Yes, you can install SQL Server 2014 Books Online locally

Update 2014-08-01: Below I mention that the T-SQL and XQuery references were not available locally with the initial release; they have now been provided (see this post for more details).

I've seen people complain that SQL Server 2014 did not ship with documentation you could install locally. While true, it is just because the publication lagged; the local Books Online option is available now.

First, make sure you have the documentation components installed. (Note that these use the old, icky, Help Viewer 1.0/1.1 – if you'd like to see this changed, vote here.)

Go to Control Panel / Programs and Features, select SQL Server 2014, right-click and choose "Add" and then point it at your ISO or installation folder. On the Installation Type screen, choose "Add features to an existing instance", select any 2014 (RTM or better) instance, and select Next.

On the Feature Selection page, make sure Documentation Components is checked. If it is already checked, hit Cancel to exit out of setup. Otherwise, check the box and hit Next. Setup will skip the remaining steps and offer you an Install button. You know what to do next. Should take less than a minute on an SSD.

Once it's installed, open SQL Server 2014 > Documentation & Community > Manage Help Settings (I almost suggested the Start Menu – which I still have, but you may not):

Click "Install content from online" and sit back and wait:

Enumeration here takes almost as long as the installation (depending on your bandwidth, I suppose). Scroll down to SQL Server 2014 and add Books Online (and the other two, if you wish):

Click Update:

This should take some time too.

When it's done, don't click Finish; click Settings, and make sure you've chosen local help:

Now you can launch the help viewer from SQL Server 2014 > Documentation & Community > SQL Server Documentation:

And voila:

Now, there is some important content missing; SQL Server Database Engine > Transact-SQL Reference / XQuery Reference both yield "topic not found" – you may want to monitor this connect item and also periodically click the "check for updates" link in the Manage Help Settings app. In the meantime, you'll have to hit those topic online for real (Transact-SQL | XQuery).

Aaron Bertrand

I am a passionate technologist with industry experience dating back to Classic ASP and SQL Server 6.5. I am a long-time Microsoft MVP, write at Simple Talk, SQLPerformance, and MSSQLTips, and have had the honor of speaking at more conferences than I can remember. In non-tech life, I am a father of two, a huge hockey and football fan, and my pronouns are he/him. If I've helped you out, consider thanking me with a coffee. :-)

12 Responses

  1. Hsao says:

    Thank you so much for the instruction! I finally got the local SQL 2014 BOL. I didn't realize "Install Content from online" will take time and automatically load bunch updates.
    Your help is greatly appreciated.

  2. Ashish singh says:

    Can any 1 help me with the error
    the error-Could not load file or assembly
    Culture=neural,PublicKeyToken=89845dcd8080cc91' or one of its dependencies .the system cannot find the file specified.

  3. AaronBertrand says:

    T-SQL and XQuery references have now been added, see the following post for details:

  4. Bill Lescher says:

    Thanks Aaron!  I'm with Paul, though I would say it's beyond strange to leave T-SQL out of BOL.

  5. Paul Storm says:

    I should've learned by now to read all the way to the end before posting.
    Thanks Aaron

  6. LucX says:

    I have the same issue as Paul Storm:
    Its godd to have a local T-SQL-Reference, when you are not online.
    But that part is now missing. In the past, I could highlight a TSQL-command, and press SHIFT+F1 to show the reference of this command.
    Any idea?

  7. Paul Storm says:

    Thanks for the tip Aaron.
    I've downloaded both "Books Online for SQL Server 2014" and the "Developer Reference for SQL Server 2014", and there doesn't seem to be a "Transact-SQL Reference" in either.
    I might have failed to notice that it's been moved somewhere else in the heirarchy, but I've had a pretty good look. If it is missing, it seems a strange thing to have left out…

  8. Assaf Fraenkel says:


  9. retracement says:

    Thanks for raising this Aaron.

  10. AaronBertrand says:

    @Rob sorry, should be fixed now

  11. Rob Volk says:

    Hi Aaron-
    The Connect item URL for the missing 2014 content is malformed in your blog, there's some extra stuff at the end and it generates an error.