How to: Create and Apply the Initial Snapshot (SQL Server Management Studio)
By default, if SQL Server Agent is running, a snapshot is generated by the Snapshot Agent immediately after a publication is created with the New Publication Wizard. By default, it is then applied by the Distribution Agent (for snapshot and transactional replication) or Merge Agent (for merge subscriptions) for all subscriptions. A snapshot can also be generated using Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio and Replication Monitor. For information about starting Replication Monitor, see How to: Start Replication Monitor (Replication Monitor).
Merge publications that use parameterized filters require a two-part snapshot. For more information, see How to: Create a Snapshot for a Merge Publication with Parameterized Filters (SQL Server Management Studio).
To create a snapshot in Management Studio
Connect to the Publisher in Management Studio, and then expand the server node.
Expand the Replication folder, and then expand the Local Publications folder.
Right-click the publication for which you want to create a snapshot, and then click View Snapshot Agent Status.
In the View Snapshot Agent Status - <Publication> dialog box, click Start.
When the Snapshot Agent finishes generating the snapshot, a message will be displayed, such as "[100%] A snapshot of 17 article(s) was generated."
To create a snapshot in Replication Monitor
In Replication Monitor, expand a Publisher group in the left pane, and then expand a Publisher.
Right-click the publication for which you want to generate a snapshot, and then click Generate Snapshot.
To view the status of the Snapshot Agent, click the Agents tab. For more detailed information, right-click the Snapshot Agent in the grid, and then click View Details.
To apply a snapshot
After the snapshot is generated, it is applied by synchronizing the subscription with the Distribution Agent or the Merge Agent:
If the agent is set to run continuously (the default for transactional replication), the snapshot is automatically applied after it is generated.
If the agent is set to run on a schedule, the snapshot is applied the next time the agent is scheduled to run.
If the agent is set to run on demand, it is applied the next time you run the agent.
For more information about synchronizing subscriptions, see How to: Synchronize a Push Subscription (SQL Server Management Studio) and How to: Synchronize a Pull Subscription (SQL Server Management Studio).