Category Archives for "Productivity"

Trainer/Presenter Tip of the Day: Cough Drops

One of the little tricks I learned while conducting webinars, training, or presenting, is to always have cough drops (throat lozenges) with me.

I generally take one about 10-15 minutes before I start and it seems to help calm my throat and clears out my sinuses.  This in turn helps me speak better.  It also, of course, helps with coughing which happens to me when I speak too much and do not drink enough water.

Try it out yourself.

1 Finding all activities for a particular entity type

I am in the process of migrating one of my customers from Dynamics CRM 2011 to Dynamics CRM 2015. While moving to the new environment, I am also moving their forms to the new form model.

While working on the Contract form, I noticed that every record that I reviewed had no activities associated with it. (they mostly regard the activities to the actual Account or Contact.

Since there are seldom any activities associated with a Contract, I was thinking that maybe I could remove the Activities/Notes pane from the middle of the form.

It takes up a lot of room and is pretty useless.

BUT, I really needed to know if this would cause any issues later, should they start regarding activities to the contracts.

I thought about it for a few minutes and decided to perform some experiments with Advanced Find.  I was quite pleased with my results.

It turns out that you can indeed locate the activities associated with a specific type of Entity.  You just need to construct your Advanced Find like this:


Here is how I created this:

1. Navigate to Activities

2. Select the All Activities view.

3. Add a search for the Regarding Entity that matches your quest. In my case, I was looking for Contracts (as you can see above).

4. Select the field that is the same name as the Regarding Entity type.

5. Change the selection criteria to Contains Data.

6. Click the Results button on the Ribbon.


This should show you any activity related to the specific type of Regarding Entity type.

The way this appears to work to me is in the selection of the field that Contains Data. The field on an entity, that is the same name as the entity, is actually the record ID. 

So in essence, we are searching for any activity whose record ID, for that type of entity, is not blank.

1 Enable the Contact Field: Do Not Allow Bulk Email to be used in Advanced Find

It turns out that the Searchable proper on the Contact field Do not allow bulk emails defaults to No, as you can see below:


This is a problem when you want to perform a search for Contacts who have this field set to Yes.

To change this setting, perform these steps:

1. Select Settings, Customization, Customize the System.

2. When the Default Solution is displayed, Navigate to Entities.

3. Then navigate and expand Contact.

4. Click on Fields.

5. Locate the field: Do not allow bulk emails.

6. Chang the Searchable setting to Yes.

7. On the Toolbar, click the Save and Close button.

8. Publish Contact (or All Customizations).


Now, when you are performing an Advanced Find on the Contact entity, you will be able to see the Do not allow bulk emails in the drop-down list.

We’ll talk more about how and why this is a useful feature tomorrow.

Searching for Emails to a specific person

I ran across something yesterday that I can honestly say I have never had to do within Dynamics CRM: Show me all emails to a specific Contact.

No problem, I thought. Just use an Advanced Find to look for emails with the person as the TO (or CC or BCC).  Uh, no, would be the answer. It doesn’t work that way due to the layout of the various activity-related entities.

Here is actually how you do it:


Step By Step

1. Look for Activities.

2. Search for Activity Type equals Email.

3. Include the Linked Entity: Activity Parties.

4. Search for Participation Type equals:To Recipient, CC Recipient, BCC Recipient.

5. Search for Party equals [contact].


Now hit the Results button and see your results.


Pretty nifty,huh?

Issues Exporting View Data to Microsoft Excel

Occasionally I see issues when I am trying to export data from a Dynamics CRM 2011 view to Microsoft Excel.

The error messages may vary, but they may describe not being able to start a process or something.


The Cause

Most of these issues seem to be related to the startup time of Excel, when Excel is not running.  The problem does not seem to surface when Excel is already running.

There is some type of timeout involved, like maybe around 10-20 seconds, that Internet Explorer will allow before canceling the operation.

If Excel and the worksheet haven’t completed loading during that time frame, IE will cancel the opening of the worksheet, though Excel will complete it’s startup process.

Attempting the operation again, will usually result in the successful loading of the worksheet.

The startup time for the Excel will depend on menu factors, including the number of add-ins that Excel must load during the startup process. The more add-ins you have, the longer Excel’s load time.


The Solution

There are a couple of solutions to this issue:

1. Start Microsoft Excel before attempting to load the worksheet.

2. When prompted by Excel, select Save, then open the worksheet from Excel manually.

3 Dynamics CRM 2011 Quick-Tip: Double-clicking e-mail addresses

I didn’t actually realize it until this week, but if you double-click on an email address field within Dynamics CRM 2011, it will actually open the default email application ( such as Microsoft Outlook ), and create a new e-mail message.

So double-clicking this email address:


Results in a standard Outlook e-mail message being opened:



I verified that this was not how CRM 4.0 worked.

Anyway, it’s a really cool feature and can be a real time-saver.

Refreshing a CRM View

In case you didn’t know, there is a refresh button built into the display of each and every View within CRM.

If you look in the upper-right corner of the View, you’ll see two circular-green arrows:


Clicking this button will refresh the contents of the grid.

There is one caveat, however: If you have altered the layout of the grid using the Grid Designer, the changes will not be reflected in the active View layout.

For that to take effect, you must refresh your page using F5.

Dynamics CRM: There is a whole lot of clicking going on

People new to Dynamics CRM are sometimes a little confused, and sometimes baffled, by the user interface. The most important thing to remember is that Dynamics CRM is a web application, even though there are times when it doesn’t look or act like a web application.

Since it is a web application, we get all of the goodness that is a hyper-linked system built-in.  Let’s take a quick tour of some of the clickiy-ness that is Dynamics CRM 2011.


Grids and Views

Let’s take a look at a system view showing a list of system users:


At a basic level, anything with an underline is a hyperlink to another record.

Note: Sometimes you need to hover your mouse over the field to get the hyperlink underline to appear.



  • If you would like to open Mark Harrington’s user record you can either click once on Mark Harrison’s name or double-click on the entire row.
  • If you would like to review the East Territory, simply click on the word East and that record will open.
  • Likewise, to review Mark’s manager, Lori Penor, just click once on her name.

Selecting Multiple Records

Occasionally you need to perform an action on multiple records within a CRM view.  This can be done in one of two ways:

  1. Checking the box on the left side of the record.
  2. Holding the Ctrl key down and single-clicking with the mouse to select the desired records.

You may also select or deselect all of the records on the page by checking the box on the title bar of the View:


Note: Keep in mind that not all CRM operations allow you to select multiple records before performing the operation.



When you have a CRM record open, you get more of a feel for what is a hyperlink and what is not. In this sample below, any data entry field that is blue and underscored, is a hyperlink. Clicking the link will open that record in a new window.





Lookups are the data entry fields that have the magnifying glass on the right side of the edit box.:


Clicking that icon will cause a dialog to be displayed that will allow you to select one or more values, depending on the field in question. Here is a single selection dialog:



In the single-selection dialog, you may select an item in one of the following ways:

  • Double-clicking the item’s record.
  • Checking the checkbox beside the record, then clicking OK.
  • Clicking the primary field’s hyperlink once.
    • In this case, the Name field contains the hyperlink.
    • To select Retail, just click Retail.

Here is a multiple-selection lookup:



For a multiple-selection lookup, the following actions are available:

  • Clicking the hyperlink ( Full Name in this case ) will add that record to the selected records list at the bottom of the lookup dialog.
  • Checking the checkboxes beside an item then clicking the Add button will add the record to the selected records list.
  • In the selected records list, clicking an item and clicking the remove button will remove it.
  • Using a combination of the mouse and the Shift or Ctrl keys will select multiple items, checking their selection checkbox in the process.
  • Using the checkboxes to select multiple items then clicking the OK button will automatically add the selected items to the lookup field, like this:





Well, that’s a quick tour of some of the ways that the hyperlinked system that is Dynamics CRM 2011.  Let me know if I’ve missed anything.