SQL Server Management Studio includes the following general features:
Supports most administrative tasks for SQL Server.
A single, integrated environment for SQL Server Database Engine management and authoring.
Dialogs for managing objects in the SQL Server Database Engine, Analysis Services, and Reporting Services, that allows you to execute your actions immediately, send them to a Code Editor, or script them for later execution.
Non-modal and resizable dialogs allow access to multiple tools while a dialog is open.
A common scheduling dialog that allows you to perform action of the management dialogs at a later time.
Exporting and importing SQL Server Management Studio server registration from one Management Studio environment to another.
Save or print XML Showplan or Deadlock files generated by SQL Server Profiler, review them later, or send them to administrators for analysis.
A new error and informational message box that presents much more information, allows you to send Microsoft a comment about the messages, allows you to copy messages to the clipboard, and allows you to easily e-mail the messages to your support team.
An integrated Web browser for quick browsing of MSDN or online help.
Integration of Help from online communities.
A tutorial on SQL Server Management Studio to help you take advantage of the many new features and become more productive right away.
A new activity monitor with filtering and automatic refresh.
Integrated Database Mail interfaces.
New Scripting Capabilities
The Code Editor component of SQL Server Management Studio contains integrated script editors for authoring Transact-SQL, MDX, DMX, and XML/A. It features:
Dynamic Help for immediate access to relevant information while you work.
A rich set of templates with the ability to create custom templates.
Support for writing and editing queries or scripts without requiring a connection to a server.
Scripting support for SQLCMD queries and scripts.
A new interface for viewing XML results.
Integrated source control for solution and script projects, supporting storing and maintaining copies of scripts as they evolve over time.
Microsoft IntelliSense support for MDX statements.
Object Explorer Features
The Object Explorer component of SQL Server Management Studio is an integrated tool for viewing and managing objects in all server types. It features:
Filtering by all or part of a name, schema, or date.
The asynchronous population of objects, with the ability to filter objects based on their metadata.
Access to SQL Server Agent on replication servers for administration.
For more information, see Object Explorer.
SQL Server Management Studio is built upon the Visual Studio Isolated Shell, which inherently supports extensibility (add-ins/plug-ins). It is possible to tap into the Visual Studio extensibility services to surface custom capabilities within SQL Server Management Studio; however, such extensibility is not supported.
There are some users and third parties that have developed extensions to SQL Server Management Studio. While we do not discourage this, keep in mind that such extensibility is not supported, so there may be issues with backward/forward compatibility. Microsoft does not publish documentation for extending SQL Server Management Studio. There are, however, community blogs and sample code that you may be able to leverage.
Microsoft does not support SQL Server Management Studio installations with SQL Server Management Studio extensions present, so if you have installed SQL Server Management Studio extensions, you may want to remove them before calling Microsoft Customer Support about a SQL Server Management Studio issue.