The Debug button is present on this version of SSMS: enter image description here

But it is not present on version 18, preview 4: enter image description here

I have tried in several ways to add the Debug button to my SSMS but not successful.

Is there a way to add the Debug button to SSMS v18?


Debugger is deprecated in SSMS18 as @LowlyDBA said in his answer.

For those who look for an alternative, you can use SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT)/Visual Studio to debug a query.

  1. Connect to a SQL server (in Tools menu)
  2. Open a new query (Server explorer, right click, new query)
  3. Type in your query
  4. Execute with Debugger

From the SQL menu

SQL - Main Menu

From the Drop down list next to the execute icon in the query window

DropDown next to the Execute icon in the query window

From the context menu in the query wondow

Context menu in a query window

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    unfortunately this causes VS 2019 to crash. Tried on latest 19 and preview. 😤 – Mayank Aug 19 '19 at 16:48
  • @Mayank Thanks for this update, I can't verify it now, since I don't have an SQL Server 2019 instance available to do so. – Pred Aug 21 '19 at 7:05
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    I have raised the issue with VS team. Hopefully it'll be fixed soon. – Mayank Aug 21 '19 at 20:09
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    That is working for me ... but not for a stored procedure. One needs to convert the SP into a query first and then debug it in a query window. – Matt Dec 4 '19 at 12:54
  • There is this tool by this company Devart called 'dbforge SQL Complete' and they say that they've added the missing debugger in SSMS in their tool. Here is the link : youtube.com/watch?v=ZXSHlnnLjEM – Tahir77667 May 5 at 12:12

This feature is deprecated in SSMS 18 and thus no longer available.

Database diagrams were removed in SSMS 18 but have been re-added as of version 18.1

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    I totally disagree with the statement that the debugger is "awful" in SSMS. Yes, it may not as powerful as VS, BUT, it is convenient and easy to use for simple tasks. I think it is a shame that MS does this kind of "deprecation" without any extensive consultation. – jyao Sep 2 '19 at 4:11
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    I also disagree. Stepping through sprocs to ensure correct functionality is a critical function. SSMS is crippled without it. At least 350 people on Azure.com want it back. feedback.azure.com/forums/908035-sql-server/suggestions/… Using Visual Studio 2019 is a bad workaround. After bypassing the splash screen via "continue without code" and connecting with a special explorer window, you have no access to recent files or familiar tools, and it just hangs indefinitely when you step into a stored procedure. SSMS v18 is useless without the debugger. – Triynko Sep 16 '19 at 17:57
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    Yep, not just me: developercommunity.visualstudio.com/content/problem/675984/… – Triynko Sep 16 '19 at 18:31
  • Debugging through SQL code in VS 2017, and SSMS 17 both seemed to work pretty much the same for me. Both very useful. Also, both were a bit glitchy, as is to be expected from the small and soft company. – Reversed Engineer Nov 5 '19 at 13:08
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    Well that's interesting. Guess I'm going back to SSMS v17. This is asinine. What about those who don't have Visual Studio? – Tundey Jul 11 at 1:24

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