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This blog shows how to create your first tabular project in Visual Studio
Part three of a four-part series of blogs

Before you can get started with tabular SSAS, you need to check you have Analysis Services (tabular model) installed on your computer. This blog also shows you how to run and configure Visual Studio, and how to create your first tabular project.

  1. Getting started with tabular model Analysis Services
  2. Checking you have Analysis Services Tabular running
  3. Running and Customising Visual Studio (this blog)
  4. Creating a tabular project in Visual Studio

This blog is part of our online SSAS Tabular tutorial; we also offer lots of other Analysis Services training resources.

Posted by Andy Brown on 11 November 2015

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Running and Customising Visual Studio

To create a tabular model, you're going to have to run Visual Studio.  Here are two ways to do this:

SQL Server Data Tools Visual Studio
SQL Server Data Tools Visual Studio

SQL Server Data Tools is a name for that part of Visual Studio devoted to working with SQL Server Analysis, Reporting and Integration Services.

Once in Visual Studio, you should make sure that you can see the Solution Explorer and Properties windows in a convenient way, and also change start-up options so that Visual Studio works in the way you want it to.  All of this is shown below!

Displaying the Solution Explorer and Properties Windows

You won't get far without Solution Explorer visible!

Solution Explorer

To display Solution Explorer, choose this option or (as the screen-shot shows) press CTRL + ALT + L.

You can show the Properties window by pressing F4, or by choosing this menu option:

Properties window

Choose this option from the Visual Studio menu to display the properties window.

Choosing where/how to display windows in Visual Studio

Every Visual Studio window has a pin at the top right.  This can be in two positions (you can click on the pin to change its orientation).  Vertical:

Auto-hide window

If the pin is vertical, the window will remain permanently visible, and you can drag it to a different position on your screen.


Or horizontal:


If the pin is horizontal, the window will be collapsed to the edge of the screen, but you can make it appear by moving your mouse over it.


Changing Visual Studio start-up options

There are a huge number of options that you can configure for Visual Studio, but the one I'd change first is what happens when you load Visual Studio.  First show the options dialog box:

Tools / Options

From the Visual Studio menu, choose  Tools -> Options.


Now select the required option on the Startup tab:

Startup option

Choose the Startup tab on the left, and choose what you want to happen when you load Visual Studio.

The most convenient thing is usually for Visual Studio to open the project that you were last working with, as shown in the screen shot above.

Now that we've tamed Visual Studio, it's time to create your first tabular project! 

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