SQL SERVER – CTRL+SHIFT+] Shortcut to Select Code Between Two Parenthesis

Every weekend brings creative ideas and accidents brings best unknown secrets in front of us. Just a day while working with complex SQL Server code in SSMS I came across very interesting shortcut which I have never used before and instantly fell in love with it. It is totally possible that you are familiar with this but for me it was the first time and I was surprised that I did know know this short cut so far.

Shortcut key is CTRL+SHIFT+]. This key can be very useful when dealing with multiple subqueries, CTE or query with multiple parentheses. When exercised this shortcut key it selects T-SQL code between two parentheses.

Let us see the examples to understand the same. In each of the examples I have put the cursor at the position displayed and pressed CTRL+SHIFT+] and it has selected the code between two corresponding parentheses.

Cursor position 1

SQL SERVER - CTRL+SHIFT+] Shortcut to Select Code Between Two Parenthesis cursor1

Cursor position 2

SQL SERVER - CTRL+SHIFT+] Shortcut to Select Code Between Two Parenthesis cursor2

Cursor position 3

SQL SERVER - CTRL+SHIFT+] Shortcut to Select Code Between Two Parenthesis cursor3

If you are a developer and have to code with complex queries, you will totally appreciate that this feature can save so much of the time for development. I often remember my experience as a developer when I have lost a lot of hours to just balance parentheses. As I said yesterday I found this shortcut accidently. How many of you were aware of this feature? Is there any other useful feature you would like to share with us? Please leave a comment and if I have not covered it earlier, I will share it due credit on this blog.

Reference: Pinal Dave (https://blog.sqlauthority.com)

SQL Server, SQL Server Management Studio, SQL Shortcut
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25 Comments. Leave new

  • Ayman El-Ghazali
    July 7, 2012 8:10 am

    Thank you! Very simple but extremely useful. I always end up moving the cursor with the arrow keys since it usually matches the with the corresponding parenthesis. It doesn’t always work to well. I will give this a shot on Monday. Enjoy your weekend.

  • Vinay B Hiraskar
    July 7, 2012 10:27 am

    Nice One!! I use to use this shortcut in Visual Studio, But I was not aware that it’s also in MS SQL.
    Thanks Pinal Sir, I learnt Nice tip this Weekend :)

    July 7, 2012 2:13 pm

    Thanks Pinal Sir,
    Its very useful.I use arrow key to find subquery starting braces and ending braces.

  • firas abuzaina
    July 7, 2012 7:07 pm

    you can use it with begin and end

  • we can also use CTRL+] to move between parenthesis or a begin-end pair.

    • :) So easy, so nice!
      Maybe someone knows some shortcut for code formatting.
      Eg.: I`ve got query which is written in 1 line, without tabs, spaces…
      And I would like to format it (many lines,select section,from and where in another lines…)
      DO you know anything useful for it?

      • There is no shortcut to format code up to SQL Server 2008 as per my knowledge but you can try Redgate SQL Prompt which is really a very good tool. There is also available another free online tool for it at

        I hope these can be helpful.

      • Good answer Suvendu!

      • Thanks Pinal Sir

      • Thanks,
        however Redgate SQL Prompt is a very good tool, it`s not free and trial period is only few weeks so I was starting to use this tool: and I`ve got very good first opinion. Actually it did everything what I wanted to do :-)

  • Nice tip! Thanks!

  • cool info..thanks .. :-)

  • Yet again providing an extremely useful tip. Thank you.

  • I cant get this to work in my SSMS 2012 or 2008 R2

  • Fermín Bernaus (@fbernaus)
    July 12, 2012 2:13 pm

    No equivalent in SQL Server 2008 R2, look for “Move the cursor to the next brace, extending the selection”:

  • Nice tips; Thanks

  • flightglobal
    July 17, 2012 3:48 pm


  • You are a GURU my friend!

  • This just doesn’t work on ssms 2012. I badly want to use it as I am struggling with a hell lot of brackets.

  • Hi Pinaldave
    I’ using SQL Server 2014 and this trick isn’t working for. CAn you please help me out? I have a lot of subquries and I wanna detect which Parenthesis belong together.


  • @mikybrain maybe you have to use CTRL + SHIFT + ] instead of CTRL + SHIFT + J ?
    (i did this error ‘:) )


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