Navigating the CRM Outlook Client

Navigating the CRM Outlook Client

Dynamics 365 for Outlook—is deprecated with the July 2017 update for Dynamics 365 (online) and will be removed in a future major release. The information on this page is provided for reference for older versions of CRM and On-Premise deployments.

The Outlook Client has a slightly different interface, look and feel than using CRM through a web browser. In this section, you’ll learn some tips for navigating the Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Outlook client.

Areas of  Dynamics 365 for Outlook

There are different areas of Dynamics 365 within Outlook.

  1. You will see a CRM tab above the ribbon. This area allows you to create records, go offline or use the advanced find feature.
  2. The Quick Access Bar is located directly above your inbox and favorites. You can modify what is shown here. This allows you to quickly create records or search.
  3. There will be a set of Dynamics 365 folders that are added below your usual Outlook folders. You can either click on or expand these folders and this will take you to the Dynamics 365 database.


In order to review the layout of Dynamics 365 for Outlook, navigate to the account section of CRM within Outlook. Expand Workplace, expand Customers and then click on Accounts.



A. Ribbon. The ribbon displays different options based on context. The ribbon in Outlook is just like the ribbon that is available when using the internet browser version of Dynamics 365. It allows you to do things such as create, deactivate, close, assign, share and run reports or advanced finds.

B. View Tabs. Views are filters on data you want to see. The view tab defines what appears in the list area below. You can add view tabs and pin them so they are always available.

C. Navigation Pane. This allows you to access the different modules and record types.


D. Quick Find: You can enter search terms here to locate specific records within the active view.

E. Filter: You can enter specific criteria to further refine what you see in the List area.

G. List: List of records based on what view you’re in and what search criteria you’ve defined in your Quick Find and Filter.

F. Reading Pane: The details of the selected record appear here. This is a quick way to view the content of a record you have selected. This is a read only view so if you need to edit a field you still need to open the record. You should see the Reading Pane section in this chapter to learn more.


Pin Views

Use the Pin View feature to consistently access the views important to you. If you pin a View then that View will automatically be open the next time you leave and come back to this section.


Recently Viewed Items

By using the Recently Visited functionality you can quickly navigate to recently opened records. This is a good way to save time and minimize clicks.

  1. On the left navigation bar, Right Click on the record type that you want to view. In this example you want to see recently viewed Accounts, so you would right click on Accounts. A new window will pop open.
  2. At the bottom of the list of options, click Recently Visited.


Conditional Formatting

Conditional formatting is only available in the Outlook 2010 and 2013 clients. It allows you to highlight records or change the font of records based on criteria important to your organization. These views can be saved and shared with other users. The example below will show you how to create conditional formatting for the Open Opportunities view, and will highlight high those with Estimated Revenue. See the screen shot below for an example of the final outcome


  1. Using the left Navigation Bar, navigate to the opportunities section. Open the Open Opportunities view. This view will show all open Opportunities.

2. Above the ribbon, click the View tab.


3. On the far left of the ribbon, in the Current View group, click View Settings. A window called Advanced View Settings will open.

4. In the Advanced View Settings dialog box, click Conditional Formatting, and another window will open.


5. In the Conditional Formatting dialog box, click Add.

6. In the Name field, enter a name for the conditional formatting rule. We will name with “High Est. Rev”

7. To configure the formatting, click Font.


8. In the Font dialog box you can change the font type, font style, font size and font color. The options to strikeout or underline records is also available. For this example we will:

  1. Make the font style bold.
  2. Select the color green.

When you are satisfied with your font, click OK. After you click OK it will bring you back to the Conditional Formatting dialog box.


9. To configure the rule for which opportunities have the formatting applied, within the Conditional Formatting dialog box, click Condition. This will open the Filter dialog box.

10. In the Filter dialog box:

  1. Click the Advanced tab.
  2. On the Advanced page click Field, and this will open to more options.


C. Then click User-defined fields in folder. This will open another window where you can select which field you want to use for your rule.


D. In the list, click Est. Revenue {number}. Once you click this it will bring you back to the Filter dialog box.


E. In the Condition list, click is more than.

F. In the Value box, enter 100,000.00. This will bold and make the font green for all open opportunities with an Est. Revenue of more than $100,000.00. You can enter whatever revenue number makes sense for your business.

G. Click Add to List. Now this rule will be added to your criteria.


H. When you satisfied with your criteria, on the Filter dialog box, Click OK. This will bring you back to the Conditional Formatting dialog box.

I. On the Conditional Formatting dialog box, click OK. This will bring you back to the Advanced View Settings dialog box. Again, click OK.


Add Columns to a View

Columns can be easily added to a view without going to advanced find.


  1. On the tabs above the ribbon, click View. This will change the options that are available on the ribbon.
  2. Click the Add Columns button. This will open a new window, the Show Columns dialog box.
  3. Under Select available columns from field, change it to the User-defined fields in folder option.
  4. From here select the field you want to add as a column, and click the Add -> button in the middle of the dialog box.
  5. To the right of the Add -> button you can change the order of the columns by selected the field you want to move and using the Move Up and Move Down buttons.
  6. When you are satisfied with your new columns and the order, click the OK button. Users can save the view so they can pull the newly added values in the future.



Grouped Views

Right clicking on the column header allows you to group by the chosen field. This view can be saved for future reference.


To group a field, within that view right click on that column title. On the option list that pops open click Group By This Field. In this example you will group the Open Opportunities by Est. Close Date.


Below you can see that the records have been grouped by Est. Close Date.




The ribbon is also known as the top tool bar. This ribbon consists of tabs, sections and buttons. The tabs change which buttons are available. The default and first tab is always the name of the entity that you are viewing; in this example it is Opportunities. The buttons are grouped into sections, within the first tab they are: Records, Actions, Collaborate, Process, Data and Help. It is here that you can do things such as:

  • Create new records
  • Close/complete records
  • Assign
  • Share
  • Run Dialogs and Workflows
  • Run Reports
  • Export To Excel
  • Advanced Finds
  • Find Help


Reading Pane

The reading pane is a read only view of the record you have selected within the view. It reveals the information of the selected record contained on its entity’s main form. The reading pane can be turned on for all records types in CRM.


You can turn the reading pane on or off, and can also change the location of the reading pane.

  1. On the ribbon, click the View tab.
  2. Click the Reading Pane button. Here you can turn it on or off, or change the location.


You can also customize the Reading Pane. You can change what sections are shown within the pane. To do this:

  1. On the ribbon, click the View tab.
  2. Click the Customize Read Pane button. This will pop open a new window.
  3. Within the Personalize Reading Pane dialog box you can add or remove sections of the entity form.


 Additional resources

(If you don’t have the CRM Outlook Client installed yet visit our blogs: Configuring Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Outlook and Maintaining the Outlook Client for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011.)