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Intellisense in SSMS doesn’t work any more

In my last job Intellisense stopped working in SSMS and I just lived with it for years. When I came to a new office, it worked for a while, and then stopped one day. But it’s so much extra typing, I decided to try to fix it.

Here are the culprits, in order of ease-to-fix, ending with what I had to do :)

  1. Enable Intellisense (Query -> Intellisense Enabled)
  2. Turn off SQLCMD mode (Query -> SQLCMD Mode)
  3. Refresh the Intellisense cache (Ctrl+Shift+R)
  4. Check settings are alright in Tools -> Options -> Text Editor -> Transact-SQL -> Intellisense
  5. If you are working with a particularly big script file, increase the Max file size in the settings above
  6. Install or reinstall the latest Service Pack for SQL Server

Service Packs

It turns out that Intellisense stopped working for me in both instances because I had reinstalled/repaired Visual Studio.

I didn’t have full-blown SQL Server on my last PC, so I don’t know how installing a SQL Server Service Pack would help. Maybe all you really need to patch is SSMS (which has a standalone installer).

Here I am on SQL Server 2008 R2, so the latest service pack is Service Pack 3.

Hope it helps!

Sources: IntelliSense not working but it is enabled, IntelliSense is not working at SQL Server Management Studio