select * from
You can also create your own!
This has been a summary of some very useful features of SSMSBoost that I use every day and would be very sad if they no longer existed. I will more than likely do another post on some other cool features that I use with it since there are so many.
No, I am not a spokesman for this add-in, but it just works so well, I need to tell people. See update at beginning of article, the license has changed and I no longer recommend this plugin, 3/18/2018.
Please let me know of any FREE tools that you use that are time saving or you really like.
Thanks for reading!