Object Explorer Details (Part I) – Underappreciated features of Microsoft SQL Server

As mentioned in my previous post, I am currently developing a series of brief articles on the many underappreciated features of Microsoft SQL Server as received from the community as a response to Andy Warren’s SQLServerCentral.com’s editorial (http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/Editorial/71788/), which was published on December 17, 2010.

We will start this journey by looking a few of the features that came out with the SQL Server Management Studio 2008. After login, the first feature that almost everyone sees and uses is the Object Explorer, but very few use the Object Explorer Details window.

The Object Explorer Details Window

Writing this article is nostalgia for me. The first Microsoft SQL Server version that I worked upon (more like studied upon) was Microsoft SQL Server 7.0. In fact, I still have one of those installed on a virtual machine at home. When you login to the Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 Enterprise Manager, you can graphically see:

Database information: Table & Index usage:


Space Utilization:  

This continued through Microsoft SQL Server 2000, but with the redesign in Microsoft SQL Server 2005, the Object Explorer lost it’s charm a bit. The Object Explorer and the Object Explorer details window were almost the same and there was no real point to using the Object Explorer Details window. All this changed in Microsoft SQL Server 2008. The Object Explorer Details window is useful once again and here’s how.

First of all, how does one launch Object Explorer in SQL Server 2008? It’s very simple. One can simply navigate to View –> Object Explorer Details, or hit the (F7) key. Follow the series of screenshots as I drill down to the database level information (images have been cropped to emphasize on the details):

Step 01: Object Explorer Base State Step 02: Database Information
image image

As you can see, the Database level information is already much more detailed than what SQL Server 7.0 could provide. Once you have drilled down onto the database level, you can get a host of other column options by simply right-clicking the column header. Once you have chosen the columns that you want to look at, you can rearrange them just as you would do to any other grid layout:

Column Chooser An alternate
image image

You can now drill down all the way to the tables and index details. For more fun, try using the Object Explorer to navigate through the database schema, and notice how the Object Explorer Details window stays synchronized with your movements!

Table details Index details
image image

As you can see, the Object Explorer in Microsoft SQL Server 2008 is a fully loaded, action-packed feature, very useful for developers, quality assurance engineers and administrators alike. I hope that you will immediately launch your SQL Server Management Studio instance and start playing around with the Object Explorer details window.

In the next part, I will be demonstrating how to search for objects using the Object Explorer details – a feature that was never available before Microsoft SQL Server 2008.

Have a good day!

Be courteous. Drive responsibly.


1 thought on “Object Explorer Details (Part I) – Underappreciated features of Microsoft SQL Server

  1. balakrishna141

    HI Nakul,

    Really Fantastic Feature..

    The name Object Explorer Details itself suggests that Details about the Object Explorer.

    Thanks a lot



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