Tools to Query SQL Server



You may be looking at the picture and are asking yourself… how does that relate to SSMS and SQL Server? I think it looks cool and it makes me think of the data pipeline.

Now on to business…

Tools to Access SQL Server

As far as the Microsoft stack, there are two main tools for this:

  • SQL Server Management Studio
  • SQL Server Data Tools

As with any tool, whichever one works for you is all dependent on your preferences. I do use both…and I’m sure I have a lot to learn.

SQL Server Management Studio

First, here is the Microsoft direct link to download SSMS:

Download SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) – SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) | Microsoft Docs

Once you click on the link above, find the link on the page for the ssmsfullsetup URL.

Then, of course, find the file and execute setup. I normally put everything on the desktop initially. just my own preference.

Once you have the program open, you should see this:

The window on the left is called the object explorer. once connected to a server, this is where you’ll see all the database details: tables, views, stored procedures, etc.

Now that I think about it further, you may not initially see the large window on the right. It’s called the query window and where you write the SQL to run against the database.

If you don’t see the query window click this:

You should see it in the toolbar for SSMS. This is what needs clicked to produce the query window.

In order to connect to a database, you need to click on this object that you should see in the object explorer:

After clicking it, you’ll see a new window open that needs information to connect to your server:

Depending on your role, windows authentication may be enough. If you’re not the sysadmin, Windows may be able to grab your system login information and use it to log in to your server.

If your role has a DBA/sysadmin scope, you may need to switch the authentication drop down to “SQL Server Authentication” …which is where you sign in with a username and password. You can have the same server opened in SSMS under different credentials *and* you can have completely different servers opened up under different credentials.

Now obviously you’ll need to know the name of your server. It may not automatically be populated in the “Server name” drop down until you save your credentials.

Visual Studio

As I gain experience, I become more comfortable with various tools. Over the last several years that has been the case with Visual Studio.

As far as I’m concerned, downloading it can be an adventure in an of itself depending on how many add-ons you need. I don’t even want to go into it a at a high level here so I will dedicate an entire post to it.

Moving on…

Visual Studio is a comprehensive tool for SQL Server. It can be used to query a server with a similar user interface as SSMS. One of the ways to use this functionality is to click on SQL Server Object Explorer under the View button in the toolbar:

From there, after you pin the Object Explorer into place, click on the third icon in the tool bar:

That will open a SQL IDE in your Visual Studio instance.

I will be adding more to this moving forward. I want to continue to make these posts as comprehensive as possible.

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