External Tools

APPLIES TO: yesSQL Server yesAzure SQL Database yesAzure SQL Data Warehouse yesParallel Data Warehouse

Use this dialog box to add external tools, such as SQL Server Configuration Manager or Notepad, to the Tools menu. Adding external tools allows you to easily launch other applications while working in SQL Server Management Studio. You can specify arguments and a working directory when launching the tool. In addition, the outputs from some tools can be displayed in the Output window. The External Tools dialog box is available on the Tools menu.


Menu Contents
Lists the titles of the items currently added to the Tools menu. Use the Move Up and Move Down arrows to change the order the items that appear on the menu. Use the Delete button to remove an item from the menu.

Move Up
Move the selected tool higher in the list of tools that appear on the Tools menu.

Move Down
Move the selected tool lower in the list of tools that appear on the Tools menu.

Clear the text boxes so you can specify a new tool.

Remove the tool or command from the Menu Contents list as well as from the Tools menu.

The name of the tool or command that will appear on the External Tools submenu of the Tools menu. Place an ampersand before a letter in the name of the tool to use that letter as an accelerator key for the tool. For example, &Spy++ would display Spy++ on the Tools menu.

Specify the path to the .exe, .com, .pif, .bat, .cmd, or other file that you intend to launch. The output from .bat, .com, and other files can be viewed in the Output window if you select the Use output window check box.

Specify the variables that are passed to the tool when the tool is selected on the menu. Arguments can specify values that are passed to the tool or command when it is launched. For example, a value can specify a file name or directory. Use the Arrow button to select from a list of predefined arguments. You can add more than one. For a complete list of predefined arguments and their definitions, see Arguments for External Tools. You can also enter custom arguments (command-prompt switches, for example), depending on the command or tool you use.

Initial directory
Specify the working directory of the tool. Use the Arrow button to select directories. You can select more than one.

Use output Window
Specify whether or not results from the tool are displayed in the Output window. This option is only available for files, such as .bat and .com files, that normally display output in the command prompt window. When enabled, this option eases window management when you are following the progress of a tool.

Prompt for arguments
Display the Arguments dialog box to enable you to enter or edit values for the arguments each time you launch the external tool.

Treat output as Unicode
Allow the Output window to accept Unicode.

Close On Exit
Close the window opened by the tool when the tool is closed.


To add SQL Server Configuration Manager to the Tools menu

  1. On the Tools menu, click External Tools.

  2. In the Title box, type SQL Server Configuration Manager.

  3. In the Command box, type the path to the Microsoft Management Console executable, such as C:\WINNT\system32\mmc.exe

  4. In the Arguments box, type the path to the .msc file, such as "C:\WINNT\system32\SQLServerManager.msc"


View the properties of the SQL Server Management Studio shortcut on the Start menu to confirm the location of the files on your computer.