Introduction Of New Useful Features In SSMS 2016


This article is an effort to list out a few exciting improvements that have been made to SQL Server Management Studio 2016. I believe, most of these new features can help improve the speed of our work and make it much more convenient to use the SSMS.

  1. Color Theme
    With SSMS 2016, now you can choose your preferred color theme, a feature similar to that in Visual Studio. For now, you can choose one from 2 available color themes – Blue or Light, blue being the default theme.

    Tools - Options - Environment - General - Color theme

    SQL Server Management Studio
  1. Hide Save Query Window Prompt
    In earlier versions of SSMS, you can’t ignore the Save query window prompt that comes when you want to close either an unsaved query window or the SSMS itself. While this restriction is actually meaningful to have in SSMS, with SSMS 2016, you can now customize to hide those prompts as per your preference.

    Tools - Options - Query Execution - SQL Server - General - “Prompt to save unsaved T-SQL query windows on close”

    SQL Server Management Studio
  1. Update from SSMS Menu
    SSMS 2016 automatically checks for any updates available when it is online and a toast notification comes when there is an update available something as the following screenshot.

    SQL Server Management Studio

    However, you can also check manually for updates' availability.

    Tools - “Check for Updates…”

    SQL Server Management Studio

    You can disable automatic checking for updates by unchecking the checkbox in the pop-up window that appears when you click "Check for Updates..." as described above.

    SQL Server Management Studio
  1. Search Options
    Confused about so many new features and steps to open the window to configure them? Don’t worry, SSMS now has the Search option which is one of the much requested features. You can search by the feature name or a keyword.

    Tools - Options

    SQL Server Management Studio

    SQL Server Management Studio
  1. Highlight Current Line
    How many times do you feel lost while modifying an existing huge query or stored procedure in SSMS? The problem occurs when your SQL statements are very long and you haven’t configured the text editor to wrap words automatically and then when you use the horizontal scrollbar to scroll the content, it becomes difficult to identify which line you wanted to modify or check. Now, with SSMS 2016, an outline will follow your cursor wherever you placed it. That makes it easy to identify the line you are currently working with. The best part is, it can be configured.

    Tools - Options - Text Editor - General - “Highlight current line”

    SQL Server Management Studio
  1. Scroll & Zoom Execution Plan Window
    There are also few improvements done in the Execution Plan window. Now, you can zoom the content of this window using shortcut CTRL + Scroll. You can also scroll the content of the window by dragging the content with a mouse.

    SQL Server Management Studio
  1. Retain Carriage Return and Line Feeds on Copy or Save
    It may seem to you as a weird default behavior. In SSMS 2016, if you copy any result from the Result Grid and paste it in a notepad or any text editor, you will notice that the carriage return and line feeds are not in place. However, this can also be configured.

    Tools - Options - Query Results - SQL Server - Results to Grid - "Retain CR/LF on copy or save"

    SQL Server Management Studio


    Executed following query by unchecking the checkbox.

    SELECT 'This is a demo text

    for test purpose only' AS demotext

    The output while copying to notepad was as follows-



    This is a demo text for test purpose only

    Now, executed the same query after checking the mentioned checkbox and got result as -



    This is a demo text

    for test purpose only

  1. Advanced Scroll Bar
    If you have used Visual Studio, then probably you are already aware of such feature. With SSMS 2016, you can use "bar mode" or "map mode" for the vertical scrollbar in the query window.

    • Bar Mode - This is the default and normal vertical scrollbar same as you can see in the previous versions.
    • Map Mode: This is new and source overview can be viewed on the scroll bar which can again be configured as,

      • Off - Source Overview will not be visible
      • Narrow - Overview with minimum width
      • Medium - Wider than previous
      • Wide -  Widest scrollbar with overview

    You can also configure to show Tooltip on hover or scroll using checkbox "Show Preview Tooltip".

    Tools - Options - Text Editor - All languages - Scroll Bars - Behavior

    You can also open the configuration window by right-clicking on the vertical scrollbar and then clicking "Scroll Bar Options..."

    SQL Server Management Studio

    SQL Server Management Studio
  1. Mapped Zooming in Query & Messgage Window
    With SSMS 2016, the zooming of the Query Window content and Message Window content are now mapped while zooming. For example, if we zoom the content of the query window to 200% then the content of the message window will automatically zoom to 200%. With previous versions of the SSMS, it was possible to zoom them individually. It seems to be not yet available for configuration. Not sure if everybody is going to accept this change.

    SQL Server Management Studio
  1. Quick Launch
    Again this is something already available in Visual Studio. You can quickly launch your tasks through a panel at the top right of the SSMS window. It looks like a search tool but it is far more than that. You can open any tasks from available in Menu as well as Options. The task can be anything like creating a new project, opening a new query window, opening configuration window for any setting etc.

    SQL Server Management Studio

    SQL Server Management Studio

    SQL Server Management Studio


I hope these tips will help you develop your applications faster. I would love to hear from you :)