Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio Review

CodeGuru content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

Many consider SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS for short) to be the top tool for managing any SQL database infrastructure, including Microsoft SQL Servers. What does this software have to offer in terms of features, and how much does it cost? We will answer those questions in this Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio review.

Read: Best Online Courses to Learn SQL

What Is Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio?

As mentioned in the intro, SSMS is a tool that helps you manage any SQL database infrastructure. This integrated environment can be used to access, administer, manage, develop, and configure all components of the following:

    • SQL Server
    • SQL Server on Azure VM
    • Azure SQL Database
    • Azure Synapse Analytics
    • Azure SQL Managed Instance

Thanks to its graphical tools, multiple rich script editors, and other out-of-the-box features, SSMS provides an all-in-one solution for database administrators, data analysts, security specialists, and database developers of all skill levels who need to access SQL Server.

Use SSMS to write complex SQL queries with ease and quickness, or use it to create databases and their elements. Whatever tasks you need to complete related to SQL Server, SSMS has you covered.

Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio Features

While Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio is not the only professional database management tool on the market of its kind, many find it to be in a class of its own due to its user-friendliness and the following features:

Object Explorer

SSMS Object Explorer

Although Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio has many features, the Object Explorer may be the one you find yourself using the most, as it lets you view and manage all objects in one or more SQL Server instances.

Template Explorer

SSMS Template Explorer

You can quickly create standard objects like databases, stored procedures, indexes, tables, functions, etc., and extended properties like logins, users, roles, and linked servers via templates. SQL Server Management Studio has tons of templates to achieve these goals, and the software also gives database administrators and developers the option to create custom code templates to fit your specific needs. By creating custom templates for your frequently-performed tasks via SSMS, you can save time for more important purposes.

Like Object Explorer, the Template Explorer’s user interface displays server objects in a hierarchical view. With this tool, database admins can run custom reports, view object properties (and edit them), search for specific objects, and more.

Activity Monitor

SSMS Activity Monitor

All of your current SQL Server processes and data can be found in the Activity Monitor. Use it to check connected users, see which queries are consuming resources, track server activities, view data input/output, and more.

Read: Best Certifications for Database Administrators

XEvent Profiler

SSMS XEvent Profiler

Database administrators and developers can get an instant glimpse into their SQL Server’s diagnostic events with the XEvent Profiler. The tool lets you avoid performance degradation when debugging SQL Server events since it is less intrusive, and it even gives you the option to customize the live streaming view to your liking.

Query Editor

SSMS Query Editor

The SSMS Query Editor with IntelliSense support lets database programmers tackle essential tasks like writing, executing, and debugging code. Thanks to the IntelliSense technology that auto-completes code, you can save time writing code and enjoy higher accuracy. Specific features available with the query editor include drag-and-drop text, code formatting, bookmarks, selected code executing, and much more.

Database Designer

SSMS Database Designer

As you can tell from its name, this SSMS database tool helps you design and visualize databases and their components. The Database Designer allows you to tweak tables, columns, indexes, keys, constraints, and relationships when designing a database, plus offers the option to create a diagram to visualize a database by illustrating its tables, columns, relationships, keys, etc. There is no limit to how many database diagrams you can create for a database either, as it is entirely up to you.

Table Designer

SSMS Table Designer

With the table designer, database administrators get a visual tool to design and visualize database tables. When using it, you will have the power to create, edit, or delete the following:

        • Tables
        • Columns
        • Keys
        • Indexes
        • Constraints
        • Relationships

By performing these tasks visually, you can avoid having to type SQL code manually.

Read: Using the Command Line to Write SQL Server Data

Query And View Designer

SSMS Query and View Designer

Developing queries and views has never been easier. The Query and View Designer tool in SQL Server Management Studio eliminates the need to write code manually, as database programmers can create database queries using nothing more than your mouse. Another plus of this designer tool is that it lets you select a specific SQL query and reproduce it in the editor.

How Much Does Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio Cost?

There is not much to discuss when it comes to Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio’s pricing, as it is free to use. This is another reason why the software is so popular amongst database experts who recommend it as the top tool for managing any database SQL infrastructure.

How To Download Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio

If you feel that SSMS has all the features you need, you can get the software by visiting Microsoft’s official download page. There you will find instructions on how to download the latest version of SSMS, what the system requirements are, details on what is new in the latest release, and more. You can also find directions on how to download previous versions of SSMS, if necessary.

To access the latest version of SSMS, you will need supported hardware that includes a 1.8GHz or faster x86 processor. It can be AMD or Intel. For ideal performance, a dual-core or better processor is recommended. You will also need at least 2GB of RAM, with 4GB recommended for optimal performance. To install the software, you will need 2-10GB of hard disk space. Lastly, your system will need to be running on one of the following supported operating systems:

        • Windows Server 2022 (64-bit)
        • Windows Server 2019 (64-bit)
        • Windows Server 2016 (64-bit)
        • Windows Server 2012 R2 (64-bit)
        • Windows Server 2012 (64-bit)
        • Windows Server 2008 R2 (64-bit)
        • Windows 11 (64-bit)
        • Windows 10 (64-bit) version 1607 (10.0.14393) or later
        • Windows 8.1 (64-bit)

How To Install Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio

To install SSMS, do the following:

  • Visit the official Microsoft download page.
  • Download the setup file.
  • Execute the setup file and begin the installation.
  • Choose where you want to install the software by either picking the default location or clicking Change to switch to a different path.
  • Click Install.
  • Wait for the installation process to complete.

Once installation is finished, head to your Start menu to launch SQL Server Management Studio. The first time you launch SSMS, you will see a screen asking you to connect to Microsoft SQL Server. To do so, select the server type, server name, the type of authentication, and enter your username and password. You can select “Remember password” so you do not have to type in your credentials again. Lastly, click Connect to get started.

Read more database administration and database programming tutorials.

Enrique Stone
Enrique Stone
Enrique is a writer who specializes in SEO, social media, and web design content.

More by Author

Get the Free Newsletter!

Subscribe to Data Insider for top news, trends & analysis

Must Read