BI: Wondering why your SSRS, SSAS, and SSIS menus are missing in Visual Studio 2019?

If you've recently installed Visual Studio 2019 (VS2019), and then installed the SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), the SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS), and/or SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) extensions, when you open a project you might be wondering where your menus went.

How it was

For example, if you had a report open in the VS2017 report designer, this menu was present:

And if you had an AS model open in the VS2017 tabular designer, these menus were present:

And similarly, if you had an SSIS package open in the VS2017 designer, these menus were present:


How it now is

Now, when you open VS2019, no matter which of these you have open, you won't find those menus.

So where are they?

They're all hidden within the "EXTENSIONS" menu as these designers are all "Extensions". And if there were multiple menus, they're all in there separately:


I think this is a lousy idea for multiple reasons.

First, it means that when you're working on an object like a tabular data model, your menu bar is full of things unrelated to what you're working on, and the relevant menu items are hidden multiple levels down under "Extensions".

While I understand they're probably trying to keep the VS menu bar consistent, many people working with these projects could not care less about the rest of VS. That's just where these designers happen to be.

For the life of me, I can't see how that's good UI design.

Second, it makes the decades of blog posts and articles that have been written about these tools incorrect, and much harder to follow. The pain from this is hard to describe, and it's felt most by newcomers who will just be puzzled and not know what's going on.

I'd love to hear your thoughts. If you agree with mine, please tell Microsoft as well. I really hope they reconsider this.

Please vote here:




10 thoughts on “BI: Wondering why your SSRS, SSAS, and SSIS menus are missing in Visual Studio 2019?”

  1. Thanks for the article. I spent 30 minutes looking for the menu. You saved me a ton of time re-installing plug ins and whatnot.

  2. This was first announced to extension developers at the final Visual Studio Partner Developer Summit in Oct 2018. According to Microsoft developers, focus groups expressed ambivalence about the proposed change. It didn't land until maybe 6-9 months later.

    After it landed, many people did complain. A third party created a free extension to restore previous behavior —

    The eventual response from the Visual Studio team was to add a new Extensions page to the Customize dialog (accessible at "Tools | Customize" and at "Extensions | Customize Menu"). On that page, users are able to restore old behavior per-extension. I don't recall when the new customize page was finally added — maybe 16.3 timeframe?

      1. I just wanted to document the situation. They changed behavior for all users based on ambivalence expressed by some group of users they interacted with. Who knows if those users were suitable (no point in seeking the opinion of those that do not install such extensions)?

        1. Yes, thanks Sean, completely agree. But as I've mentioned, the biggest issue for me is that they've messed up the usefulness of a decade's worth of blog posts, tutorials, etc. Newcomers will see these and not understand what's going on. How did the cost of that get assessed?

          Heck, when I first saw 2019, I couldn't find the menu items, and I knew they should have been there. I (wrongly) assumed that a menu labelled Extensions was (still) about managing extensions. And wondered why I'm staring at a whole bunch of menu items that have nothing to do with what I'm focused on. But a newcomer who reads a blog post that tells them to click on the "Reports" menu, and there isn't one, is just going to give up immediately, assuming the entire post is now wrong.

  3. Thank you! I hate the parameter pane & have been searching for how to turn it off only to find that I didn't have the menu. This is the ONLY place that explains what happened. I've been searching for weeks.

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