Working with Records

Records in Microsoft Dynamics 365 are always displayed in a grid view. Similar to Microsoft Excel, records can be sorted, filtered, and searched easily in a grid view.

When you select a record type from the top navigation bar, the list of records that appear are those in your “default view”.  A system customizer can set a default view for all users, but users can chose to make any view their own default.

Jump to the following sections to learn more about working with records in Dynamics 365:

Viewing Records

View in Dynamics 365 consists of a query of records (a specification of how the records should be filtered) and a layout (a specification of the order of the columns, width of the columns and sorting of the columns).

There are two types of views—system views and personal views.  System views are either out-of-the-box or created by a system customizer.  Personal views are most often created by you, but they may be created by other users and shared with you. For more information on how to create personal views, see Advanced Find.

View this image of Account Views in CRM 2011

Whether a personal or system view, the columns that appear, the order of the columns, the width of the columns, and sort of the records are all controlled by the specifications of the view.  Users with access to modify system views may change them.  The users who own the personal views controls who has access to see and modify them.

Changing Views

To change the view you are seeing, use the selector at the top of the screen, drop down the list of views to select a new view.

Setting Default View

While looking at a specific view, you may set the view as your default view by click the pin icon to the left of the view name.  Next time you access this record-type, the default view will come up.  You can change the default view as often as necessary.

Sorting Records

While looking at the grid view, records can be sorted easily by selecting a column heading.  Clicking the column heading toggles between sorting the column ascending and descending.  In addition, you can hold down the <SHIFT> button and select multiple columns to sort by more than one column.

Creating Records

You can create records from many areas through-out the application, but these are the most common ways to create records.

  1. From a view, click New in the command bar
  2. From the top navigation bar, using Quick Create
  3. From within a record, select New on the command bar
  4. From a sub-grid, clicking +
  5. From Outlook click New Items

You can also create records in numerous other ways such as converting to a record from an email, campaign response, phone call or lead; creating a record in Outlook and synchronizing; importing; or through integrations.

Editing Records

Before Dynamics 365 users couldn’t update data directly in grids or sub-grids on forms, but had to open the record and edit the data then save. System Administrators can enable in-line editing by setting up the Editable Grids custom control for an entity. Now users can choose Show-As in the command bar to change the view to Editable Grid and can edit most types of fields including basic Lookup fields and option sets.

Opening Records

From a read-only grid view double click on the record OR click once on the hyperlink.  You can open records wherever you see a hyperlink to the record such as on related grid views and lookup fields on forms. From an editable grid view you can double click on the record or click the blue arrow.

Working with Forms

The December 2012 Service Update introduced a new type of form in CRM. After the update, there were two types of forms in CRM 2011: updated forms and classic forms. Since CRM 2013 all of the forms are the new updated forms that have business process flows and business rule capabilities. Leads, Opportunities and Cases come with the business process flow on the top of the form. Business process flows can be customized or turned off. You can also create new business process flows for the out-of-the-box entities or custom entities.

View a classic form in CRM 2011

There are several types of forms in Microsoft Dynamics 365, and you can have multiple versions of each type to tailor forms for different needs.

  • Main Form: These are the forms used in the web application, Dynamics 365 for Outlook, and Dynamics 365 for Tablets. They provide the main interface for interacting with entity data. You can control who has access to main forms by assigning security roles to the form making it available to users with that security role assigned to them.
  • Mobile – Express: A form that is optimized for use with a phone. CRM for phones express is the previous version of the phone app for Microsoft Dynamics 365.
  • Quick View Form: These forms appear within a main form to display read-only data from a related record so users don’t have to navigate to a different record to see information they need to do their work.
  • Quick Create Form: Simplified forms used to streamline the creation of new records by using the Quick Create feature from the navigation bar or from within lookup or sub-grid.
  • Card Form: A form used to present entity data in a stream on interactive dashboards.
  • Main Form – Interactive Experience: Forms specifically designed for use in the interactive service hub

Parts of a Form

Forms have 3 different layers.

  1. Tabs: the highest level layer, and are expandable and collapsible.
  2. Sections: the second layer, and are groupings of fields.
  3. Fields: there are many different fields types, and fields are where you enter data.

Data Entry

Data entry in Microsoft Dynamics 365 is similar to other web applications.  Forms are laid out in sections, and within sections, fields are laid out in columns.  When you tab through the fields, you tab down the column, and if there are multiple columns, down the subsequent columns.  Therefore, the following common keystrokes will help users with data entry.

  • Tab moves to the next field or element on the page
  • Shift tab moves backward
  • Spacebar drops down a pick list (optionset)
  • Enter opens the record in a lookup.  Otherwise, it does nothing.

Related Records

Anything that is related to the record with a many-to-one relationship will appear as a lookup on the form.  For example, each contact (many) may have a lookup for parent account (one).  However, anything that is related to the record as a one-to-many relationship appears in a sub-grid on the form, and under the record menu on the navigation bar.  For example, each account (one) may have one or more contacts (many) shown on the account form.





The most common related records you will see Dynamics 365 are activities.  Activities can be related to any record type (leads, accounts, contacts, etc.), including custom entities.  But some unique things happen with activities on the built-in entities that do not occur with custom entities.  Activities related to Opportunity, for example, will show on the Contact or Account related to the Opportunity.  The same thing is true with a Case or other out-of-the-box records.  This function is hard-coded and can’t be replicated when you create a custom entity.

[callout align=”center” width=”90%”]Tip! PowerOneView is designed to roll up all activities and other record types (opportunities, cases, etc.) related to an individual record.  It is most useful on the account or contact where you want to get the 360 degree view of everything that is happening in a single glance. [/callout]

Assigning Records

Assigning records is the act of changing the owner of the record.  Depending on security settings, assigning records may impact who can view or edit the record.  In order to assign records to a new owner, you can either

  1. Change the Owner on the record on the form.
  2. Click Assign on the Command Bar while viewing a record.
  3. Select one or more records from a grid view, and on the Command bar, click Assign.

Assigning records can also trigger workflows, such as a notification that a record has been assigned to you.

View how to Assign and Share in CRM 2011

Sharing Records

When security settings prevent some users from seeing or editing all records in the Dynamics 365, it may be necessary to share records that require collaboration across teams.  When sharing, you can share the view, edit, assign, or delete rights as long as you have them yourself.  In order to share records,

  1. While viewing the record or while selecting one or more records on the grid view, click Share under the ellipsis on the Command Bar.
  2. Individually select the rights that the users will have to the shared records OR select Toggle on the left to toggle on/off all rights.
  3. Click Share.

The individuals who have rights to see the record are not visible on the record.  In order to see them, you must click Share again on the Command Bar.  From there, you may add or remove rights.

Removing Records

If you want to remove records, you would most likely deactivate them.  It is very uncommon to delete records, and should only be done by system administrators who are testing.  You can also run the Bulk Delete function to purge old records.

View how to deactivate and delete in CRM 2011

Rather than deleting, it is best to deactivate records.  This can be done from the grid or the form view by clicking Deactivate on the Command Bar.

For most companies and organizations, best practices will be to leave records active in the system unless the organization is out of business or the individual has passed away.  In doing so, it is good to mark the record status somehow using Status Reason or another field.  The reason this is best practices is because when users search, they may not find the record if it inactivated (Quick Search only searches Active records out-of-the-box).  They may then recreate the record only to have duplicate detection rules determine it is a duplicate.  This is a waste of time for the user.