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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Dynamics 365 CRM Usability Tips

Posted by Robert Wenstrand

After using an application such as Dynamics 365 for Sales (CRM) for many months or years, sometimes we as users get stuck in a rut. We might feel like we have fully mastered an application and have nothing left to learn. In that vein, let me drop a few bits of CRM knowledge your way to see if I can help shake things up a bit and disabuse you of any feelings of mastery.

Below is a short list of features and tips that will hopefully help you be more productive in your everyday lives.

Don’t use Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer may be the default browser that is required by your corporate IT department, but it has a far slower rendering engine than other modern browsers. If you are using Internet Explorer to connect to Dynamics 365 for Sales, you are doing yourself a disservice. Dynamics 365 supports the following alternate browsers and it is highly recommended that you make use of them:

  • Google Chrome
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Firefox
  • Apple Safari

References: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/customer-engagement/admin/supported-web-browsers-and-mobile-devices

XRM Toolbox

The XRM Toolbox is a third-party tool that is chock full of useful utilities specific to managing Dynamics 365 for Sales data and customizations. Here’s just a short list of what is available:

  • Bulk Workflow Execution – Ever wanted to run a workflow on every record in the system?
  • View Layout Replicator – When you have to add a single column to multiple views to keep view consistency.
  • Attribute Manager – Modify field attributes quickly.
  • Audit History Extractor – Extract your audit data so that you can report on it in useful ways.
  • Ribbon Workbench – Modify the navigation within your CRM. Add buttons, drop-down menus and more.
  • Dynamics 365 V9 Validation – Are you using a lot of JavaScript in your CRM implementation? This will highlight all of the JavaScript methods in your current implementation that have been replaced with new functionality within Version 9 and will eventually be deprecated.

Screenshot of XRM ToolBox from MscrmTools

Screenshot of Xrm ToolBox Plugins Store

Editable Grids

I’m sure many of you already know that with the release of Dynamics 365 CRM, Microsoft released an editable grid solution. This allows you to easily modify data in a table of records in an Excel-like interface. If you aren’t familiar with this functionality and are a system customizer or administrator, you can enable this feature for yourself and users quickly and easily:

  1. Navigate to Settings->Customizations->Customize the System or Settings->Customizations->Solutions (and select a solution with the entity you would like to add grids to)
  2. Select the Entity you want to add editable grids to and click on the Controls tab.
    Settings for editable grids in Dynamics 365 CRM
  3. Click “Add Control…” and select Editable Grid. Select the default control you would like your users to see first (Read-only Grid or Editable Grid).
  4. Save the entity and then publish.
    How to save and publish editable grids in Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM
  5. You should now be able to go the entity list and the editable grid control should now be accessible.

Organization Insights

Organization Insights is a tool that allows you to see the technical details about your CRM implementation. You can see what entities within the system are using the most space. It will show you a list of workflow or other processes that may be failing on a regular basis. In all it’s an incredibly useful dashboard that is provided free of charge by Microsoft…assuming you know how to add it to your CRM environment. Here’s how:

  1. Navigate Settings->Administration->System Settings.
  2. Click on the Previews tab, check the “I have read and agree to the license terms” box and click Yes to the “Enable Organization Insights Preview” radio button. Click OK.
    Enabling Organizational Insights in Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM
  3. Navigate with your browser to: https://appsource.microsoft.com/en-us/product/dynamics-365/mscrm.04931187-431c-415d-8777-f7f482ba8095?tab=Overview
  4. Click the Get It Now button on the left side and log into CRM. It will prompt you to select which instance you would like to install it to. Select the appropriate instance and click Agree. This will add Organization Insights to your CRM instance (this may take several minutes).
  5. Once installed, refresh your browser and navigate to Settings->Organization Insights.

 

Set unused fields to not be searchable

Dynamics 365 for Sales has a lot of OOB (out of box) fields that simply won’t be used by your organization. Many CRM administrators remove these fields from forms and views but forget to make them “unsearchable,” which allows you to see and select these fields in Advanced Find, Data Import Wizard and other areas. It’s easy to make these fields unsearchable. Here’s how:

  1. Navigate to a solution or the default solution: Navigate to Settings->Customizations->Customize the System or Settings->Customizations->Solutions (and select a solution with the entity you would like adjust)
  2. Expand an entity and select fields. Double click the field you want to hide and change Searchable to No. Save and publish the entity. The field should no longer show up in places like Advanced Find.

Setting fields to not be searchable in Dynamics 365 CRM

This can be a time-consuming process. To do it more quickly and easily, utilize the XRM Toolbox Attribute Manager tool.

Robert Wenstrand

LinkedIn 

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