Navigating CRM for Dynamics 365

Dynamics 365 Navigation

There are some core concepts to understand about the Microsoft Dynamics 365 navigation. If you have experience using Microsoft Office applications, you will find the interface very familiar. Here are the basic concepts:

  • Navigation Bar
  • Command Bar
  • Views
  • Charts

Navigation Bar

The black band at the top of the screen is called the Navigation Bar and controls the entire navigation of Dynamics 365 and also provides a visual crumb trail for where the user is at in the application. Anywhere you see a  or > icon there are options available underneath. Depending on your deployment (online or on-premise) the navigation bar may look slightly different. Let’s look at the parts that make up the navigation bar in detail.

Online Navigation Bar
On-Premise Navigation Bar
  1. Office 365 (Online Only) – Navigate to your Office 365 applications
  2. Dynamics 365 Home Page (Online) – Go to the Dynamics 365 Home Page by clicking on the drop-down arrow. Find Apps for your organization or switch between custom-created business appsDefault Dashboard (On-Premise) – Navigate back to the default dashboard or home page for your security role by clicking on the Dynamics 365 tile. You can also set this preference in your personal options
  3. Module Selector – Choose which functional area or module you want to work with (Sales, Service, Marketing)
  4. Record Type – See which record type you are currently working with. Clicking the > icon will show you a list of the recent records of that type you have worked with.
  5. Record – See which specific instance of a record type you are working with. Clicking the > icon here will show you a list of related records
  6. Global Search Search across all record types for specific keywords
  7. Recently Viewed Items – Here you will find a list of all recent records and views that have been accessed. Pin favorite records or views for quick navigation shortcuts
  8. Quick Create – Quickly create a new record or activity from anywhere in Dynamics 365
  9. Advanced Find – Create advanced search queries of your data using the Advanced Find tool
  10. Personal Options – Settings and personal preferences
  11. Help – Search for help and training on Dynamics 365

Command Bar

Below the navigation bar, you also have local commands related to the specific area of the application you are currently viewing. This is called the Command Bar. The top 9 commands are listed on the bar (depending on screen resolution), and more commands are found by clicking the ellipses button, also known as the More Commands option, to the right.

The command bar is dynamic. It displays different commands depending on the record type being worked with, selections made in the view, and also based on a user’s security role. If a user does not have permissions for example to delete a type of record, they will not even see the delete command in the command bar.


Whenever you are looking at a list of data, it is always displayed in a grid view.  The grid views throughout Microsoft Dynamics 365 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 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.

There are two categories for views; System Views and Personal Views. System views are available for all users to use while a personal view is something that a user can create to filter and display the records to their own preferences. Users can choose to share their personal views with other users or teams.

New to Dynamics 365 is also the idea of Editable Grids which allow users to update fields directly in the view instead of having to open a record to make edits or updates. By default, grids are in a Read-Only style, however, it is possible for a system administrator to change an entity’s views to being an editable grid style and decide if that is the default style of grid for that entity. Users also have the ability to use the Show As button in the command bar to toggle between editable or read-only grid styles.

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


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

Learn more about building and using charts.

Beyond the Basics

If you want a more formal introduction to Dynamics 365, check out Dynamics 365 University’s CRM Boot Camp for Dynamics 365.