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Entity Customization: Forms and Views

Customizing Views

Microsoft CRM uses views to display multiple records at one time. You can customize almost all of the views used in Microsoft CRM to display just the data that you want your users to see. In addition, you can also create entirely new views to display different data sets. First, let's define the various components of a view, as shown in Figure 5-17:

  • Quick Find Users can enter search terms and click Find to search within the view.

  • View Filter This list shows all of the predefined views available to the user.

  • Grid The grid displays the records for the view in rows and columns.

  • Grid Tool Bar The grid tool bar lets users perform additional actions on the records in the grid. Users can select more than one record at a time to perform these grid tool bar actions (such as assigning records or exporting data to Microsoft Office Excel).

  • Columns Each view consists of one or more data columns. Users can click the column header to sort the view's records in ascending order (A to Z). Clicking the column header a second time sorts the records in the opposite order (descending from Z to A).

  • Index Users can click an Index letter to quickly filter the records shown in the view.

View Types

Microsoft CRM uses four types of views:

  • Public Views

  • Private Views

  • System-Defined Views

  • Saved Views

Saved Views are different from the other three views because you do not manage them in the Customization section of Microsoft CRM. Rather, you use the Advanced Find tools to create, modify, and delete Saved Views.

Pulbic Views

Not surprisingly, any Microsoft CRM user can access Public Views for an entity. All of the Public Views appear in the View Filter for each entity. You can also specify a Default Public View for each entity. The Default Public View loads the first time a user browses to an entity area. Therefore, if you want to create a new view for Accounts that every user will see the first time they browse to the Account workspace, create a new view and set it as the Default Public View for the Account entity. You can change the Default Public View in the entity editor by selecting the view that you want to make the default (single click), and then clicking Set Default on the More Actions menu, as shown in Figure 5-18.

Private Views

Because you can create as many Public Views as you need, you might find that a large number of views will fill up the View Filter, making it difficult for users to find a specific view. Therefore, Microsoft CRM allows you to utilize Private Views so that only a subset of users will have access to a specific view. Even if you don't have a large number of Public Views, you might want to restrict which views each user can access by using Private Views.

Let's review an example of using Private Views to minimize the number of view names that appear in the View Filter for the Account entity. Consider a fictional company with five sales districts:

  • Gulf Coast

  • Mid Atlantic

  • Midwest

  • Rocky Mountain

  • West Coast

Each sales district contains sales people who cover Accounts only in their territory. If you created a Public View for each sales district, the View Filter would show all of the views. However, because a sales person in New York doesn't call on West Coast accounts, the West Coast view in the View Filter simply clutters up the screen and reduces usability for users that don't need that view. Fortunately, you can use the Private View feature to streamline the View Filter list for each user. Conceptually, you will make each sales district view a Private View (instead of a Public View) so that each user would only see the view for his or her sales district. Figure 5-19 shows the View Filter two different ways:

  • Using just Public Views

  • Making each sales district view a Private View

Converting Public Views to Private Views
  • Go to the Customization section of Microsoft CRM and click Customize Entities.

  • Double-click the Account entity and click Forms and Views in the navigation pane.

  • Double-click the Public View that you want to make private.

  • In the menu bar, click Actions and then click Sharing The Share View dialog box will appear.

  • In the Common Tasks section, click Add Team.

  • Select one of the teams and click OK. If you don't have any teams created in your system, refer to Chapter 3, "Managing Security and Information Access," for information on creating and using teams.

  • Click OK in the Share View dialog box, and then click the Save and Close button in the view editor.

Now only users who belong to the team you shared the Active Accounts view with can see this view in the View Filter. Of course, you can share a view with multiple teams if you need to do so. Since users can belong to multiple teams, you can get very creative by assigning users to multiple teams or sharing a view with multiple teams. In summary, you can use Private Views to restrict which users have access to a particular view.

System-Defined Views

Microsoft CRM includes five System-Defined Views:

  • Associated View

  • Advanced Find View

  • Lookup View

  • Quick Find View

  • Preview

Similar to system entities, Microsoft CRM automatically creates these System-Defined Views upon installation of the software. Each of them serves a unique purpose in the user interface, so the software constrains your ability to modify these System-Defined Views. In particular, Microsoft CRM implements a few notable customization restrictions with all of these views:

  • Only one of each System-Defined View can exist for an entity.

  • You cannot delete any of the System-Defined Views.

  • You cannot configure filtering in the System-Defined Views because the system relationships define the records that Microsoft CRM will display in each view.

Now let's discuss how Microsoft CRM uses each of these views and how you can customize them.

Associated View When you look at the records related to an entity, Microsoft CRM displays the records using the Associated View. For example, when you view the Contacts related to an Account, Microsoft CRM will use the Associated View of the Contact to display the records (Figure 5-21). When you look up the Sub-Accounts of an Account, Microsoft CRM displays the Associated View of the Account entity.

Therefore, if you wanted to add a Contact's title to the view in Figure 5-21, you would edit the Contact Associated View even though you're actually viewing an Account record. Because only one Associated View exists per entity, you cannot display different views based on the related entity. For example, both Lead and Opportunity reference the Activity Associated View. If you change the Activity Associated View, this change appears on both Leads and Opportunities, as shown in Figure 5-22.

Advanced Find View The Advanced Find View for an entity allows you to define the columns that appear when users use the Advanced Find feature. Figure 5-23 shows the Advanced Find View for Leads.

Note that users can easily edit the columns that appear in the Advanced Find results, as shown in Figure 5-24, but their updates will not change the Advanced Find View for the entity.

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