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Customizing SSMS – Hiding the panels

March 14, 2013

This is a short series on some customizations in SSMS to make it visually more appealing.

As a presenter, I’ve learned how to change the way Management Studio (SSMS) looks to make it easier for people to see the screen on a projector. I had wrongly assumed that so many people knew many of these tricks, which is a poor attitude on my part. That should be especially apparent as I saw a presentation recently where the speaker didn’t know how to make things easier to see.

Note that I often caution writers not to assume too much from the reader, and here I took it one step further, assuming some topics weren’t worth writing about.

Here’s one that I heard asked recently: how do you hide the side panels in SSMS?

The Default View

Here’s what SSMS looks like for most people.

ssms_a

The Object Explorer takes up a good portion of the screen on the left. For some people, they may have this:

ssms_b

Or even this:

ssms_c

In the last two images, the Solution Explorer and Properties panes are on the right. If you have these panes open, you might find yourself squeezing a query into a small space in the middle. If your resolution is 1024×768 (standard for many projectors), you might get very little on the screen.

Customizing

There’s a way to clean things up quickly and easily. All of these panes have this item in their upper right sides:

ssms_d

If you click the middle, pin icon, the “Auto Hide” will be enabled, and the panes will slide to the side. They’ll still be there, but now they’ll be in a side bar, like the Object Explorer is below:

ssms_e

If I hover the mouse over the “Object Explorer” button on the side, it will appear, or I can click it.

I can always use the “View” menu at the top as well (or a shortcut) to expose any of these panes. However when I’m presenting, or want to make a quick change, the “auto hide” feature works very well for me.

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One Comment
  1. Mukesh Thaker permalink

    Hi Steve,

    Nice article – thanks.
    I’ve moved my “explorers” to the right hand side and auto-hidden them so that I get the maximum screen estate when coding. Also, this means that when I want to drag something from the explorer window onto the coding area I can see where I am going to place the code and the most of the code is not obscured by the explorer window. This annoys the hell out of my colleagues but hey :-)

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