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SQL Server Management Studio 18.6 now generally available

In April, Microsoft released version 18.5 of the SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) to the general public. With this release, a bunch of key capabilities were introduced, alongside a slew of bug fixes. Now, version 18.6 has been made generally available. Although the release for the latest version arrives much sooner on a relative scale in comparison to 18.5 being pushed out after 18.4, the changelog this time around is a significantly shorter one as well.

The major fixes that have been brought with version 18.6 include:

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

As far as database diagrams are concerned, users were unable to open a created or saved diagram that included a text annotation from SSMS 18.0 through 18.5.1. This issue has now been resolved, such that even diagrams created through SSMS 17.9.1 and prior versions can be opened and saved in version 18.6, and vice versa.

Microsoft has also highlighted the points of integration introduced between Azure Data Studio and SSMS with recent releases. These include:

  • 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 a notebook.
  • Azure Data Studio experiences.
  • SSMS properties dialog.
  • SSMS generate scripts wizard.

'Database Administration Tool Extensions for Windows' from the extension marketplace in Azure Data Studio can be used to enable the aforementioned experiences.

Finally, two new changes have been introduced to the flat file import wizard in SSMS. Fixed-width format file imports can now be performed, with automatic file format detection being supported as well. Escaped quotes are now also handled more efficiently.

Microsoft has noted that user feedback has "heavily influenced" the changes that have been brought to the SQL Server Management Studio with the release of version 18.6. As such, the firm has recommended users to continue providing their input through User Voice for SQL Server. Moving on, an approximate bi-monthly schedule has been set as the aim for further releases.

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