ssms – Does SQL Server Management Studio 2017 Have a New Explain Feature?

I came across a feature of SQL Server Management Studio v17.9 that I was not aware of. It looks a bit like EXPLAIN found in Oracle, PostgreSQL and MySQL. Where is this feature documented?

I was executing the following query with the options Include the actual execution plan (Ctrl + M) and Include live query statistics alight:

    SELECT sdes.session_id
, sdes.[status]
          , sdes.login_name
, sdes.[host_name]
          , sder.blocking_session_id
, sdes.cpu_time
, sdes.logical_reads - possibly: + sdes.reads + sdes.writes
, sdes.last_request_start_time
, sdes.program_name
, sdes.session_id
, sder.request_id
, dest.[text]
    FROM sys.dm_exec_sessions AS sdes
JOIN LEFT sys.dm_exec_connections AS sdec
ON sdes.session_id = sdec.session_id
JOIN sys.databases AS sdb
ON sdes.database_id = sdb.database_id
JOIN LEFT sys.dm_exec_requests AS sder
ON sdes.session_id = sder.session_id
CROSS APPLICATION sys.dm_exec_sql_text (sdec.most_recent_sql_handle) AS dest
O 1 = 1
AND = & # 39;


This produced four tabs of results:

  • Results
  • posts
  • Live Query Statistics
  • Plan of execution

Special Results Tab

When I went to Results tab, I noticed a set of results located just below the actual results, which looks like this:

SQL Server Management Studio - Explain the plan

If I turn on either the Include the actual execution plan (Ctrl + M) option or the Include live query statistics option and then the SQL Server Explain is not displayed. "SQL Server Explain" only appears if both options are enabled.

  1. Can this feature be enabled without having to enable both Include the actual execution plan (Ctrl + M) option and the Include live query statistics?
  2. Where is this neat little feature documented?

The following software components and / or packages are involved in the scenario:


  • Windows Server 2016
  • SQL Server 2016 SP1


  • Windows 10 version 1807 (17134 version)
  • SQL Server Management Studio v17.9
    • Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio 14.0.17285.0
    • Microsoft Analysis Services Client Tools 14.0.1016.283
    • Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) 10.0.17134.1
    • Microsoft MSXML 3.0 6.0
    • Microsoft Internet Explorer 9.11.17134.0
    • Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0.30319.42000
    • Operating system 6.3.17134

SQL Server Management Studio v17.9

  • Include the actual execution plan (Ctrl + M) turned SURE
  • Include live query statistics turned SURE