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Accessing and Initializing Server Explorer

Use Server Explorer to create and manipulate database connections, and to connect to servers and explore their contents.

To access Server Explorer

You can access Server Explorer at any time during the development process, while working with any type of project or item.

  • On the View menu, choose Server Explorer.

    - or -

  • If the Server Explorer tab is displayed on the left edge of the screen, select that tab.

Adding Data Connections and Server Links

By default, Server Explorer displays data connections and links to servers that you have previously used. For more information, see Adding New Data Connections in Server Explorer, Adding New Servers in Server Explorer, and User Credentials and Access to Data Sources in Server Explorer.

Note   The Servers node of the Server Explorer is not available in the Standard Edition of Visual Basic and Visual C# .NET. For more information, see Visual Basic Standard Edition Features.

Dragging and Dropping Data

You can drag items from Server Explorer and drop them onto Visual Studio .NET designers. This creates new data resources that are preconfigured to retrieve information from the selected data source. For more information, see Adding Items from Server Explorer.

Expanding and Retracting the Server Explorer Window

When you first open a project in the default configuration of Visual Studio .NET, two windows are minimized along the left edge of the development environment — the Toolbox and Server Explorer. Select the Server Explorer tab to expand that window. The following illustration shows an expanded Server Explorer:

After you select the tab to view Server Explorer, its window automatically retracts again as you select items on the design surface. If you Hide Server Explorer, then the tab no longer appears, but you can reopen Server Explorer from the Project menu. For more information, see Window Management and Window Types.

Shortcut Keys Useful with Server Explorer

The following table lists shortcut key combinations that are particularly helpful when working with Server Explorer.

Command Menu Shortcut keys Description
Server Explorer View CTRL + ALT + S or
ALT + V, V
Opens Server Explorer.
Close Window SHIFT + ESC Closes Server Explorer.
Refresh Window CTRL + R Refreshes Server Explorer when it is the active window.
Add Database Tools ALT + T, D Opens the Data Link Properties dialog box.
Add Server Tools ALT + T, S Opens the Add Server dialog box.
Shortcut menu   CTRL + SHIFT + F10 Displays the shortcut menu for the selected data node.
Auto-hide Window ALT + W, A Turns auto-hide of Server Explorer on and off.

To enable Floating, Dockable, and Hide, turn Auto-hide off.

Floating Window [Auto-hide off]
ALT + W, F
Opens Server Explorer in its own window.
Dockable Window [Auto-hide off]
ALT + W, K
Lets you attach Server Explorer window to frame.
Hide Window [Auto-hide off]
ALT + W, H
Conceals Server Explorer.

To cancel Hide, CTRL + ALT + S or ALT + V + V.

Next tab   CTRL + PAGE DOWN
or ALT + TAB
Selects next tab in Data Link Properties dialog box.
Previous tab   CTRL + PAGE UP
or ALT + SHIFT + TAB
Selects previous tab in Data Link Properties dialog box.

For more information, see Shortcut Keys and Customizing Shortcut Keys.

See Also

Connecting to Remote Resources with Server Explorer | Introduction to Server Explorer | Databases in Server Explorer | Displaying Data Sources in Server Explorer | Data Link Properties Dialog Box

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