Whenever I setup a new machine, I like to set a few default options in SSMS. Here are my favorites:

Tools, Options

  • Environment
    • Fonts and Colors
      • Text Editor font: Lucida Console (a bit thicker and it's a fixed-width font)
      • Text Editor: Selected Text (under display items)
        • Item foreground: Black
        • Item background: Yellow (looks like a highlighter)
      • Sometimes I'll also make the results windows have larger fonts – especially if it's a presentation machine
    • Keyboard
      • Keyboard scheme: SQL Server 2000 (ok, maybe I'm old-school but the QA keyboard shortcuts still seem a lot more natural than the VS keyboard shortcuts… but, if you're more of a VS person, then stick with Standard)
      • Query shortcuts:
        • Ctrl+F1: sp_helpindex2 (if you highlight an object and then hit Ctrl+F1, then it passes the highlighted object in as a parameter. The only negative is that it doesn't delimit it so you can't highlight schema.object unless it's already quoted for the sp 'schema.object')
        • Ctrl+3: SELECT object_name(object_id) AS ObjName, * FROM sys.dm_db_index_physical_stats(db_id(), NULL, NULL, NULL, NULL) ORDER BY 1, 4
        • Ctrl+4: other common queries/procedures…
  • Text Editor
    • All Languages
      • Line numbers
    • Editor Tab and Status Bar – I usually change the colors of the "Group connections" setting to something very noticeable like Fuschia. I've already blogged why here.
  • Query Execution
    • By default, open new queries in SQLCMD mode (however, if you set this – you will disable Intellisense and Transact-SQL Debugging… and, there's no "hint" or warning that you're doing it.)
  • Query Results
    • SQL Server, Results to Grid
      • Include the query in the result set (this will show you what you executed in the results window while you wait for completion… also confirms what you think you executed. This gets annoying for large batches but is sometimes useful to see what you last executed)
      • Include column headers when copying or saving the results (VERY useful if you're pushing data over to Excel, etc.)
      • Display results in a separate tab (this gives you Tabbed mode instead of split-window mode meaning that results will go to a results Tab instead of the lower half of your window. I prefer this when I have a lot of results to review AND when I'm presenting and typically run with a lower screen res.)
        • Switch to results tab after the query executes (I prefer this so that I'm waiting for the results in the results window)
    • SQL Server, Results to Text
      • I set most of the same settings as Results to Grid (Include column headers, Include the query, Display results in separate tab and Switch to the results tab) BUT, I usually turn off Scroll results as received. If I'm looking at rows at the top of the set (while it's still processing) it often takes my cursor down to the end. I also turn this off in Profiler.

The primary reason for this post though – is to make sure that you realize that one specific option – Tools, Options, Query Execution, "By default, open new queries in SQLCMD mode" – can really surprise you. I used to think that this option was really helpful (and benign) because SQLCMD is a superset of Transact-SQL. So, I typically recommended that you turn it on. However, turning on this option disables Intellisense and the Transact-SQL Debugger. It's documented here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms174187.aspx (thanks Paul Mestemaker! :) and I thought this was a bit unintuitive at first but it really does make sense. Both the Transact-SQL Debugger and Intellisense are debugging and/or prompting you with Transact-SQL (not SQLCMD commands). So, disabling it seems right (well, I guess I could argue that it could work with Intellisense but debugging would be much harder). However, I just wish there were some better information in the Tools/Options dialog. I'd like my 2 hours back (trying to figure out which option disabled Intellisense, chatting with my friends on fb to see if they knew, filing a connect bug when I figured out that it was SQLCMD, and then learning from Paul Mest that it's actually expected behavior (duh!), changing the Connect bug to say that the dialog might be better with a warning… it was definitely one of those mornings!  :) :) :)

So, my main point for this post – save you the time I lost in trying to figure out where Intellisense went. It's expected behavior (and it does make sense……..now :).