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(Ctrl+E) was pressed. Waiting for the second key of chord…

I first came across the error “(Ctrl+E) was pressed. Waiting for the second key of chord…” last year, these weird errors have a tendency to come at the worst times. The first time it happened I was presenting the first of two of my sessions at a User Group meeting in Luxembourg. The attendees were treated to my confused face. It’s one thing to have a query fail in a spectacular fashion, but for it not to execute at all because the traditional keyboard shortcut for execution wasn’t working is quite another. Especially in front of an audience who don’t share the same first language.

The quick work around for me was that F5 was still working so I could highlight the block and hit F5 or hit the Execute button. The instance was a lab on a VM Workstation and rectified itself after a reboot or so I thought, until this morning. Luckily today wasn’t in public but I was still treated to the same problem.



Now as an error message and someone who used to play a musical instrument I found it really weird. To be fair I used to play the trumpet and you could only play one note at a time (at least audible to the human ear) and not a chord. My understanding was a chord should always belong to one key, technically enharmonically it could be two but that would just be the choice of how it was named not how it sounds. Plus I had already pressed 2 keys how could if possibly waiting for the second key? It even displayed what I pressed!

To fix the issue I reset the keyboard shortcuts in SSMS. To do this what you need to do is go to Tools – Options – Expand Environment – Expand Keyboard – Click Keyboard – click Reset

You may wish to be a bit careful here if you have set up your own shortcuts, I hadn’t on this machine so just hit Reset.


From then on it seems to have fixed the issue. If you want to read more about this then have a look at this connect article – Ctrl+E not working for executing statements

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Richard Douglas

Richard Douglas is a SQL Server Professional working in the UK where he recently worked as a DBA in women's clothing, not literally he hastens to add! He is certified in SQL Server 2008, runs the Maidenhead SQL Server User Group Pass Chapter and is on the organising committee for SQL Relay. In his spare time plays the trumpet in local symphony orchestras.

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