SSMS object explorer functionality

One of the databases we use here is a real beast (in my view). It contains hundreds of awkwardly named tables, each with dozens of awkwardly named fields. From a reporting point of view, we usually only use about a quarter of the tables and within those tables only about a quarter of the columns are regularly referred to. There are many hundreds (or thousands) of sprocs, functions and views as well. So it can be very hard to see the wood for the trees.

I'm sure it would make my job a whole lot easier if there was a bit more functionality in the SSMS object explorer to help us navigate. For example I can right-click on the Stored Procedures folder icon and do some limited filtering, which is great. It would be better if I could for example, also use wildcard characters in the value column. Better again, would be the capacity to sort objects like column names or table names. It's fine for them to be in their physically defined order, but wouldn't it be great to be able to also see them in alphabetical order, or in order of create date, or modified date?

Given that we write WHERE and ORDER BY clauses for a living, don't you think it's kind of ironic that we're not trusted with this sort of functionality in the tool that we do most of our SQL generation in?

What do others do do improve the functionality of the SSMS Object Explorer? If you could improve any aspect of it, what would it be?



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asked Aug 04, 2011 at 10:37 PM in Default

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3 answers: sort voted first

@GPO, as you wrote, the object explorer in SSMS is not perfect, although you can use a Object Explorer Details view (you can acccess it by F7 or menu View/Object Explorer Details) and it adds some other functionality.

You can search for object there, then synchronize the view into the object explorer, you can sort the table and columns in the table by names and other attributes, you can choose columns for particular objects to be displayed, you can navigate backward and forward between visited objects etc.

You only need to get used to use the Object Explorer together with the Object Explorer Details. Together it brings you much better functionality.

The other side is, that it could be really improved especially in terms of filtering and other and many other places.

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answered Aug 04, 2011 at 11:42 PM

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Pavel Pawlowski
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Re F7: Hey nice tip. I'd pretty much forgotten about that window. I notice you can't drag object names into your SQL from that window. I also use SSMS Tools pack. In fact I use it so much for code shorthand (SQL Snippets), I'm worried about how much adjustment it will take to go back to not using it (say if the company folds or whatever). Typing scsfgo (for example) has become second nature when I want the scaffolding for SELECT ,count(*) FROM GROUP BY ORDER BY

Aug 05, 2011 at 12:44 AM GPO
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I have installed Red gate - SQL search and SSMS Tools pack to simplify development and management of the databases.

SQL search is great to find any string in any object in any database in the server.

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answered Aug 04, 2011 at 11:37 PM

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Håkan Winther
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@Håkan Winther - Redgate's tools help, but they also give up on seriously large DBs. Try connecting sql prompt to SAP! That is a real performance/load test!

Aug 05, 2011 at 12:41 AM WilliamD
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SSMSBoost add-in allows to quickly locate objects in Object Explorer directly from SQL Editor, also - brings shortcut to script object directly from sql editor (F2, when text cursor is placed on identifier in sql editor) - and some more very useful ones...

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answered Mar 12, 2012 at 12:33 AM

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asked: Aug 04, 2011 at 10:37 PM

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Last Updated: Mar 12, 2012 at 12:33 AM

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