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Nakul Vachhrajani is a Technical Specialist & Systems development professional with iGATE. He holds a MCTS (SQL Server 2008: Implementation & Maintenance)
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#0334 - SQL Server - SSMS - Troubleshooting Intellisense issues

Apr 24 2014 12:00AM by Nakul Vachhrajani   

Intellisense is one of the most frequently used features of SQL Server in the development community – so much so that if Intellisense stops working, work comes to a grinding halt and frantic calls to the IT team are made.

This post documents the steps, in order of most common occurrence (in my experience) that can be taken when faced with an issue that relates to Intellisense.

Assumption: The user is attempting to type in code in the code block, i.e. not in the comments block or string literals.

  1. Confirm that Intellisense is enabled (it may have been accidentally turned off due to “happy clicking”)
  2. Refresh the local cache
    • Often, when workstations (especially laptops) are hibernated and awaken again, newer objects are created or when connections in the Query editor are changed, Intellisense may stop working or take a while to refresh
    • To manually refresh the cache, press (Ctrl + Shift + R) or go to Edit –> Intellisense –> Refresh Local Cache
  3. Is the SSMS connecting to a SQL Server running a lower version? (e.g. SSMS for SQL 2012 connecting to SQL 2008 R2/2005 or lower) If yes, SSMS would not work
  4. Review the code – does an error exist such that the queries in the particular query editor cannot be parsed?
  5. After Visual Studio 2010 SP1 is installed on a workstation with SQL Server 2008 R2 (any release from RTM to CU6), the Intelli-sense feature in the SQL server Management Studio (SSMS) may stop working
    • This is a  known, documented issue with Microsoft (KB2531482)and the fix is quite simple – deploy the latest service pack/cumulative update of SQL Server 2008 R2

While Intellisense kicks back to life in most cases after the above steps are performed, it is still possible that it may cease to work in rare cases. The last step in this case is to reinstall the SQL Server client tools.

Further Reading:

Here are some other posts about Intelli-sense that you may be interested in:

Until we meet next time,

Be courteous. Drive responsibly.

Tags: #SQLServer, SQL Server, Tips, Guidance, SSMS, Tools and Utilities, HowTo, Debugging, Installation

Nakul Vachhrajani
4 · 36% · 11648



  • Nakul,

    Thanks for sharing the information A simple YouTube video for the same article might help learn things faster :)

    commented on Apr 24 2014 12:21AM
    433 · 0% · 93
  • Thanks, @prabhupr - it's a good idea. I will give it a thought.

    commented on Apr 24 2014 1:09AM
    Nakul Vachhrajani
    4 · 36% · 11648
  • Good Post Nakul :)

    commented on Apr 29 2014 6:14AM
    2 · 40% · 13039

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"#0334 - SQL Server - SSMS - Troubleshooting Intellisense issues" rated 5 out of 5 by 3 readers
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