Technical Blog

Outlook 2013 favourite feature so far - Shortcuts Navigation

In Outlook2010 the ability to construct a series of CRM entity favourites was removed and only by making a change to the registry could you enable this feature. In Outlook2013, there is a new navigation item called 'Shortcuts'. By right-clicking in the left hand navigation within the Shortcuts page, you can add shortcut groups and populate them with just the CRM entities that you use frequently, plus any other Outlook features you like to use such as mailboxes, rss feeds, etc.

This can enable the user to create a very personalised and efficient user experience and reduce the number of those all important button clicks & scroll actions.

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Gamification for Microsoft Dynamics CRM2011 - a Free Solution

Our consultants are frequently asked by clients for advice on how to drive user adoption so we decided to build a solution to enable game principles to be applied to Microsoft Dynamics CRM2011 and release to the community as a free solution available on codeplex.

Why not download it today (http://crm2011thegame.codeplex.com/) and add your feedback to the discussions page (http://crm2011thegame.codeplex.com/discussions).

Features:

  • Create multiple 'Games' to enable different teams/departments to compete with their peers as opposed to users who use the system in a radically different way.
  • Define ranks so users may be promoted as they accumulate game points.
  • Customise your ranks by applying themed icons. Navy and Regal themes are included in the solution.
  • Define achievement types (i.e. employee of the month, gold medal, etc) that can be awarded for specific actions.
  • Utilise the Microsoft Dynamics CRM2011 workflow engine to drive the award of game points and achievements and includes several example workflow templates that can help you get started. Includes workflow templates for goal achievement and stretch target achievement.
  • Does not use synchronous (real-time) plugins that can impact user interface performance.
  • A leader-board that shows the users sorted by game points, their rank icon and also includes dynamically generated achievement type columns.
  • Extensible framework so enhance your workflow to generate activity feed posts, send email notifications and generate dynamic game points values depending on record values (i.e. opportunity value) rather than simplistic X points for an opportunity win.

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CRM2011 Rollup 7 introduces a new feature 'Read Optimized Forms'

Rollup 7 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM2011 contains a new feature to help improve the form load speed, especially useful for those users who are more inclined to open and read records as opposed to edit. The feature can be activated within System Settings under the 'Form Mode' section. Edit retains the current behaviour, Read-Optimized sets all forms to read only initially, and 'Allow users to select a mode for viewing forms' enables the user to set this feature within their personal options area. If the system setting allows, the user's personal options may be configured to default all forms to 'Organisational Default', 'Read-Optimized', or 'Edit'.   When set to read-optimized, the user will be presented with a form that is in a read only state. The screenshot below illustrates an account form in a read optimized state: When the user clicks the 'Edit' button, then the form will load in the way we are all familiar with: I think this is a nice idea and has the potential to help the ...

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Advanced (Line) Charting in Microsoft Dynamics CRM2011

When adding line charts in Microsoft Dynamics CRM2011, although much improved since the R7 (Rollup 5) release with the introduction of two categories and up to 5 series, for line charts there are still rather large square blobs plotted for each data point, values are plotted next to each point by default, and the lines don't appear as smooth curves. This can become very messy if your chart has quite a few data points in close proximity.   However, if you make use of the ‘export’ and ‘import’  chart xml feature we can solve this problem with 3 very small changes to the following xml element: <Series>         <Series ChartType="Line" IsValueShownAsLabel="True" BorderWidth="3" MarkerStyle="Square" MarkerSize="9" MarkerColor="37, 128, 153" MarkerBorderColor="37, 128, 153"></Series> </Series>   N.B The following assumes the reader is comfortable exporting the chart xml, amending it in a suitable text ...

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Microsoft CRM 2011 Rollup 6 Available

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Support Team at Gap Consulting is pleased to announce the release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Update Rollup 6. Gap Consulting is currently testing this update for stability and will make a follow up announcement when this has been completed. General Details about Update Rollup 6 Update Rollup 6 is a cumulative update rollup that includes all the fixes for the issues that are documented in Update Rollup 1 through to Update Rollup 5. A list of issues that are resolved in Update Rollup 6 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is available, please visit the following Microsoft Knowledge Base Article http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2600640 ! Update Rollup 6 cannot be removed. Specific database updates are applied in Update Rollup 6 that will not let you uninstall Update Rollup 6. You should back up your databases before you install this update. Update Rollup 6 is available for download from the Microsoft Download Center. This can be access at the following link;- http://www.microso ...

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Sharepoint Server does not allow HTC Component Files

I recently resolved an issue which was preventing full integration between Sharepoint and MS Dynamics CRM 2011. Note that this solution DOES NOT resolve the issue for installations which use Office 365 for Sharepoint, as this setting apparently cannot be changed in the Office 365 environment. Symptoms. After configuring sharepoint integration in MS Dynamics CRM 2011 and installing the list component in Sharepoint (running the Allow..ps1 script in the process), CRM users receive the following error when they navigate to a documents tab in CRM: "The action buttons are disabled because the Sharepoint server that you are using does not allow HTC component files" The Fix. Go into Sharepoint Admin site and change the Browser File Handling setting as follows;- On the Quick Launch, click Application Management.  On the Application Management page, in the Web Applications section, click Manage web applications.  On the Web Applications Management page, select the Web application th ...

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Microsoft CRM 2011 Rollup 5 Available

Microsoft released update rollup 5 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 on 20th October 2011 (KB 2567454).

You can download it at the following location,

http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=27820

The KB article contains the installation instructions and list of fixes.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2567454

Note you can't remove rollup 5 once it has been installed.

Leveraging HTML Web Resources to show blocks of text in forms

In previous versions of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, whenever blocks of text needed to be displayed within forms, the system customiser had limited options. They could either use a section name to display text (this was however rather limited in terms of length and placement flexibility) or would need to resort to embedding a custom web page within an iframe. This was typically beyond the capability of most customisers and posed certain challenges when redeploying between environments. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 allows us to add HTML web resources to forms and we can use these to seamlessly add text blocks wherever we choose. The below example shows a form that has an authorisation section that required some official wording placed above the secured fields. To achieve this, we need to first of all add a css web resource which contains the following line of text: body { font-family:Segoe UI; font-size:11px; margin:0px; background-color:F6F8FA; border:0px; } In the example, we have named our css web ...

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Control Activate and Deactivate buttons by Security Role using a JScript web resource and enhancing the RibbonDiffXml

The security model in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is extremely flexible and with the inclusion of field level security, is almost ultimately configurable. However, there is a small deficiency in the security model whereby the ability to activate and de-activate records is not independently configurable. Several of our customers have expressed a desire to allow their users to write to a record but not allow the activation or de-activation. I have posted a product enhancement suggestion on Microsoft Connect here, but in the meantime, here is how to configure an entity to only allow users with a defined security role to activate or de-activate a record: A user may activate or de-activate records from list views and within the record’s form so we must enhance the RibbonDiffXml of our chosen entity to disable these buttons depending on the result returned by a JScript web resource which evaluates the user’s security role. The following example will disable the activate and de-activate ...

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Displaying Data From a Parent Record on a Child Form Using an HTML Web Resource

A common requirement of users when viewing records such as contacts is to be able to see information which belongs to a parent record immediately on a child form so to eliminate the need to navigate up to the parent record. In CRM v4.0, an iframe in conjunction with an aspx page was needed in order to display such information and this would frequently be outside the capabilities of the system customiser. With the introduction of HTML web resources in CRM2011 we can use these in conjunction with jscript to display values from fields contained in a parent record. The header section is a nice feature in CRM2011 but it is rather limited in terms of formatting and if you are not careful, adding three or four fields vertically can quickly use up a lot of screen real estate. By using the HTML web resource, we can fit more information in a smaller amount of space. The screenshot shows an example where we have added 3 html web resources to the header in order to give the user immediate visibility of ...

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