Writing SQL queries is typically done with SQL Management Studio (SSMS). However, this tool is a bit of a beast, so let's look at how you could use Visual Studio Code instead.
Visual Studio Code is a free text editor — but it is so much more than just a text editor. Let's see how. (By the way, VS Code can be downloaded from here.)
To work with SQL Server, download the MS SQL extension. Press CTRL + SHIFT + P, select Install Extension, and type mssql.
Intellisense in Visual Studio Code is brilliant — better than SSMS. Let's look at how to get it all set up.
Create a new file and set the language type to SQL (press CTRL + K + M).
Open the command palette with CTRL + SHIFT + P and type SQL to show the MS SQL commands. Select the Connect command.
Then, select Create Connection Profile. This creates a profile to connect to your SQL Server. Follow the prompts to get it all set up.
Look in the bottom right corner of the status bar and you should see that you are connected!
Now, if you type sql, you will see a long list of SQL code snippets that you can use:
Choose a snippet to create and edit it as required. When you are happy, press CTRL + SHIFT + E to execute.
This is basically all there is to it! However, this is an incredibly powerful way of working; the Intellisense instantly tells you what database objects you can use in your query, and there is a wealth of different snippets you can use.
When returning data, you get a similar view to SSMS, but you can save as Excel, CSV, or JSON.
SSMS is a very graphical way of doing things. You can double-click a table and see its columns or indexes. VS Code relies on T-SQL commands, but you have access to exactly the same information.
For more information about VS Code and the MS SQL extension, check out this documentation.