SQL Server 2008 Management Studio – Function Keys


The F7 key displays details in SSMS 2008. I’m almost positive SSMS 2005 RTM’d with the same funtionality and it was later removed.


I love the F7 key. And I love that it displays details when I highlight something in Object Explorer – which, by the way, no longer displays when I press the F8 key… (grrr) – and then press the F7 key.


As a keyboard guy, I think it would be nice to have the Object Explorer display when I press F8 and Details display when I press F7. I’m sure there’s a reason we don’t have both in SSMS 2008, even if I don’t know what that reason is.

I’m not starting an online petition to have it changed. I’ll just work around it.

Multiple Mappings

I sometimes get myself in trouble with function keys.

A few weeks ago I was delivering SSIS training and attempted to demonstrate how you can remove all breakpoints in the Visual Studio 2005 IDE with Ctrl+Shift+F9. I pressed the key combination and it didn’t work. Durnit!

I have Camtasia loaded on my presentation laptop. It just so happens Ctrl+Shift+F9 starts/stops recording via the Camtasia plug-in in PowerPoint. I recorded the remainder of the day.

:{> Andy

Andy Leonard


Christian, husband, dad, grandpa, Data Philosopher, Data Engineer, SSIS and Biml guy. I was cloud before cloud was cool. :{>

20 thoughts on “SQL Server 2008 Management Studio – Function Keys

  1. Yes, I noticed the F8 functionality disappeared too.  You can use F8 to make it appear if it is currently closed, but you can not use F8 to make it disappear if it is currently open.

  2. Hi Aaron,
      I’m not able to use F8 with Developer Edition RTM. Maybe I’m doing something wrong?
    :{> Andy

  3. Did you close Object Explorer first?  Where is the focus when you try hitting F8 (after you’ve closed Object Explorer)?  Are you on x86 or x64?

  4. Hi Aaron,
      I did close it first. I tried F8 with Object Browser closed and opened – no effect. I an currently testing the x86 version. I wonder if it’s different in x64…
    :{> Andy

  5. I am on Vista x86.  It opens with F8 when it is closed, but you can’t toggle.  I will try it later on Server 2008 x64 and Server 2003 x86, and see if there are any differences in behavior.

  6. I’m running Windows Server 2008 x86 in VPC. That may be the difference… odd though that the OS would affect this…
    Thanks for the help Aaron!
    :{> Andy

  7. I spotted a couple of Connect items about this.  Here is one that seems like your issue, though Microsoft couldn’t reproduce it:
    And here is one that explains my issue (F8 has become an on-only switch, instead of an on-off toggle).  They were aware of it in 2006, and put it on the list for Katmai, but it wasn’t addressed.

  8. Maybe it is the VPC that is affecting it, not the operating system.  I am not using virtualization for any of the instances I’ve installed thus far.  (And maybe the other person who had this problem in RC0 was also experiencing this issue inside a virtual machine.)

  9. As a workaround to F8 not acting like a toggle for Object Browser window, you can close the Object Browser window using only the keyboard by hitting F8 to give it focus and Shift-Esc to close it.

  10. Hello
    For some reason, sql management studio object explorer does not show up for me. It used to be there. I closed it a few days back. Now it doesn’t show up when I press F8 or go to View->Object Explorer.
    ANy ideas, guys? :((

  11. Did you find an answer to your question Edison.  My object explorer has disappeared as well.  It makes ssms unusable.  I am on 64 bit

  12. This could be caused by corrupted Management Studio user data. The following worked for me :
    1. %SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings\<user>\Application Data\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Tools\  
    (For SQL Server 2008 should be 100 instead of 90)
    2. Backup and then delete the ‘Shell’ folder.  This folder will be rebuilt when you start SSMS. You will lose your connected server history, but you should retain recent files, etc.

  13. Hi all, Thanks a lot Julie!!, i tried re installing sql server 2008 and nothing happen (Object explorer does not show).

  14. Hi all, Thanks a lot Julie!!, i tried re installing sql server 2008 and nothing happen (Object explorer does not show).

  15. To bring back the Object Explorer use the following menu command: Window\Reset Window Layout
    That worked for me!

  16. Practically everything on the SQL Server 2012 keyboard can be controlled by going to Tools / Options / Environment / Keyboard. Find the command you want (it even includes search function), “Press shortcut keys:” and click “Assign” button. Works well. Microsoft got this one correct!

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