THE SQL Server Blog Spot on the Web

Welcome to - The SQL Server blog spot on the web Sign in | |
in Search

Tibor Karaszi

Getting a functional Books Online

As you probably know, the SQL Server Documentation (aka Books Online or BOL) as of SQL Server 2012 takes us to a web-site. Searching and navigating a web-site when you want rapid and precise help is a horrible experience.

  • Fortunately, there's still a local BOL.
  • Unfortunately, the local BOL for SQL Server 2014 has been broken for a long time.
  • Fortunately, there is a way to fix it. 

The trick is to not do it how you are supposed to do it. At least not all steps. Here's how to get a functional local BOL:

  1. Download the help files from
  2. Unpack the files somewhere
  3. Open the Manage Help Settings application
  4. "Choose online or local help"
  5.  Select "I want to use local help"
  6. OK
  7. Do not select "Install content from Online". This is where you need to divert from how you (generally) are supposed to do it.
  8. "Install content from disk"
  9. Point to wherever you unpacked the files in step 2 above
  10. "Add" all books
  11. "Update"

So it is only a matter of downloading the files ourselves instead of letting the Help Library Manager ("Manage Help Settings") tool do it.

If you wonder in what way the BOL is broken, then it is the Table of Content (TOC) which lacks a lot of subjects (for instance the T-SQL reference lacks bunch of things).

Published Thursday, March 17, 2016 3:44 PM by TiborKaraszi
Filed under:

Comment Notification

If you would like to receive an email when updates are made to this post, please register here

Subscribe to this post's comments using RSS



Zdzislaw "Stisse" TWARDY said:

Du är en pärla.


Mvh Stisse

March 18, 2016 5:25 AM

TiborKaraszi said:

Tack Stisse! :-) :-)

March 18, 2016 7:08 AM

Greg said:

Could you also provide instructions to install BOL locally for the SQL Server 2016 Release Candidate version of Management Studio? It doesn't seem to have the Manage Help Settings application.

March 18, 2016 12:02 PM

TiborKaraszi said:

I would if I could. But I can't. The offline books for 2016 aren't available yet. I don't know what the plans are for offline BOL (I don't work at MS), but assuming that they will be available, I would guess that they will be available at or after the release.

March 18, 2016 4:22 PM

Stephen Morris said:

Maybe open a connect item and MS might manage to get a "fixed" version for SQL 2016 RTM ? Would also alert them to the fact that their help index is incomplete. You´ll certainly get an upvote from me, I feel remotivated to work with connect seeing the number of long long standing items they have finally got round to fixing for SQL 2016.

March 24, 2016 7:06 AM

TiborKaraszi said:

Good idea, Stephen. MS are aware of the brokenness of the current BOL, but filing a connect for 2016 will at show that we do care about local BOL. If you file it, I will vote! :-)

March 24, 2016 2:03 PM

Duncan said:

3.) Open the Manage Help Settings application

How do I do this?


March 28, 2016 1:33 PM

TiborKaraszi said:

Either you find it in the SQL Server program group (Documentation & Community) or just press the windows button and type that name: Manage Help Settings.

March 28, 2016 2:21 PM

TiborKaraszi said:

March 31, 2016 6:15 AM

Leave a Comment


This Blog


Privacy Statement