Thursday, December 6, 2018

Auto Sending Emails as Another User in Dynamics 365

Workflows in Dynamics 365 can be used to send emails and even send on behalf of another user. This is used in our organization to notify teams about actions needed on their records via automatic or on-demand workflows. When you are adding this functionality, there are a few settings to keep in mind.

Setting up Workflow to Send Email

Create your workflow based on your business logic. Inside this process you can include a "Send Email" step with the details you want to be communicated. By default this would send from the workflow owner (or trigger user if run on-demand) but sometimes you want this to be from a specific user. So populate the from information with a user or dynamic reference to the user you want it sent from.

Workflow Owner Permissions

If sending from another user, the workflow owner needs to have access to Send on Behalf of another user. 

On a Security Role this is on the Business Management Tab under Miscellaneous Privileges as "Send Email as Another User". This is included in the System Administrator and System Customizer Roles by default.

Miscellaneous Privileges on Business Management Tab

Outgoing Mail Options

Now you have to make sure that these emails actually go out! If you are using CRM for Outlook, these emails will only send when Outlook is open and running. So this is a good opportunity to use Server Side Sync. You can turn this on just for Outgoing email if you are not ready to use for everything.

Personal User Settings

Last step is to ensure you have permissions to send as that user. So the user's personal settings need to be updated to allow others to send email on their behalf. This can be done with XrmToolBox using the User Settings Utility. 

  1. Launch XrmToolBox and connect to your organization
  2. Open the User Settings Utility
  3. Click "Load Users and Settings" to pull in users from your organization
    1. You can also select a view for the users to limit the list you are looking at. This can be helpful if all users for a team need to start having emails sent.
  4. Select the users you want to edit
  5. Under "Email Settings" change "Allow emails on my behalf" to "Yes"
  6. Click "Update User(s) Settings" in the tool bar

XrmToolBox User Settings Utility Settings

I hope this helps automate automate your processes!

Monday, December 3, 2018

Managing Users in Dynamics 365

In a recent CRMUGDC meeting Jim Novak talked about creating a new XrmToolBox tool to see users with a specific security role. This will be a helpful tool when it is ready for public use. In the mean time, you can also use Advanced Find for this.

Here are some tools I use to manage my user access inside of Dynamics 365.

Advanced Find for Users with a Specific Role

You can build an Advanced Find like the one below to see users with a specific Security Role. Keep in mind you cannot look for a Security Role lookup as there is a new copy of the role for each business unit. Instead you can search that the name equals the name of the role name.

In my organization, we use this method to check users with System Administrator and Customizer so we can quickly check users who have elevated access. This can be used if you have a dedicated role for other permissions such as Export to Excel. Just keep in mind that System Administrator will always have that access as well.

Advanced Find for Team Membership

I also use Advanced Find to check users in a specific team. This can be a bit faster to check than opening the team. Additionally, this allows me to view from the User list if I need to perform actions on the whole team (ex. add Security Roles).

This can be especially helpful if you also use Field Level Security. If you have FLS turned on for a specific sensitive field and have a team added to that profile, you may want to review those users quickly.


The next step can be to put these views together in a dashboard. Then in a few clicks you can quickly see all this data in one place. This also could allow you to grant non-administrator users access to see this data and provide feedback. Don't forget to share the dashboard and all the views if you are using a personal dashboard.

Report: User Summary

This report is a good tool provided out of the box. It will show you all Security Roles for users by Business Unit. This can be done for all users or for just a selected group (maybe from your Advanced Finds above!). I use this to save current state information in case it is needed later.

XrmToolBox Tools for User Management

While Jim is still finishing off his tool, there are some other tools already available that you can take a look at to see if they meet your needs.

  • Access Checker - Select the entity in question, a specific record, and the user then the tool will show you what rights that user had specifically
  • User Roles Manager - add or remove roles in bulk. This can be done for all users or based on a view. I have used this to create a view of all users with an existing role and then use the tool to replace this with a new role.
  • User Settings Utility - take a look at this tool if you need to change other non-Security Role setting such as number of records per page, Emails sent on behalf of, etc.
Those are some tools I use for managing our user access. What other methods do you use?

Monday, November 12, 2018

CMRUG Summit 2018 Takeaways

Next week, CRMUGDC is meeting for the last meeting of 2018. Part of our agenda includes sharing our top tips and takeaways from CRMUG Summit in Phoenix. This means it's about time for me to review my notes. My Summit experience is below and if you want to hear from others, then get registered for the Washington, DC CRMUG Meeting on November 14th!

Summit Phoenix was a great event! I spoke in 4 sessions and threw an awesome chapter party in partnership with Cobalt!

CRMUGDC 2018 Chapter Party in Phoenix
Now, let me share the top takeaways from these sessions I attended. There were lots of great sessions but there is limited time in the day! Be on a lookout for these sessions and more as future webinars on CRMUG.

5 Ways to use Flow to Improve Dynamics 365
Aiden Kaskela, Mallory Lawhorne

  • Demo session featuring several ways that you can start using Flow quickly. We were able to build and test these Flows in just a few minutes
  • Flow allows you to integrate multiple systems
  • This can be used to create approvals via Email. This allows non-CRM users to quickly approve items and this can be updated automatically inside CRM.
  • You can use Flow similar to a PowerApp and make available in a mobile app to create an easy way to enter data and keep working
  • You can also even schedule workflows using flows

Workflows and Business Rules vs Custom Code
Ryan Rademann, Andy Potasek

This was a great introduction to the capabilities of workflows and business rules. I really appreciated this flow chart on how to decide which method to use.

Credit: Ryan Rademann, Andy Potasek

Enterprise D365 CRM On-Prem to Online Migration Lessons Learned
Jeff Meister, Megan Gomez

  • It was very important to ensure the customer understood what it meant to move to online and what would and would not be possible
  • What to do about unsupported customizations? Ensured these items were thoroughly documented. This was an exercise in change management to see if these items were still needed or not.
  • Large deciding factor was seeing all the new features available online that were not available because they were on-premise
  • Reporting using an Azure replicated database for SSRS reports plus PowerBI

How I Spent My First Year as a New D365 Admin
Peter Gulka

  • Find resources that help you learn (such as XrmCoaches, CRM Dynamics)
  • Spent time with staff to watch them doing their work so you can effectively advocate for and support them
  • Set personal learning goals for the year to keep yourself accountable
  • Spend time learning what has been used or tried in the organization so you do not spin your wheels on things that previously failed
  • Check your attitude!
Be Sherlock Holmes Investigating Problems
Gustaf Westerlund

  • Download the slides and be on the lookout for a repeat of this presentation! This is great for anyone who works with users and troubleshoots issues.
  • "Whatever the specific issue, you must formulate it in your mind as specifically as possible - and then you must fill it in with past experience and present observation"
  • Don't start deducing until you have already gathered data. You may start going down an incorrect path.
  • Steps
    • Define problem as specifically as possible
    • Gather as much data as possible (details!)
      • Separate facts you have confirmed by things you have been told
      • "Where" (not "what") is wrong
    • Collect as much related information as you can
    • Deduce based on data
    • Be relentless
    • Take a break - get some input
    • Ask Watson for help
      • Before asking for help - ask yourself: What is the first thing an expert will ask you when they see your problem description?
    • Changing perspective

Friday, September 28, 2018

CRMUG Summit 2018: Events to Attend

CRMUG Summit is just a few weeks away. If you are not registered yet, there is still time! Register now and book your flight to Phoenix!

I love Summit because it is an amazing event full of learning. There are so many great sessions on every topic you could need to learn. Plus there are lots of networking opportunities to meet people who live near you, work in your industry or are Microsoft MVPs!

For those heading to Summit, I am going to be speaking in several sessions and involved in a few other events so make sure you plan to attend them all!

First Time Attendee Reception: If its your first time at Summit, or you just want to share your tips with newbies get registered for this Reception. I will be participating to share my tips with the group.

Session: Feeling Alone in the Desert: Basics for New Admins: Wednesday 2:30-3:30 Room 221B. This session helps new administrators learn the first steps for things like personal options, navigation and Advanced Find. 

Session: Solution Management: Your Customization's on the Move: Wednesday 3:45-4:45 Room 221B. Follow me from one session to the next to learn even more skills that are essential for administrators and customizers. We will give an overview of what a solution is and how to get started. Then we will open it up for questions from the audience. 

Session: Is My Data Secure? Wednesday 8:30-9:30 Room 221B. Join an all-star panel to learn more about data security and ask your questions!

Session: Creating an Oasis: Advanced Basics for New Admins: Thursday 2:30-3:30 Room 226A. After attending the earlier session, join us to to build on what you just learned. We will start talking about data maintenance and automation options such as Workflows.

DMV Chapter Party: All attendees from DC, Maryland, Virginia are invited to join us at a special event sponsored by Cobalt! This will be a great time to network and share your takeaways from the conference so far. Register now and block your schedule for Wednesday evening!

What are you most excited for at Summit? What sessions are you registered for?

Friday, September 14, 2018

Girl Power Playlist 2018

I am excited for two big events in the next few weeks. To help me get prepared I am working on a killer, motivational playlist! This is something I do each year but this year I wanted to share with all of you!

A bit about these events: first is D365 Saturday in DC. This is a great free event that anyone can attend to learn more about Dynamics 365. There is an all-star line up of MVP speakers and I can't believe I have the opportunity to speak alongside of them. Second, I will be speaking at CRMUG Summit in Phoenix. At Summit, this will be the first year that I am speaking in 3 sessions! Plus repeating the excitement of last year with a DMV Chapter Party. Side note: THANK YOU Cobalt for sponsoring and always supporting our chapters!

All of these things can be scary and intimidating! It's helpful to me to have a Girl Power Playlist to pump me up before these events. I need these reminders that I can do it and I am smart! Some of these songs just remind me that hard work is worth it. Others are just power house songs from (mainly) female fronted artists. Plus a few that are more faith-based and help bring calm in the storm. Then of course a little TayTay because all power playlists need some!

Enjoy my song selections below. I am fully aware of some of my embarrassing musical selections but we are not going to discuss the number of albums I have from Disney Channel stars.

How do you prep for these things? Any songs missing from my playlist?

Sunday, September 9, 2018

How To: Taking Notes at Conferences and Events

Today it is cold and rainy and I am dreaming of being at CRMUG Summit in Phoenix in just a few weeks. This makes me think of all the things I will be learning! When I first started attending conferences the amount of content was overwhelming. Then I would get back to the office and have no way to organize it in my mind or notes so everything would get lost and forgotten in the shuffle.

So here are my steps for taking successful notes:

Find the Right Tool

I like to use OneNote for taking notes because I can easily sync this between my devices. I can have my Surface at the event and then when I login at work I can quickly find and search for things quickly.

I am the type of person who needs to write things down to remember them. So I prefer to take handwritten notes and lock things in my mind. However, I realized that doing this at a big event means you leave with a notebook full of content that is difficult to search and share. The benefit of typing outweighs my desire to hand write everything because if I can't remember I can search for it!

Another cool tool to look at it Microsoft Lens. This is a phone app that lets you take better pictures of presentations. I use this if there is a particular slide I want to remember or share on social media.

Download the Presentation in Advance

When I am listening to a presentation I want to remember everything! I don't always have time to pick and choose what I think will be valuable in my life. To save some time, I try to download the presentation before the session begins. At Summit, I will usually be online and finding the session right before the session starts or during the introduction.

I will download the PowerPoint then copy the slides into my OneNote. You can do this by selecting all the slides (in the left slide navigation area) and then just pasting in to OneNote. If the presenter uses a PDF instead you can use the PDF Printing to print to OneNote to achieve the same effect.

Once the slides are in my OneNote, I will type any additional notes right beside the slide. This helps get my focus off of just writing down everything I see and actually start listening so I can ask valuable questions.

If the slides are not available before the presentation, then I still try to write as much down as I can. Even if the presenter plans to upload the slides, it is very possible that I will forget to download and save them.

Take Time to Review

Finally, make sure you plan time to review these notes. As the sessions are going on, if I see something particularly interesting I will highlight it and/or include extra notes for how this could apply in my organization. After the session, I like to read through all the notes to highlight my top takeaways. This helps secure the general information in my mind and can help me quickly find the big items later. 

I hope this helps as you prepare for D365 Saturday DC and CRMUG Summit! What additional note taking tips am I missing?

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Workflows: Keeping Track of Your Processes

This post on CRMUG inspired me to document how we manage Workflow documention in our organization. This is still a manual process and needs to be a priority to keep everything up to date. When first starting the documentation process, it can take a good amount of time to build up the documentation for your existing processes. Then you can plan documentation up-keep into your release processes.

Keep in mind, there is also a description field and notes capabilities on the Process entity. So it is wise to keep at least high-level details of your processes here. Then you can view everything right in CRM without needing too must supplemental documentation.

Advanced Find
We start by creating an Advanced Find of all Activated Processes. You can edit the columns of this view to add the trigger information, primary entity and scope. This is a great start for your documentation. It allows you to review the details and sort/filter to look for issues. For example, you could look for all processes that run on create of the same entity.

Export this find to keep outside of CRM. You can add additional columns to your Excel version to track additional details like parent workflows that call the child workflows or more description information.

On each release, use your saved view for workflows modified since your last review.

Steps to build your Advanced Find:
  1. Go to Advanced Find
  2. Navigate to Look For: Processes, Use Saved View: Activated Processes
  3. Click on “Edit Columns” 
  4. Click “Add Columns”
  5. Select additional columns and click OK. Suggested columns: Primary entity, Business Process Type, Delete Job on Completion, Description (if you are capturing when process is created), Is Child Process, Run as On Demand, Run as User, Scope, Trigger on Create, Trigger on Delete, Trigger on Update Attribute list (lists out all the attributes where the workflow is watching for modifications)
  6. Click “Results”
  7. Export list and review in Excel

Flow Charts
In addition to the Excel documentation, we keep more detailed Flow Charts for complex workflows. These are built in Visio to show all the logic in these workflows. In a perfect world, this documentation would be written prior to the workflow. This gives you a tool for the business to approve and also tracking for your documentation. 

Another internal CRM feature that can assist with processes is Auditing. You can turn on Auditing for the process entity and any fields within it just like any other entity. This gives you a way to review recent changes to the process. We turn this on for scope, owner, activation status, etc. This allows us to check when was this workflow turned on, did it start running as someone else and such.

That's it! What other tips do you have for keeping track of your processes?

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

DMV Upcoming Events

If you were not at the Q3 Regional Chapter Meeting for DC, Reston, VA and Richmond, VA chapters then you really missed out! This was a great event with amazing presenters and even a wine tasting. Check out this blog for all the details and reference information.

Now that you know the awesome our Microsoft Dynamics 365 community is, you can get registered for our upcoming events!

D365 Saturday - This event will feature a hackathon on Friday and a full-day of content on Saturday. The agenda is jam packed with great speakers on multiple tracks of learning.

Summit Chapter Party in Phoenix - For CRMUG Summit attendees from the DMV we are having a chapter party. Join us after the sessions end for the day for dinner and drinks. Cobalt is sponsoring the event and continues to be a big supporter of our chapter! (THANK YOU!) Keep an eye on the CRMUGDC Chapter Community for details!

Q4 Chapter Meeting - Back to our regularly scheduled programming, we will have a meeting on November 14th. This will be a great event to share your takeaways from CRMUG Summit and network with your peers.

DC Dynamics 365 Devs Meetup - Also keep an eye on this meetup for their monthly events on a variety of developer topics.

Lots of events in the DC area to keep you busy and learning. Save the date today!

Friday, June 22, 2018

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Upgrade from 8.1 to 8.2.2

Recently my organization upgraded our 8.1 on-premise instance of Dynamics 365/CRM to version 8.2.2. This went very successfully and we had no major issues when testing or on go-live. The front-end changes are minimal so users were able to use the new version without needing re-training.

However, there were a few things that popped up and surprised us post upgrade:

  • Call Direction: There is a slight change to the out-of-the-box logic when changing the "Direction" on a Phone Call. We have some custom scripting that sets the "Attendees" field. Since this field had 2 Attendees populated, when you change the Direction from Outgoing to Incoming it presents a warning message. If you proceed, then it will update both the Sender and Attendees field.
    • Takeaway: be sure to test minor features when you upgrade such as changing the direction of a call.
    • Resolution: We found that the message only occurs when clicking the OOB field (not when changing through workflows or business rules). So we created a custom "Direction" field then used a Business Rule to set and hide the OOB field as the Custom field changed.

  • Advanced Find Column Focus: We love Advanced Find! So we have lots of views with lots of columns. On version 8.1, if you scrolled right in a view and then selected a line item, the view automatically scrolled to the far left (1st column). On version 8.2.2, we noticed that on some views it was scrolling to the right instead. Turns out it was scrolling to the Primary Field for that entity. 
    • Resolution: The solution was to move the Primary Field to the left so users did not notice the change in behavior. This example was on the Opportunity entity where we had the "Topic" field further to the right so when a user viewed their opportunity and tried to select one it was "jumping". Problem solved with some simple System View updates!

  • Workflow Ownership: When we first upgraded to 2016 (8.1 from 2011) we loved the new feature that you could import workflows without reassigning to yourself then back to your system user account. However, after upgrading to 8.2.2 this appears to not be working exactly as advertised. When importing an existing workflow assigned to another user, the import proceeds successfully. Workflow remains active and assigned to that user. However future system jobs are assigned to the importing user (as if they were the workflow owner). 
    • Resolution: To fix you will need to reassign those workflows back to the owner you want.
    • I have seen this community post for a similar issue but I do not see any Microsoft fixes yet.

  • OOB Business Process Flows and Business Rules: There are some new Business Process Flows and Business Rules added. If you are not using these, make sure you disable. I did notice that the Business Process Flows were active but did not have an Active Process ID. I suspect (but have not confirmed) that they have dependencies to other OOB Process Flows that we had already deleted. So remember to check all the Active processes and see what you actually want to use.
    • Resolution: Review and deactivate as necessary.

  • Split Server Roles: The last gotcha in our upgrade is a bit past my technical depth but the synopsis is that we have multiple front and back end web servers. So this means that our upgrade is a two-step process. Once the upgrade is done to all of the servers you additionally need to upgrade the database.
    • Identification: In CRM, go to Options > About to see the version. If the versions do not match then this could be the cause.
    • Resolution: Open the Deployment Manager and see "Update Available". Perform this update.
    • Takeaway: Ensure your server architecture is documented so you can identify where issues like this could exist (example your Development instance might all be on one server but production is broken out).

As I said, most of our upgrade went very smoothly. These issues were mainly invisible to the end users and we were able to resolve quickly.

Has anyone else done a similar upgrade? Have you seen the same issues? Or different ones I should be on the lookout for?

Monday, May 21, 2018

Microsoft Dynamics 365: How to Set Up Your Free Trial

As you get ready for UG Focus this week you should set up your CRM Trial. This is a great way to play with the new tools and features you are learning. However it can be a little bit confusing when you first create a trial so let's walk through it step by step.

Where to Go
Start at the Dynamics Trial Site. This has you put in your email to get started. If you do not have a "work email" (it will stop you if you try to use @gmail) there is a separate Developer Trial Site. This will not validate the email so it is very helpful if you do not have a work email currently or if your work already uses Office 365 / Dynamics Online.

Fill in your details and click next. You can use whatever Organization Name you like just don't go too crazy as this will be part of your CRM URL.

You will have to include a real phone number to verify your account before it's created.

Save This Info
As your trial is created it will take you to a page of information to save. This includes the Office Portal Link and the username you just created (also don't forget your password!). I would also recommend you save the actual address of the trial site once this is created. It is much easier to go right there and login then navigate through Office 365.

Record your details and then click Set up.

Important Details

I Want it All!
Choose which pieces you want to include in your trail. You can pick all or nothing or anything in between.

Almost there
Choose your options. Click "Complete Set up" and wait patiently.

You did it!
Now you are in your trial! This includes any modules you requested and even sample data to play with. Save this URL for future use, it should look something like this: https://<YourOrgName> (at least as of May 2018).

You can navigate to this link directly and login with your credentials or access through Office 365.

Ready to use!

Opening From Office 365
If you lose your direct link or want to look at some of the administration features in Office 365, here is how you do it:

  1. login at (Remember from the information to remember page)
  2. This will show you the list of apps you have, click on "Dynamics 365"
  3. Be confused for a moment because you are not yet in your trial. Do not click "Take a Quick Tour" even though it is tempting, front-and-center box.
  4. Click on one of the Apps listed (see screenshot)
  5. You are in your trial!

Click on one of "Your Apps" to access the Trial

Adding Additional Users
Add Users
More than one person can use your trial. If you are not used to using CRM Online, it might surprise you to know that users need to be created from Office 365 not inside of CRM. To do that:

  1. Navigate to and login (or go back to that tab from our last adventure)
  2. Select the "Admin" app
  3. Under the Active Users area select "Add a User"
  4. Enter in the user details and choose which licenses you want them to have (i.e. Make sure "Dynamics 365" is turned on so they can login to your trial)
  5. Send out the username and password you created to your new users!

I hope this helps! Good luck on your Dynamics 365 journey!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Workflows: Panel Discussion Series

Next week, I will be presenting at CRMUG Focus in Indianapolis on Workflows! To get prepared for this I have been reviewing the webinar Panel Discussion Series: Getting Started with Workflows. This was a great session where Malcolm McAuley hosted with a panel of  Abraham Saldana, Gus Gonzalez, and myself. This is a quick session of the best tips when getting starting creating workflows.

The session started with each panelist sharing their top tips. Abe discussed the importance of using synchronous workflows, only make a workflow Real-time if absolutely necessary. I talked about the need to map out all your logic first and test your workflows in a development environment (or if necessary using User Scope or run on demand). Gus shared the importance of using child workflows as well as how you should always start with a check condition (even when you think you don't need one).

The topic of Child Workflows came up several times on the workflow. Some of the benefits are:

  • Break up large workflows into manageable chunks
  • If the workflow needs to be edited, you can deactivate the child to make the edits and the parent will still fire. The parent will wait for the child to be active and then keep running. If this was just one workflow, anything that should have triggered the workflow would not while it was inactive.
  • If there is a wait in your workflow, you want to separate the logic after the wait into a child so that you can always use the most recent logic. (See more on this in my Workflow Settings blog)
Malcom asked the group what was one of the first "gotchas" when working with workflows. Both Gus and Abe mentioned previous limitations with performance and issues with real time workflows (reminder: use only when necessary). Additionally Abe talked about being careful with Wait conditions in your workflows and being aware of other options outside of workflows. I also mentioned the need to review your security. Don't just trust out of the box security roles! Some people may have access to create workflows that you would prefer did not.

We also spent some time discussing workflow documentation. Each of us use different tools (Excel, Visio, OneNote) to capture the details. The theme was to make documentation a priority and if possible, start at the beginning. Create your documentation when you start then you can just add to it instead of needing large-scale documentation efforts.

I would also recommend using Advanced Find to review your processes. This allows you to pull in details like if it runs on demand, on create, trigger fields, etc. This is a good place to start with your documentation. Then you can also navigate to specific fields and "Show Dependencies" to see which workflows they are included in. I use this when changing the Display Name for a field, then you can see which workflows might need updated wording too.

Finally, Gus mentioned how extensible workflows are. There are Actions which can be built once and available to use with any entity and there are Custom Workflows. There are several Custom Workflow solutions available for free (Ultimate Workflow Toolkit, Workflow Elements) or, like Abe, you can write your own and use on future projects.

Workflows are a very powerful tool and can greatly streamline your system! Just be careful and learn from these tips so you can build the best processes possible.

How do you use workflow? Any other tips to share?

If you liked these tips make sure you watch the full recording and check out the other Webinar Recordings on CRMUG!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Tools: Level Up Extension

Accessing Level Up
I don't want to spoil the upcoming Panel Discussion Series: What's your Favorite Tool (or if you missed it look at Webinar Recordings) but I want to talk a bit about the Level Up Chrome Extension!

How to Install

Menu when on a List view
Open up Chrome and go to the Level Up Chrome Extension. Add to Chrome.

How to Use

Now whenever you are using CRM, you will see a little rocket light up on your tool bar ribbon. Click this to expand and see all the things you can do. You will notice that the features available are different when you are in a list of records versus within a particular record. I will talk about a few of my favorite features.

God Mode

God Mode allows you to bypass any requirements of the form. It will set all fields to not-required and make all read-only fields editable. This allows you to do some data changes that you might want to prevent users from doing.

Note: There is nothing about this tool that is restricted to administrators. So this is something you do not want to share with your users because it gives them way more power than is necessary.
Menu when on a record

Show Logical Names

When looking at a particular record, you can click "Logical Names". This will show the schema name next to the field on the form. This allows you to quickly grab this data or grab a screenshot of the section you are working with.

I find this particularly helpful when working with our developers or data team. They know where they see the field but need to know how to find it in the database and I can provide this data in just a few clicks.

When done, you can click "Clear Logical Names" and get back to working.
Show Logical Names

Show Option Set Values

Similarly to viewing the Logical Names, you can view the "Show Optionset Values". This will show all drop downs with their numeric value next to the text label. This is super helpful to grab these values quickly instead of clicking through each one in the field properties.
Show Option Set Values

In addition to these features you can do things like grabbing the link to a record or copying the GUID of the record. Lots of great time saving items.

Have you used Level Up in your implementation? What's your favorite feature?

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Advanced Find Tip: Using the Wildcard

Hopefully you are already aware of the power of using the wildcard in Dynamics 365 searches. This allows you to use a * to represent any number of characters. So if you do not know what a name starts with you could search for "*smith" and get results for all records that contain "smith" not just start with it. Similar to a "contains" search in Advanced Find. 

However, you may have turned on Full Text searching. When using Full Text Searching, all of your searches are like wildcard searches (but a bit better) so you can quickly forget about the power of the wildcard.

But wait - you can use the wildcard in Advanced Find! Of course, you would not want to use it in the case above ("*smith") because you could use a contains search. Think of instead an example where you knew some of the characters at the beginning (but not the first characters) and some towards the end. How could you accomplish this in Advanced Find?

I used this recently when searching for Notes. The Notes in question contained a timestamp in the format of 00:00:00 which was different from other notes (that I wanted to exclude) with a format of 00:00. I wanted to return the Notes that had included the seconds value in the Note title.

To find this I can search for Notes where the Title contains "*:*:*"! This found the notes I was looking for perfectly!

Also Pro Tip: Try to narrow down your Advanced Finds as much as possible especially when dealing with entities with a large volume of records. In this case, I knew the notes I was looking for were all created after a certain date so I could use that to shrink the universe of records I was searching before heading to the results.

How do you use the *Wildcard*?

Monday, May 14, 2018

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Solutions: Intro and Panel Discussion

If you missed this webinar a few weeks ago it is time to watch the recording!

CRM Solution Management Introduction and Panel Discussion

In this 1 hour webinar Patrick Wright (Richmond, VA Chapter Leader), Todd Mercer (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Chapter Leader), Aiden Kaskela (Reston, VA Chapter Leader and MVP) and myself (Washington, DC Chapter Leader) talk about everything you need to know to get started with solutions.

Patrick kicks us off explaining what a solution is and a bit about the difference between managed and unmanaged.

Then I explain what you can add to a solution and how to do that.

Todd educates us on change management and the steps to export your solution from one environment and import it into another.

Finally, Aiden goes deeper into the Managed vs Unmanaged discussion and provides some scenarios to consider.

We spent the rest of the time answer questions from the audience and sharing our tips. I hope this is beneficial for you. What other solution questions do you still have?

Friday, May 11, 2018

Upcoming events for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Users in Washington, DC

It's time to talk more about the awesome Microsoft Dynamics CRM Community in the Washington, DC area! There are several great chapters in the DMV and there are great meetings coming up next week.

The week after is CRMUG Focus in Indianapolis! If you plan to attend, we will also have a dinner meetup to network with other local attendees.  

Learn more and RSVP here: DMV Chapter Focus Meetup 

To make Focus even more exciting, several of your DMV Chapter leadership teams will be presenting, make sure to add these sessions to your schedule: 

  • Wednesday May 23 8:30 AM – Workflows: Flexing your Administrator Muscles! - Kylie Kiser, DC Chapter Leader 
  • Thursday May 24 3:00 PM – Building Dynamics 365 Bots with Azure Bot Framework and LUIS – Michael Ochs, DC Chapter Team; Aiden Kaskela, Reston Chapter Team  

Then later on in the summer we will be having a Summer Social at a National's baseball game. Details are still being finalized, so register and watch the community for updates: CRMUG Washington DC Summer Social 

Finally, we are also having a Regional Chapter Meeting in August. This will have attendees from the DC, Reston and Richmond chapters. The full day event will feature many great speakers and great networking. Save the Date for August 15!

I hope to see you at some of these events!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Rule Steps

Business Rules in Microsoft Dynamics 365 are a very powerful tool. They allow administrators to create the effects of form scripting without needing to know JavaScript (or as it is usually in my case, educated copy and paste :) ). So let's talk about what can be done with Business Rules.

Getting Started

Business Rules are created within a particular entity or can be done from within the form. When creating you can choose the scope of the business rule to be: Entity, All forms, or a specific form. Entity means this rule will be applied from all data entry points (forms, imports, API, etc.). All forms will mean that whenever data entry is occurring from the form these rules will be applied. If you choose a specific form then the rule will only apply when that form is used.


Here are the steps that can be done via Business Rules:

  • Condition: If statement. Allows you to specify when the next actions should occur. You can have multiple conditions one after each other but you cannot put a condition after another type of step.
  • Recommendation: New in 8.2 and example to follow. This allows you to notify users of a recommended change. It does not force them to make the change but shows the expected change and can apply it for the user.
  • Show Error Message: Present an error message to the user. While error message is onscreen the user cannot save changes. So make sure this message explains what to do to fix.
  • Set Default Value: Set the value for any field from that entity. Change is made on-screen for the user. This can be set to a specific value or to the value of another field.
  • Set Field Value: Set the value for any field from that entity. Change is made on-screen for the user. This can be set to a specific value or to the value of another field or the field value can be cleared. So that is similar to Set Default Value and the difference depends on when you expect this action to occur (see this blog from PowerObjects to clarify).
  • Set Visibility: Show or hide fields on the screen. If you hide all fields in a section, the whole section will be hidden.
  • Lock/Unlock: Set fields to read-only or back to editable.
  • Set Business Required: Change field requirement level between Business Required and Not Required. Great to use when you want to make sure fields are required based on a specific type or category.

The Recommendation functionality is very interesting as it allows you to encourage the users to do something without forcing the change. So exceptions can still be allowed.

In your business rule you will choose the Condition when this recommendation will apply as well as the message details to display to the user and the change you want to occur.


Then when that condition is met an idea icon shows up next to the field the Recommendation is on.

If users click this icon, they will see your defined message.

Then they can choose to "Apply" your recommendation and make the change automatically. Or they can click "Dismiss" to ignore your suggestions.

This Recommendation functionality has lots of potential uses and can be used in combination with other Business Rule steps.

How do you use Business Rules? Any cool solutions?