Navigating CRM 2011

There are some core concepts to understand about navigating Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011. If you have experience using Microsoft Office applications, you will find the interface very familiar. Here are the basic concepts:

Navigating Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

1.       Ribbon

The ribbon appears at the top of the screen and provides users with actions related to the content on the screen. It is context sensitive, meaning it only provides actions related to what you are doing. Therefore, the ribbon changes as you move through the application, and it also changes depending on what is selected.

2.       Left Navigation

Both the Outlook client and the web client use the left side of the screen for navigation. The left navigation is broken into sections, and underneath the section headings, individual areas of the application are available for selection.  What appears on the left navigation is controlled by the access levels specified under security roles, as well as the site map, both of which may be modified by the system administrator.

a.       Home Page

Since it’s a web application, the web client has the concept of a home page.  When you access Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the home page is the default location that appears.  You can also return to the home page by clicking the Home button on the left navigation.  Users can change their home page in personal options.

b.      Recently Visited

For job roles that work with a short list of records, the Recently Visited helps users short-cut to their common records and tasks.

3.       Get Started Pane

Especially helpful for new users, the getting started pane helps connect what you’re doing now with other features of the application you may need.  It also provides you with links to relevant content from the help system with features of the current view. The getting started pane is a good way for users to find out the basics of CRM and how it was intended to be used out-of-the-box. The getting started pane can be turned off for each individual user in personal options.

4.       Grid Views

Whenever you are looking at a list of data, it is always displayed it a grid view.  The grid views throughout Microsoft Dynamics CRM have common functionality, including:

  • The ability to select one or more records to complete an action
  • The ability to sort, filter, and search the data
  • The ability to analyze the data with in-line charts

Often when you are looking at a grid view in the web client, you have the option to Set As Default so when you return to that area, that view appears first.  Within the Outlook client, similar functionality is provided with the ability to pin views.

More on how to use the grid view can be found under searching CRM.

5.       Inline Charts

Though not visible by default, inline charts provide actionable information on the data you are viewing.  To see inline charts, click on the charts title bar on the far right.  Charts are interactive; for instance, you can drill down into a chart to filter the data in the grid view.

Learn more about building and using inline charts.