Missing F8 or ctrl-N in SSMS 2008?

Short story: Turn on 2000 keyboard layout and thenĀ back to Standard layout.

Long story:

This topic has been discussed in both the MCT (MS Certified Trainer) as well as MVP groups. Also, see http://sqlblog.com/blogs/andy_leonard/archive/2008/08/08/sql-server-2008-management-studio-function-keys.aspx, including the comments.

The mystery seems to be that in some cases you do have F8 and Ctrl-N in Standard layout, where in other cases you don’t. For instance I did a check onĀ 4 installations where one had the desired layout (with F8) and the others didn’t:

  1. VPC. XP. Clean install. No prior SQL Server stuff. No F8 or ctrl-N.
  2. My laptop, XP. I have 2000, 2005 and 2008 tools as well as 2000, 2005 and 2008 instances installed. No F8 or ctrl-N.
  3. My desktop machine, Vista. I have 2005 and also 2008 instances. I have had 2005 SSMS which was uninstalled before I installed 2008 SSMS. Here both ctrl-N and F8 work.
  4. VPC. XP. Had 2005 both tools and instance which were upgraded to 2008. No F8 or ctrl-N.

I was doing training on 2008 last week and I really needed to find my shortcut keys (I couldn’t keep stumbling after menus all the time – too slow). So I switched to what I’m familiar with: the 2000 keyboard layout. I recall thinking for myself that perhaps if I now switch back I will have the desired Standard layout (F8 and Ctrl-N). I forgot all about it until today reading a post in the MVP group from Craig Beere suggesting exactly this. To confirm, I tried this in both a virtual machine (1 above) as well as my laptop (2 above) and it worked indeed.

One thing to watch out for: There doesn’t seem to be a way to go back to Standard layout *without* F8 and Ctrl-N. For instance when you get F8 etc, you also get a different shortcut for comment code (or was it uncomment?). So you might want to think a little bit before setting to 2000 layout and back. I’m sure in the end that somebody finds a setting somewhere to control the behavior – and then we know how to switch between the two Standard alternatives…