See Two Queries at Once in SSMS

I’m writing this post as a way to help motivate the #SQLNewBloggers out there. Read the bottom for a few notes on structuring a post.

One of the things that I’ve struggled with a bit in SSMS is sometimes comparing the results of two batches. I’m sure many of you have executed a query, then make a change, and execute it again, losing your results. Or you are testing something in two query windows and need to switch back and forth. Sometimes doing this, and only seeing one set of results (or checking if a query is finished) is cumbersome.

A few years ago I was watching Brent Ozar tune queries at an event and one of the things he wanted to do was compare two queries and their execution plans. He used vertical tab groups, which is a great way of seeing two things at once.

Here’s how my screen ended up during the comparison I was actually doing of three queries. I was checking credentials using a before, after, and with the DAC.


Things are a bit shrunk down as I wanted the image to be viewable. I actually had this full screen on a 30" wide monitor, and I could more easily see the queries and results from each window.

The easiest way to do this is to start with a query:


I want to change something, add a login, and test again, but I don’t want to lose my results. I’d also like to do an easy comparison. What I can do is go to the Window menu and get a new Vertical Tab Group. I could also do a Horizontal one, but comparing results is easier for me with vertical ones.


Once I select this, my selected window will move to a new tab group, and I’ll see two places where I can run code and visualize the queries and results at once.


I selected the left hand query, then clicked "New Query" to get a blank window. I then cut and pasted my code from the right to the left. This is exactly what you might want to do when tuning queries, keeping the original on the right while you work on the left.


Now I have two places to work on code. In my case, I wanted the before and after view of Server_principals as I checked some admin changes. I could do things and keep re-running the query in one of these windows, but keep the results from the other one visible.



Once again I was doing something else and realized the vertical window trick was handy. I killed the three windows I had, set up a new query, shot the screen, ran through the process with more screen shots.

Less than 10 minutes.


Watch Brent Tune Queries –

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