Sharing SQL Server Execution Plans

Sometimes it is necessary to share a SQL Server execution plan with someone outside of your organization. This can be completed easily in a couple of ways. The most basic way is to take a screen shot of the Execution Plan as it is displayed to you inside SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). This is very limited, but can be helpful it you want to share that very basic information.

A better way is to share the Execution Plan by exporting it to a file and saving it to your local hard drive. You can then share the file, usually via email, with your friends or colleagues and they can load the resulting file into their own copy of SSMS to view the plan details.

Saving an Execution Plan

Display the Execution Plan for you query (CTRL+M)  and once the plan is displayed on the screen, you can right-click on the plan and select “Save Execution Plan As…” to select the path and filename of the plan. Using the default file format will help the destination user easily load the plan into their copy of SSMS.

Opening a saved Execution Plan

If SSMS is already installed on the client PC, double-clicking the file will automatically load and display the file contents.

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