Invalid Prefix Or Suffix Characters. (MS Visual Database Tools) – SQL Server Management Studio

When trying to edit the top 200 rows of a database through the GUI (Right clicking on a database in SQL Server Management Studio and clicking Edit Top 200 Rows), you can get the following error message:

Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio

Invalid prefix or suffix characters. (MS Visual Database Tools)

This occurs when you try to edit the top 200 rows of a SQL Server 2012 database using the 2008 R2 SQL Server Management Studio. To edit the rows without the Invalid prefix or suffix characters error, either upgrade SQL Server Management Studio to 2012 or edit the rows using a SQL query.

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7 thoughts on “Invalid Prefix Or Suffix Characters. (MS Visual Database Tools) – SQL Server Management Studio

  1. I AM using SQL Server 2012 but I still get this error. I didn’t get it yesterday. Why is this doing it now?!

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    • Hi Marilyn,

      Probably you used to use SQL Server 2008 (or R2), then upgraded to SQL 2012? If that’s the case, you probably have the old SQL Server Management Studio AND the new SQL Server Management Studio on your computer.

      You might have used the latest one yesterday and accidentally used the old 2008 one today 😕

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  2. I have an instance of SQL Server 2008 Express on the same machine. But it never gave me trouble before. I used to switch back and forth between them without any problem. It worked perfectly until today. I’ve repaired SQL Server 2012 but didn’t solve the problem. Microsoft doesn’t have much to say about it, either. Almost regret I’m using 2012. There must still be a lot of bugs lurking around.

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    • No, SQL 2012 is really nice 🙂

      I think there’s some confusion. It’s not the install of SQL that has the conflict, it’s the installation of the two different Management Studios (Client used to manage / log onto SQL) that causes the Invalid Prefix Or Suffix Characters error.

      You can manage SQL 2012 from a 2008 Management Studio, but you will get the Invalid Prefix Or Suffix Characters error when performing certain operations. It’s best to make sure you only use the 2012 Management Studio to manage SQL 2012. It’s hard to tell the difference, because I think they’re both called the same thing… The way you tell the difference is which folder they are launched from in the start menu. If you run Start -> Programs -> SQL 2008 -> SQL Management Studio, then that’s the 2008 one. You need to find the one listed under SQL 2012. I think it has the same name 🙂

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    • Or maybe you could try managing SQL 2012 from another machine that only runs the SQL 2012 Management Studio? Maybe they’re conflicting with each other somehow?

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  3. Hi,

    I thought about what you said. Since I have two versions of SQL Server running on the same machine; I deleted Management Studio from the Start Menu and run it from Program Files and I got the correct Sql Server Management Studio (SSMS) version that I need. The error flag disappeared. I realized that I was using SSMS 2008 on a 2012 database.

    Thanks for pointing that out.

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    • Happy it’s fixed your Invalid Prefix Or Suffix Characters. (MS Visual Database Tools) error 🙂

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