How to fix my SSMS Help F1 problem

While using SSMS2012 my coworker had an issue that when he hit F1 it would launch the local copy of help but wouldn’t direct him to the specific help section for the selected keyword.

ie. New Query window, type

 Select DISTINCT name from sys.tables 

Highlight DISTINCT and hit F1. Well SSMS would simply open the local MSDN Books he had installed help but wouldn’t take him directly to the article on DISTINCT.

If you have this issue then well this fix may work for you as well. No guarantees 😉

Steps by step:

  1. Download SSMS2016 or latest version.(link may change depending on MS).
  2. Install the software on your workstation.
  3. Repeat steps above, and voila! IE opens up the web version article of MSDN on DISTINCT opens up. Well not exactly what you’re looking for because you like to have local copies to wok off  the grid right? No problem, I got you.
  4. On SSMS click Help, Add and Remove Help Content (Ctrl+Alt+F1). Note, you must have SSMS opened with the same account your logged into Windows. [No fancy Run As another user SSMS command]. ie. If you simply launched SSMS by clicking the shortcut on Start, All Programs, Microsoft SQL Server 2016, SQL Server Management Studio, then you are good to go.
  5. Installation source should be Online by default and the available list should appear. Click Add for the documentation you need, I added few that I needed only, not all of them. books
  6. Click Update and Yes on the UAC (User Account Control) prompt. Wait for the download to complete. Note, once installed these things update automatically through Microsoft/Windows Update.
  7. Close Microsoft Help Viewer.
  8. On SSMS, click Help, Set Help Preference, Launch in Help Viewer.
  9. Ready? New Query window, select DISTINCT, hit F1.

Voila! ! Fixed.


Onto the next thing, the real work.



Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.