Install SQL Server documentation to view offline in SSMS

Applies to: yesSQL Server (all supported versions)

This article describes how to download and view offline SQL Server content in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). Offline content enables you to access the documentation without an internet connection (although an internet connection is initially required to download it).

Offline documentation is available for versions of SQL Server 2012 and later. Although you can view content for previous versions online, an offline option provides a convenient way to access the older content.

SQL Server 2016 and later offline content

The following steps explain how to load offline content for SQL Server 2016 and later.

  1. In SSMS, select Add and Remove Help Content on the Help menu.

    Add and Remove Help Content

    The Help Viewer opens to the Manage Content tab.

  2. To find the latest help content for SQL Server 2016 and later, under the Manage Content tab choose Online under the Installation source and then type in sql server in the search bar.

    SQL Server books search

    Note

    The Local store path on the Manage Content tab shows where on the local computer the content is installed. To change the location, select Move, enter a different folder path in the To field, and then select OK. If the help installation fails after changing the Local store path, close and reopen Help Viewer. Ensure the new location appears in the Local store path and then try the installation again.

  3. To install the latest help content for SQL Server 2016 and later, select Add next to each content package (book) that you want to install and then select Update in the lower right.

    SQL Server online books add and update

    Note

    If the Help Viewer freezes (hangs) while adding content, change the Cache LastRefreshed="<mm/dd/yyyy> 00:00:00" line in the %LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\HelpViewer2.x\HlpViewer_SSMSx_en-US.settings or HlpViewer_VisualStudiox_en-US.settings file to some date in the future. For more information about this issue, see Visual Studio Help Viewer freezes.

  4. You can verify that the SQL Server 2016 and later content loaded by searching under the left content pane for sql server 2016.

    SQL Server 2016 books automatically updated

SQL Server 2014 offline content

Important

SQL 2014 Transact-SQL content is only available offline.

The following steps explain how to load offline content for SQL Server 2014.

  1. Download the Product Documentation for Microsoft SQL Server 2014 for firewall and proxy restricted environments content from the download center and save it to a folder.

  2. Unzip the file to view the .msha file.

    SQL Server 2014 Help documentation setup file

  3. In SSMS, select Add and Remove Help Content on the Help menu.

    HelpViewer Add Remove Content

    The Help Viewer opens to the Manage Content tab.

  4. To install the latest help content, choose Disk under Installation source and then the ellipses (...).

    Help Viewer Manage Content Disk Source

    Note

    The Local store path on the Manage Content tab shows where on the local computer the content is located. To change the location, select Move, enter a different folder path in the To field, and then select OK. If the help installation fails after changing the Local store path, close and reopen the Help Viewer. Ensure the new location appears in the Local store path and then try the installation again.

  5. Locate the folder where you unzipped the content. Select the HelpContentSetup.msha file in the folder then select Open.

    Open the SQL Server 2014 Help Content Setup.msha file

  6. Type in sql server 2014 in the search bar. Once you see the 2014 content available, select Add next to each content package (book) that you want to install to Help Viewer and then select Update.

    SQL Server 2014 books search in Help Viewer

    SQL Server 2014 books add and update in Help Viewer

    Note

    If the Help Viewer freezes (hangs) while adding content, change the Cache LastRefreshed="<mm/dd/yyyy> 00:00:00" line in the %LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\HelpViewer2.x\HlpViewer_SSMSx_en-US.settings or HlpViewer_VisualStudiox_en-US.settings file to some date in the future. For more information about this issue, see Visual Studio Help Viewer freezes.

  7. You can verify that the SQL Server 2014 content installed by searching under the content pane on the left for sql server 2014.

    SQL Server 2014 books automatically updated

SQL Server 2012 offline content

The following steps explain how to load offline content for SQL Server 2012

  1. Download the Product Documentation for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 for firewall and proxy restricted environments content from the download center and save it to a folder.

  2. Unzip the file to view the .msha file.

    SQL Server 2012 Help content setup file

  3. In SSMS, select Add and Remove Help Content on the Help menu.

    HelpViewer Add Remove Content

    The Help Viewer opens to the Manage Content tab.

  4. To install the latest help content, choose Disk under Installation source and then the ellipses (...).

    Help Viewer Manage Content Disk Source

    Note

    The Local store path on the Manage Content tab shows where on the local computer the content is located. To change the location, select Move, enter a different folder path in the To field, and then select OK. If the help installation fails after changing the Local store path, close and reopen the Help Viewer. Ensure the new location appears in the Local store path and then try the installation again.

  5. Locate the folder where you unzipped the content. Select the HelpContentSetup.msha file in the folder then select Open.

    Open the SQL Server 2012 Help Content Setup.msha file

  6. Type in sql server 2012 in the search bar. Once you see the 2012 content available, select Add next to each content package (book) that you want to install to Help Viewer and then select Update.

    SQL Server 2012 books search in Help Viewer

    SQL Server 2012 books add and update in Help Viewer

    Note

    If the Help Viewer freezes (hangs) while adding content, change the Cache LastRefreshed="<mm/dd/yyyy> 00:00:00" line in the %LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\HelpViewer2.x\HlpViewer_SSMSx_en-US.settings or HlpViewer_VisualStudiox_en-US.settings file to some date in the future. For more information about this issue, see Visual Studio Help Viewer freezes.

  7. You can verify that the SQL Server 2012 content is loaded by searching under the content pane on the left for sql server 2012.

    SQL Server 2012 documentation automatically updated

View offline documentation

You can view SQL Server help content using the HELP menu in the latest version of SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS).

View offline help content in SSMS

To view the installed help in SSMS, select Launch in Help Viewer from the Help menu, to launch the Help Viewer.

Launch in Help Viewer

Help Viewer opens to the Manage Content tab, with the installed help table of contents in the left pane. select articles in the table of contents to display them in the right pane.

Important

If the contents pane is not visible, select Contents on the left margin. select the pushpin icon to keep the contents pane open.

Help Viewer with content

Life-cycle policy

Review the Microsoft Product Lifecycle for information about how a specific product, service, or technology is supported:

Get help

Next steps

To learn more about archived content and Help viewer, reference the links below.