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Announcing Plan Explorer Add-In Support for SSMS 2016

We've been busy modifying SQL Sentry Plan Explorer so it will work seamlessly with the changed add-in model in the new Management Studio. (As a bit of background, SSMS is now based on the Visual Studio 2015 shell, and some work is required to transition existing add-ins.)

I am happy to announce that, as of today, Plan Explorer 2.8 (build 10.1.94), with add-in support for SSMS 2016, is now available!

As you can see, I am using the most recent build of Plan Explorer (released this week), along with the most recent build of Management Studio (released June 1st), and am able to open or generate an execution plan within SSMS, then use the right-click context menu to open the plan in Plan Explorer. (Click either screen shot to enlarge.)

Generating a plan in SSMS

Opening that plan in Plan Explorer

Of course, the plan is missing some important metrics, such as Duration, Reads, and Writes. Whenever I present about our software, I stress the value of generating an actual, post-execution plan from within Plan Explorer (or SQL Sentry Performance Advisor); this provides the most complete set of information you'll be able to get about that execution.

On a new VM, I installed Plan Explorer first, and then Management Studio, but you can do this in either order and everything should work. Please let me know if you have any issues!

Note that our testing covers the GA (June 2016) release of Management Studio, so please don't try using earlier CTP or RC builds. Certain builds may work, but I strongly recommend updating to the GA build regardless.

Downloads and Other Information

To download the latest build of SQL Sentry Plan Explorer:

To see the change list:

To see the announcement about the new version of SSMS reaching GA (General Availability):

To download the latest release of Management Studio:

7 replies on “Announcing Plan Explorer Add-In Support for SSMS 2016”

7 Comments (Comments are now closed.)
  1. I am using SSMS v18, I have installed Plan Explore and the add on but yet when I right click on a query in SSMS I do not get any Plan Explore options to open. The only way i can currently do it is by saving as and opening it from Plan Explore program its self. How am i able to enable the Plan Explore options in the right click window using SSMS


    1. We don't support SSMS 18 yet, but it is coming soon. In the meantime, and maybe always, you could execute your query from within Plan Explorer. You get much better runtime metrics and additional information that way, that either SSMS obscures, or doesn't get for you at all.

  2. Aaron, I am trying to write my own 2016 addin and I am kind of stuck on the vsct file. Is there any way you could share with me any documentation on how you set up your vsct file to add the right click menu?

  3. Works great, but yes I see what you mean about plans "right-clicked" into plan explorer from SSMS missing some info. But if you generate the actual plan in ssms, then right-click it all seems to be there.

    1. Thanks Randy, note that regardless of how you generated the plan *in SSMS,* it will be missing runtime information such as I/O, duration, reads, waits etc. that you get automatically if you generate the actual plan *in Plan Explorer.*

  4. I cannot get PlanExplorer to work with SSMS2016, even when SSMS2012 is NOT installed on the machine. The installation appears to work fine, but even a restart of the entire machine doesn't help.

    1. Hi Damon,

      Sorry you are having an issue. If you are sure you are using the latest build of Management Studio (July 2016 refresh, 13.0.15600.2), the latest version of Plan Explorer (10.1.97), and that you completed both portions of Plan Explorer installation (the Add-In installer is launched from the main installer), I would check this thread (on some configurations the .AddIn file seems to get placed in the wrong folder):

      If that doesn't help, please contact support.