Customizing SSMS – Hiding the panels

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.


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


Or even this:


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.


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


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:


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 Response to Customizing SSMS – Hiding the panels

  1. Mukesh Thaker says:

    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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