Create a Schema Compare (psuedo) Template in Database Projects

By November 14, 2016.NET, Visual Studio

I have been doing a lot of Schema Compare operations using Visual Studio Database Projects lately. One thing that has bugged me is that if I am using any settings that are not default, there is no obvious way to save those settings to apply to another new compare.

Sure, I can save the entire .scmp file into my project, but often this is a local compare that I don’t want to add to my project. I create the compare, run it against some local database and then basically throw it away. But if I want to, say, turn off the option to “Block on possible Data Loss”, I have to set that same option every single time. And there are a lot of options to set here! Just in General, 62 separate options that I really do not want to double-check every time. Ideally, there would be global options for this. In fact, if I could make this a wish-list item, I even know right where it should go:


But alas, there is no such setting that I can find. That’s not to say it’s not buried somewhere, in which case I’d love for someone to enlighten me! In the meantime, I have had to settle for a workaround. But a workaround that is working pretty well, so I thought I would share.

The psuedo-template

The approach is simple: create a blank schema compare file that is saved outside of the project, and includes the desired default settings. Even without assigning a target or source, those settings are retained and can be used as a kind of template for new compares.

Using the Tools menu, open a new, completely blank, schema compare.


Set the defaults as desired for your custom compare. In my case, I have a couple of these saved with the settings I prefer.


Save the file wherever is convenient to you, and then close the file. Now, either use the Recent Files or Open File operation to start from here when you need a non-default compare operation, and you no longer have to reset that options list every time!

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