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The release of SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) 18.6 is now available for download. Today we’re sharing some of the updates from the release and the ongoing work in SQL Server Management Studio. Download SSMS 18.6 and read on for some highlights from the SSMS Release Notes. 

The 18.6 release is the second major release of SSMS in 2020 and packs several high impact changes, including a fix for crashes in database diagrams. Key fixes include:  

  • Save to XEL file error fix. 
  • Bacpac file import error fix. 
  • Database diagrams crash fix. 
  • Addressed sources of three common application hangs. 

Database diagrams 

Database Designer is a visual tool in SQL Server Management Studio that allows you to design and visualize a connected database. This tool is helpful in both creating tables as well as describing existing structures. For creating tables, database diagrams facilitate specifying column names and data types as well as visually linking tables with foreign keys and other relationships. When using database diagrams for describing existing databases, there are additional tools to assist. In addition to being able to label relationships and display differing levels of details about each table, general text annotations can be leveraged for additional commentary. 

If you created or saved a diagram using SSMS 18.0 through 18.5.1, and that diagram includes a Text Annotation, you won’t be able to open that diagram in any version of SSMS. With this fix, SSMS 18.6 can open and save a diagram created by SSMS 17.9.1 and prior as well as by other SSMS 18.6 instances. SSMS 17.9.1 and prior versions will also be able to open the diagram after being saved by SSMS 18.6. 

For more information on Database Diagrams in SQL Server Management Studio, please check out the documentation. 

Integration with Azure Data Studio 

Azure Data Studio is a multi-database, cross-platform desktop environment for data professionals using the family of on-premises and cloud data platforms on Windows, MacOS, and LinuxSQL Server Management Studio and Azure Data Studio are complementary tools on a Windows desktop, especially for a database administrator’s workload. In recent releases, several points of integration between Azure Data Studio and SSMS have been introduced. 

  • SQL Server Management Studio experiences. 
  • New query and new notebook in Azure Data Studio from database and server nodes in object explorer. 
  • Generate Scripts wizard output option for notebook. 
  • Azure Data Studio experiences. 
  • SSMS properties dialog. 
  • SSMS generate scripts wizard. 

To enable the Azure Data Studio experiences listed above, install the “Database Administration Tool Extensions for Windows from the extension marketplace in Azure Data Studio. Note: this functionality only works on Windows. 

Import Flat File Wizard 

The flat file import wizard, powered by PROSE (Program Synthesis using Examples)is a powerful tool included in SSMS that streamlines importing data by inferring column names and data types. In this update, import from fixed-width format files and automatic detection of file format is now supported as well as improved handling for escaped quotes. You can find the Import Flat File wizard in object explorer at the database node level under tasks. For more information on the import flat file wizard, please check out the documentation. 

Looking forward 

To users who have submitted items, commented, or voted on SQL Server user feedback—thank you. Work items for SSMS 18.6 were heavily influenced by user feedback. Regular updates to SQL Server Management Studio will continue to be released on an approximately bi-monthly cadence and your feedback is an integral part of our planning. Submit feedback anytime on User Voice for SQL Server.