Does anyone know of a way to convert legacy showplan text into a graphical format?

In other words, can I take the StmtText returned from SET SHOWPLAN_TEXT ON and convert that to show me a graphical execution plan? Would I need to parse it into XML, and the .sqlplan format in order to see the graph?

Eric:, here is the example, run against AdventureWorks:


SELECT c.CustomerID, soh.ShipDate
FROM Sales.SalesOrderDetail sod
    INNER JOIN Sales.SalesOrderHeader soh ON sod.SalesOrderID = soh.SalesOrderID 
    INNER JOIN Sales.Customer c ON c.CustomerID = soh.CustomerID
WHERE sod.SpecialOfferID = 2
AND soh.ShipDate between '2003-01-01 00:00:00.000' and '2004-01-01 00:00:00.000'
AND c.CustomerType = 'I'

And you will see this StmtText returned:

  |--Hash Match(Inner Join, HASH:([soh].[CustomerID])=([c].[CustomerID]))
       |--Hash Match(Inner Join, HASH:([sod].[SalesOrderID])=([soh].[SalesOrderID]))
       |    |--Index Seek(OBJECT:([AdventureWorks].[Sales].[SalesOrderDetail].[ix_nc_SpecialOfferID_inc_SalesOrderID] AS [sod]), SEEK:([sod].[SpecialOfferID]=(2)) ORDERED FORWARD)
       |    |--Index Seek(OBJECT:([AdventureWorks].[Sales].[SalesOrderHeader].[ix_nc_ShipDate_inc_SalesOrderID_CustomerID] AS [soh]), SEEK:([soh].[ShipDate] >= '2003-01-01 00:00:00.000' AND [soh].[ShipDate] <= '2004-01-01 00:00:00.000') ORDERED FORWARD)
       |--Index Seek(OBJECT:([AdventureWorks].[Sales].[Customer].[ix_nc_CustomerType] AS [c]), SEEK:([c].[CustomerType]=N'I') ORDERED FORWARD)
  • Have you tried to do this in SQL Sentry's Plan Explorer yet? Mar 11, 2011 at 22:05
  • Yes, I could not get it to work, but if you know of a way to use that tool to convert legacy text to a graphical plan, please share the steps involved. Mar 11, 2011 at 22:27
  • Do you have a sample we can test with? Mar 12, 2011 at 18:08
  • Eric, I added a sample statement and showplan_text that gets returned. Mar 13, 2011 at 18:34

1 Answer 1


I have been told by colleagues at Microsoft that this is not possible, as the legacy SHOWPLAN_TEXT does not have enough details to display in a graphical format.

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