SQL Server Execution Plan View

The execution plan viewer is available in several places in miniDBA Desktop:
  • Activity
  • Top SQL
  • Historic Active SQL Statements
The plan viewer is identical in all the above parts so this document applies to all of them. It is loaded by clicking on a SQL statement in any of the 3 screen listed above. If you need more screen space to display any of the execution plan details you can click the "Popout" button and the viewer will appear in it's own window which you can expand to full screen.

Performance Drilldown

The viewer defaults to showing the "Performance Drilldown" tab which shows each batch on the left order by the % of the batch the statement accounts for (green bar):
SQL Server execution plan batch list
Details of the batch appear on the right including T-SQL statement, estimated rows and the cached plan size.
Expanding a statement on the left will display it's execution plan operators. They are ordered by operator cost (green bar), so the operator that accounts for most cost in the plan is at the top. This is equivalent to SQL Management Studios "Thickness of line" in a plan graphical view.

Execution plan operator reference list on MSDN

When clicking on an operator it's details will be displayed on the right hand side of the screen:
SQL Server execution plan operator list
The details include the object like indexes and columns that are used by the operator plus metrics such as rows and execution mode. If the operator has a particularly high cost it could be worth looking up the operator in the operator list and assessing if it can be made more efficient particularly if it uses an index that is either fragmented or does not include all necessary columns (adding included columns is sometimes beneficial or creating a new index for this task).


The execution plan XML is shown in the next tab along "XML". The xml is collapsible for easy navigation.


The graphical plan is then shown in the "Diagram" tab. Similar to SQL Management studio, suggested indexes are presented in green and hovering your cursor over individual operators displays their details in popup boxes:
SQL Server execution plan diagram
Click the "Open in Graphical Tool" button to open the plan as a .sqlplan file in Windows. If SQL Management studio or other application is installed and registered to handle .sqlplan files that app will show the plan.

This functionality is available in the free single sql connection version of miniDBA Desktop and above.