Screenshot of the "Installation Type" page in the SQL Server 2012 SP1 setup wizard

Installing SQL Server Data Tools – Business Intelligence for Visual Studio 2012

As if renaming the accurately titled Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) to the rather ambiguous SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) wasn’t bad enough, in December, Microsoft’s latest SSDT release only brought half the expected capabilities to Visual Studio 2012.  Yep, the December 2012 SSDT download was missing a key component: the project and item templates for developing MS BI projects in Visual Studio.  Thankfully, the newest release (5th March, 2013) has finally added all of the MS BI templates to SSDT, so you can now develop SSIS packages, SSAS cubes and SSRS reports in the Visual Studio 2012 environment.

Which version?

Unfortunately, they’ve not made the whole process easy.  Searching for “SQL Server Data Tools” will likely lead you to a download which, upon installation, will add connectivity and server management tools to VS 2012 – making it like an up-to-date version of SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), but without the BI project templates.

The latest release (with the BI templates) is actually called:

Microsoft SQL Server Data Tools – Business Intelligence for Visual Studio 2012

So make sure that if you’re trying to get SSDT for BI development work, that you download the correct version.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of the issues, as I had a bit of trouble with installation that I felt needed sharing.

Installation woes

Begin by downloading the correct installer for the BI enabled version of SSDT from (782 MB).

Screenshot of the "Installation Type" page in the SQL Server 2012 SP1 setup wizard

Fig. 1: On a 64-bit SQL instance, be sure to select “Perform a new installation of SQL Server 2012”

Once you execute it, the installer will unpack and run the SQL Server 2012 SP1 setup wizard.  Don’t worry about this, remember that SSDT, like BIDS before it, is actually a component of SQL Server based upon the Visual Studio shell, NOT actually an extension to Visual Studio itself.

The trick with the installation is when you reach the Installation Type step (see Fig 1.).

If you’re running an x64-based SQL instance (64-bit), make sure to select “New Instance” on the Installation Type page, and NOT “Add features to an existing instance”.

This is because although the SQL Server instance is 64-bit, the Visual Studio 2012 shell is actually 32-bit.  If you attempt to upgrade a 64-bit instance with a 32-bit component, it fails the Installation Rules checks and won’t allow you to proceed.

Choosing “New Instance” will work but don’t worry, it doesn’t actually require creation of a new SQL instance, it just allows the installer to get past the pre-installation checks.

If you’ve got a 32-bit instance of SQL Server, it doesn’t matter what option you choose here.

Installation complete

Screenshot showing adding a new Business Intelligence project in Visual Studio 2012

The new Business Intelligence Project templates in action

Once the installation has completed (may require a restart), you can open Visual Studio 2012 (or the new SQL Server Data Tools 2012 item on your start menu) and get developing.  Click “New Project” in the File menu and check for the “Business Intelligence” templates to confirm that it’s worked.

I’ve yet to find any real differences between the Visual Studio 2012 based SSDT and the Visual Studio 2010 based version that shipped with SQL Server 2012.  At the moment, the main advantage of using this release seems to be to take advantage of the improved features of Visual Studio 2012 over its 2010 counterpart, rather than any advancements in the Business Intelligence templates/tools themselves.

They might be there, however, I just haven’t come across them yet.  Let me know in the comments below if you’ve spotted any improvements over SSDT 2010 and what they are.

Solutions Architect at Indicia and Final Boss of 1600HP. Vulnerable to Tequila. Data geek, football fan, and Xbox gamer.

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  1. Anna

    Thanks for the post! I just couldn’t understand why I was getting an error during my installation… Performing a new installation of SQL server did the trick!

  2. SPeffa

    thanks for this post. I’ve been battling an installation of SQL 2012 ans SSDT 2010. Will keep this article for when I need to go to SSDT 2012

  3. Dave Michelson

    I have VS.NET 2012 Update 2 installed on my laptop (and SQL 2012 Developer’s Edition)

    I tried to install the BI by downloading it and running it; however while it goes through the progress bar, after that nothing happens and the templates do not get installed.

    Would you perhaps have any insight into this situation?


    • Graham

      Hey Dave, did you use the link I posted for the download?

      • Dave Michelson


        Thanks for replying. I had actually forgotten that I posted this question here. I have just tried this again the same thing occurred. I went searching for a solution and I came across my own posting!

        Same thing still happens. I have downloaded BI after the progress bar nothing happens. Is there something that I am missing?


        • Not sure Dave, it sounds like a really strange issue! Do you have Visual Studio open while you’re running the installation? Or perhaps even if it was running and hasn’t fully released a process? Maybe try after a fresh boot and see if you still have the same issue.

          Only other thing I can think think of is perhaps if the installation process is running into a permissions issue while trying to write to the templates folder?

          Let me know how you get on!

  4. frank

    Thank you very much !!!

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  6. Graham:

    I know writers don’t like to correct what was written years ago. But, I think this correction is so tiny and that it does not change the story line any:

    Should “At the moment, the main advantage of using this release seems to be to take advantage of the improved features of Visual Studio 2012 over its 2012 counterpart”


    “At the moment, the main advantage of using this release seems to be to take advantage of the improved features of Visual Studio 2012 over its 2010 counterpart”

    Once again, thanks for such a beautiful and energetic post!

    • Thanks for pointing that out Daniel! I’ve updated the post accordingly.

  7. Random

    Hi. Followed all the steps and SSDT installed but I cannot connect to the analysis server. All forums tell me to start the server in the configuration manager but analysis server doesn’t show up. What am I missing?

    • Hi Random, thanks for commenting.

      Just to ask the silly question first – do you definitely have an SSAS instance already installed on your machine? The SSDT BI installer simply installs the dev tools and templates – you need to use the regular SQL Server installer to get SSAS installed. Or, alternatively, if you have SSAS on a server you can connect your project to that.

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  9. mehrad1362

    Hi there,

    I’m not sure if you have tried this for Visual Studio 2013 but I came across this bazaar issue which my reporting templates are missing from Visual Studio and since I have already installed SSDT-BI, I can’t reinstall it again after uninstalling it and the two tick boxes which you have a screen shot of them in this tutorial about SQL Server Data tools – … and SQL Client Connectivity SDK are grayed out and I can’t get passed this step of installation. I posted my issue in details in Stack Overflow. I would really appreciate it if you could have a quick look and let me know your opinion here or in the SO, whichever you prefer. Thanks

      • Hi Mehrad, sorry for the late reply.

        Have you got anywhere with this? I suspect it’s to do with installing SSDT 2013 prior to installing SQL 2014, which may have overwritten something. I’d be tempted to take the scorched earth approach and completely uninstall SQL 2014, as well as SSDT 2013/VS 2013, and then re-install SQL, followed by SSDT.

        If you managed to get this sorted, I’d be interested to know how you did it.


        • Graham,

          Thank you so much for getting back to me. I have taken your advice and actually uninstalled anything saying SQL in my machine and did a clean install and everything got back to normal.


          • Glad you got it sorted Mehrad!

            As much as I like the fact that the familiar VS environment is used as a basis or so many of MSFT’s dev tools, there are times when it’s more trouble than it’s worth. It usually comes down to the wrong version of a DLL or registry key, or something similarly hard to debug.

            Sometimes you’re simply better starting again!

  10. Melwyn

    Is it possible to install SSDT 2012 on a machine that does not have SQL server on it? Basically I want to have SSDT 2012 on my laptop (which is a low spec machine) but have SQL server 2012 installed on another higher spec machine. Instead of remote-ing into the server machine to create my reports, I want to work on them on my laptop itself.

    • Hi Melwyn,

      In all honesty, I’m not sure. I can’t say it’s something I’ve tried. Going by the prerequisites listed on the download page for the installer ( I’d say that you can install SSDT without a local SQL Server installation.

      I’m not sure how this would work with debugging packages/reports in SSDT though, you may need a SQL installation for that.

      Thanks for commenting,

  11. Faisal Khatri

    I dont see Installation Type when I am trying to install SQL SERVER BI Studio 2012.
    On the left hand column i see these as an options:
    1 – Setup Support Rules
    2- Feature Selection
    3 – Installation Rules
    4- Disk space requirement
    5- Error Reporting
    6- Installation Configuration Rules
    7- Installation Progress
    8- Complete

    Also to inform you that I already have SQL SERVER 2014 installed on my computer. Any thoughts why I do not see “INSTALLATION TYPE”.


  12. Shubham

    Thanks a lot for the post!! I have been struggling for days to complete this setup. Your tip to start as a New Installation was most useful!!

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