Adding Intellisense to SQL Server Management Studio is a wonderful improvement. If you’ve used Visual Studio, you know what Intellisense is. For everyone else, Intellisense checks what you’re typing and gives you suggestions of valid options based on context. It will list the functions you might be trying to type, it lists the parameters you need within those functions too. I find it greatly speeds writing queries, especially inserts as once you’ve typed the table, it”ll give you a list of the columns in that table and you can simply pick from that list with either the mouse or keyboard.

Intellisense recognizes when a table is in the database and will warn you if you’re trying to create a new one with the same name. It even recognizes any aliases you’re using in your queries. If you have variables declared and type @ it’ll give you a list of your variables and it recognizes temp tables you have declared as well.

There is one problem with Intellisense in SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 though. If you use a CREATE TABLE statement, Intellisense doesn’t know it is there right away. It let it know, you have to click Edit then Intellisense then Refresh Local Cache or use the keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+Shift+R. If you’re up to date with your service packs on SQL Server 2008, you don’t need to do this. They’ve fixed the problem and Intellisense will know your table and columns are there as soon as the table is created. Unfortunately, for some reason SQL Server 2008 R2 didn’t have that fix when it was rolled out and I don’t think it has been patched to fix it yet either. I’m sure it will be soon, but for now it is a little annoying to be working on the latest version with a bug that was fixed in the previous one.

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