Cleaner Code Demos – Speaker Hints

Recently I had the privilege of watching Paul Randal and Kimberly Tripp present (separately) at SQL Server Connections. If you have never seen them talk I would highly recommend you make time if you are ever at an event with them. They do a fantastic job.

In any case, they used SSMS quite regularly to show how various things worked in SQL Server. The thing that struck my quite quickly was the easy in which I could see what they were doing, and they could also track where they were in a large complex script.

Typically when I see someone using Management Studio to present it looks like this:


Granted, this is small, but when it’s projected on a screen, it’s not likely to be much better. The important stuff, the query, and the results, are actually a little hard to see.

When I watched Kimberly do this, I saw this for the query:


With this appearing after execution


A couple things to notice here. First, under the main tab, in this case for SQLQuery1.sql, there are two sub tabs. One is the editor, so you can see lots of code (at font size 12). The other is the results, and when I execute a query, SSMS automatically switches to the results tab.

However not only do I have results, but I also have the query at the top. That easily lets me determine what I’ve just run. When you’re doing a few things, either on stage or at work, having the query shown is very, very handy.

How To Set This Up

First, auto hide the Object Explorer and save yourself some space. You can get the menu below by clicking the little triangle in the Object Explorer header bar.


First let’s set up results. I would change the results to text by right clicking in the query window:


Next, you want to go to the Query menu, and select the Query Options item. In this dialog, there are a few things to configure. First is the results item. Choose text and check the these three items:

  • Include the query in the result set
  • Display Results in a Separate Tab
  • Switch to results tab after the query executes


Then you want to up the font so things are easier to read. I do this first in the Text Editor (see the drop down at the top)


Then do this for the text results, changing the drop down again.


Now when you run a query, you’ll automatically switch over to a screen that is easier to read on a projector. And you’ll see the query you just ran, so it’s easier to keep track of where you are in your presentation.

I actually like these settings so much, I use them for any work I do in SSMS.

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