Hopefully a simple one, if I have two (fairly complex, 30-40 node) .sqlplan files (from the same SQL text) what is a good way to compare them side by side? Or just have it tell me what it did differently? Management Studio is being particularly ridiculous about laying them out with vast amounts of whitespace, and it won't let me reformat them to print on a single page even...


2 Answers 2


Give SQL Sentry Plan Explorer a try. I am not sure it does exactly what you are asking about, but it is a great tool and free!

SQL Sentry Plan Explorer

  • 1
    Aha, I can run 2 copies of that and tile them top and bottom of my screen to compare, neat!
    – Gaius
    Mar 29, 2011 at 13:18
  • 1
    Yep, that's the only way I found too :-).
    – Marian
    Mar 29, 2011 at 13:48
  • +1 for SQL Sentry Plan Explorer; I've used it for this very thing but I still wish there was a SQL Plan Diff tool :D
    – Jeff
    Mar 29, 2011 at 16:06

Using a comparison tool like csdiff maybe?

  • Diffing is easy, what I'd like is something that says "the two plans diverged at this node for this reason" or allows me to easily derive that
    – Gaius
    Mar 29, 2011 at 13:07

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