CRM 2011 – UI Tips & Tricks

I was reading Richard Knudson’s blog and he had a blog post about Dynamic CRM UI tips and tricks

 As usual it was a fantastic and detailed post, as most of Richard’s posts are and I think he highlighted the best new UI features of CRM 2011.  I recommend you visit the full blog post to see the detailed description of all the features but I have copied some of the more interesting bits but it is really a summary/highlight of Richard’s page because his page has all the images/links and detailed explanation of the features.  I found it a useful list of features to explain some of the reasons why they should upgrade from CRM 4 to CRM 2011

Navigate directly to a page

This is a good place to start, and the ability to navigate directly to most pages and forms in Dynamics CRM – without “drilling through” the overall CRM UI – works similarly in CRM 2011 as it does in CRM 4.0.

For example, you can navigate directly to the service calendar: add “sm/home_apptbook.aspx” to the end of your organization URL. So if you navigate tohttps://myorg.crm.dynamics.com, go tohttps://myorg.crm.dynamics.com/sm/home_apptbook.aspx

The service calendar is a good example of a page that’s a lot more useful the more room you have on the screen. An even better example is with dashboards, which I’ll illustrate below.

Navigate to a View

Dashboards

I really like the implementation of dashboards in Dynamics CRM 2011. In other articles (like this one, for example) I’ve provided a more systematic explanation of how to work with them, but here I want to focus on a few little UI tricks I’ve found helpful whenworking with them.

Hide the Ribbon for even more dashboard real estate

I like the new Ribbon UI, but sometimes you need all the screen you can get. When viewing a dashboard, try using the Ctrl-Shift-5 keyboard combination. Pretty cool, right? That’s a toggle switch, and if you prefer clicking, you can click the well-hidden “Show the ribbon” button (down-pointing arrow) at the upper right of the UI

Navigate Directly to the Dashboard Page, or to a Specific Dashboard

Navigate directly to the dashboards page by adding “/workplace/home_dashboards.aspx” to the end of the URL for your CRM:https://myorg.crm.dynamics.com/workplace/home_dashboards.aspx

You can also navigate to a specific dashboard, but you have to work a little harder to get its URL, since there’s no “Copy a Link” command on the dashboard ribbon.

Take Advantage of Recently Visited Pages and Views

Wherever you happen to be in CRM 2011 (assuming a form doesn’t have the current focus), use the Ctrl-Shift-7 keyboard combo to display the “Recently Visited Pages and Views”:

Use the Shortcut Menu for Views and Records

Drag and Drop Links to Create a “Links Dashboard” in a Folder

The trick here is to expose the address box in Internet Explorer. As long as you can do that, you can drag the icon to the left of the URL and drop it onto your desktop, or into a folder with other frequently used links. This is an “IE thing” rather than a “CRM thing”, but I find it particularly useful for Dynamics CRM…and especially so with CRM 2011 dashboards now in the mix. You can use the techniques I described in this article to create a simple “links dashboard”, containing links to CRM records, pages, views, dashboards, and so forth

se Links List in SharePoint to Provide Easy Access to CRM 2011 Pages, Views, and Dashboards

Organizations with widespread use of SharePoint might want to consider exposing Dynamics CRM from within SharePoint. If people are used to going into SharePoint it can be a way of promoting CRM and giving it greater visibility. There are complicated ways of doing it, and easy ones…here’s I’ll suggest an easy one: create a “links list” consisting of links to pages, views and dashboards in Dynamics CRM 2011.


CRM 2011 – Using Javascript to identifying if a form is in Create or Update Context

Here is a quick tip to tell if a form is being created or updated in Javascript, this can be very useful for form load events and creating code which needs to be run when a form is being created, like setting the values of variables when a form is created.

var  formType= Xrm.Page.ui.getFormType();
getFormType() function returns a number
If the return value is 1 –  Form context is Create
If the return value is 2 –  Form context is Update

CRM 2011 – Add Spell Checker to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Application

I have worked on couple of CRM 4 projects where the users have complained about the lack of spell checking inside CRM, so it was with great interest that I saw this blog post Daniel Cai’s blog.  On the blog post Dan has found a free spell checking add for internet explorer and the most important feature of the add on is it can spell check any fields in CRM.

I had also used iespell on a customer site and although it was better than nothing, I also felt it could be improved and so I was interested to read his post on a new add on called Speckie

This is another good post which shows why Daniel’s blog has had over 50000 page views recently

Add Spell Checker to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Application

In CRM projects, I often hear the complaints about the lack of spell checking feature in CRM application. Most business users tend to believe it’s the application’s fault for not having such important feature. In fact, spell checking should be something offered by browser. If you have ever tried any other browsers in the market, you may have noticed that most browsers (Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Safari) nowadays are offering spell checking feature out-of-the-box. IE has been pretty much the only exception among those modern browsers in this perspective.

I was previously aware of an IE addon called ieSpell which offers spell checking solution in IE. But it is far from being an ideal solution because it doesn’t instantly highlight any wrong spellings, which in my opinion makes it almost useless.

I happened to come across another free IE addon called Speckie this week which I believe provides a much better spell checking solution in IE. So I thought I should share with everyone here.

After you have installed Speckie, you may notice that Speckie doesn’t perform spell check for single line textbox field by default. If you want to enable this option, you can go to IE Tools menu, and click “Speckie Options“.

Speckie Options

Then you can check “Enable spell check in single line edit fields” option, and click “Apply” button.

Configure Speckie

After you have done so, you should restart your browser in order for the option to take effect.

The following are a few screenshots in action.

  • Speckie spell checking for MSCRM4 textbox field

Spell Check for CRM4 Textbox Field

  • Speckie spell checking for MSCRM4 notes field

Spell Check for CRM4 Notes Field

  • Speckie spell checking for MSCRM4 textbox field

Spell Check for CRM2011 Textbox Field

I have only been using this addon for a couple of days, I cannot endorse the quality and reliability of this addon. But I am so far very happy with it.

Hope this helps.

CRM 2011 – Records are deleted straight away

I read an interesting blog post on Mitch Milam’s blog about records being deleted in CRM 2011, I also liked the blog post because it used the word factoid which is always good.

It’s an interesting change in CRM 2011 that the deleted records are no longer deleted by an asynchronous deletion process.  I can’t quite see the reason for this but then I’m not sure why it was done in the once a day system anyway.

CRM 2011 Factoid Deleting Records

When you deleted a record in CRM 4.0, it didn’t physically delete the record at that point in time, it merely marked it for deletion.  Once per day, an automated background process would run to delete any such records.

With CRM 2011, Microsoft changed the architecture so that a delete operation is physically performed when the user clicks Delete.

So, if you are in the practice of searching the database for records whose DeletionStateCode = 2, you may stop that process because that column no longer exists.


CRM 2011 – Microsoft Dynamics CRM Server 2011 Known Issues

I found a link to known issues in CRM 2011 today which is held on an official Microsoft page which you can find here

It might be important to know a problem you are experiencing is a known issue

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Server 2011 Known Issues

This section describes Microsoft Dynamics CRM Server 2011 known issues.

For more information, see:

An “A failure was encountered while launching the process serving application pool ‘CRMAppPool'” message is logged in the Application log

A “Server Error in ‘/’ Application” error message appears when you try to run a report in a multi-tenant deployment

“Failure: The SQL Server ‘{0}’ is unavailable” error message when you try to create an organization

�External Error � No such object on server� error message when you try to enable a user

Microsoft Dynamics CRM mobile issues when you use AD FS 2.0

The computer that is running SQL Server 2008 R2 indicates 100% CPU utilization