Saturday, March 24, 2018

Getting Started with XrmToolBox

XrmToolBox is a great tool for administrators. It has lots of great features to make your life easier. For me, it was a bit intimidating getting started so let's talk about how to do it. Then I will talk about a few of my favorite tools.

Step 1: Download the tool

Download the latest version from: https://www.xrmtoolbox.com/
This will download a .zip file. Extract to anywhere convenient on your machine.

Step 2: Launch the App

Open the extracted files. It will looks something like this. Double click on the Application to launch. This does not need to be on the CRM Server or installed. Just launch.


Loading. Wait patiently.


Step 3: Install Additional Plugins

Don't be crazy we are just getting started! You can close this page.
Later you can use this step to add additional tools that are not downloaded by default. You can also launch this once in the app through Tools -> Plugin store.
But for now, just stay calm and close this window.



Step 4: Set up your Connection



Now you will link to your CRM implementation. You can store multiple connections (such as a development environment and production). Remember to test everything in a development environment. If possible, use the tool to make changes there then use a solution to move to other environments. But that's a topic for another time.

  1. Click the "Connect" Button in the top left
  2. Select "New Connection" in the new window
  3. Enter the URL for your CRM instance. If you are on-premise, then you can check off "Use your current credentials" to login with your domain login. Click "Go" to proceed.
  4. If online, then enter your username and password to login. You can also select "Save password to encrypt string in connection file" so you do not need to enter your credentials again in the future.
  5. Wait patiently.
  6. Enter a name for this connection. This should be something that will help you know which environment it connects to.
  7. You will notice the bottom of the screen updates to show the connection.
Step 5: Start working!

Now, just go to the Plugins tab and start seeing what magic you can do!



Metadata Document Generator

This is one of my favorite tools as it saves me from typing and copying things unnecessarily! It allows you to grab all of the attributes and their details from all entities in your CRM system.

To use start by selecting "Retrieve Entities and Languages" to pull in the data from your CRM system. Then select an Excel file to populate with this data (blank, everything will be overwritten). Select the entities you want to extract the data from or all entities. Finally, click "Generate Document".


The Metadata Document Generator is the tool I have used the most frequently. There are lots of other great tools to check out such as:
  • Audit Center - Allows you to modify the audit settings of fields in bulk. Good idea when you enable auditing for an entity and all fields have been automatically enabled.
  • Easy Translator - designed to help you set the field labels in other languages. Also can be used for updating the description fields (aka tool tips) in bulk. (We used this when upgrading from 2011 to 2016 because many fields had descriptions saying "Created by KK on ...")
  • User Settings Utility - update default user settings such as number of records in a view and default start page.
  • View Layout Replicator - Allows you to copy the columns plus widths from one view to another. It even allows you to copy from a personal view to a system view. This is great when creating a new entity where you want all views to be consistent but you don't want to do all the clicking multiple times. 
That's all! Try it out and see what you can do!

What are your favorite uses for XrmToolBox?

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