Introduction to SQL Server Management Studio
Part two of a two-part series of blogs

Before you get into writing SQL Queries you should take some time to familiarise yourself with the application in which you'll be spending most of your time. This blog shows you the basics of SQL Server Management Studio.

  1. Introduction to SQL Server Management Studio
  2. Working with Tabs (this blog)

This blog is part of a complete SQL Server tutorial.  Don't forget that Wise Owl also run excellent training courses in SQL in the real world!

Posted by Andrew Gould on 30 April 2012

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Working with Tabs

When you start creating queries you'll need to understand how to work with tabs.  Each query window that you create will appear in a new tab at the top of the screen.

Two tabs

This screen contains two query windows, each in its own tab.  The asterisk after the name of the leftmost tab indicates that it contains changes that have not been saved.

Creating New Tabs

You can create new query windows quickly by pressing CTRL + N on the keyboard.

Create new query

You can also click the New Query tool at the top left of the screen.


Switching Between Tabs

The simplest way to switch between tabs is to click on the one you want to view.

Changing tabs

You can also click the drop arrow at the top right of the screen and choose a tab from the list that appears.

Closing Lots of Tabs Quickly

If you have lots of query windows open and you want to close (nearly) all of them you can right-click on a tab and choose the option shown below:

Close lots of query windows

Choose the option shown to close all of the open tabs apart from the one on which you right-clicked.


If you want to close all of the open tabs, from the menu choose: Window > Close all Documents.

Creating Tab Groups

You can create horizontal and vertical groups of tabs to help you organise related query windows.  The diagram below shows how to do this:

Create tab group

Right-click on a tab and choose either of the two bottom options shown here.

When you have selected one of the options shown above you'll end up with your query windows separated into different tab groups.

Tab groups

You can click and drag on the dividing line between the tab groups to change the height or width of the groups.

Moving Tabs Between Groups

You can move a tab from one group to another by right-clicking on the tab and choosing the option shown in the diagram below:

Moving tabs between groups

Choosing the option shown will send the tab into the bottom half of the screen to sit alongside the other tabs in that group.

When you move the final tab out of a tab group that group will be removed.

  1. Introduction to SQL Server Management Studio
  2. Working with Tabs (this blog)
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