SSMS Configuration Tips

Recently my install of Management Studio decided to reset itself back to the defaults. After a bit of hunting around for the blog posts that listed some great configurations, I decided to make note of my preferred settings here, for future reference.

Open a new query page at Startup

Tools | Options |  Environment | At startup: – Select Open Object Explorer and new query

Create DMV shortcuts

Tools | Options |  Environment | Keyboard | Query shortcuts:

I add “select * from sys.dm_exec_sessions” and “select * from sys.dm_exec_requests” to Ctrl keys.

Display line numbers

Tools | Options |  Text Editor | All Languages | Display | Line Numbers

Know where you are through colour coding

Save yourself some grief by making group connections an obvious colour (bright red!) so that you don’t execute some script on a bunch of servers accidentally.

Tools | Options |  Text Editor | Editor Tab and Status Bar | Status Bar Layout and Colours | Group Connections

I usually move the status bar location to Top to make the colour even more obvious.

I also find Mladen Prajdić’s SSMS Tools Pack to be invaluable for colour-coding windows of specific servers.

More readable tabs

I find the tabbing in SSMS to be frustrating because it’s so hard to see what’s on a specific tab.

Tools | Options |  Text Editor | Editor Tab and Status Bar | Tab Text – Set all to false except Include file name.

Reduce wait times

Tools | Options | SQL Server Object Explorer | Table and View Options | Value for Select/Edit Top <n> Rows

I rarely need to see 1000 rows when I do a select on a table. It’s usually just a shortcut to the query text so I can start modifying it for other purposes.

Avoid some costly mistakes

Set up a Query Template (via SSMS Tools Pack) such as “BEGIN TRAN/ROLLBACK”.


Want more than you see here? Check out Kimberly Tripp’s Favorite SSMS Options – and some gotchas and Brent Ozar’s Fixing SQL Server Management Studio’s Tab Text. Have a favourite? Let me know in the comments.

These are simply my preferences, I’m not recommending them.