Tip #114: Form Field Display Name Fade Out

One of the changes from CRM 2011 to CRM 2013 is that the display name on the form for a field no longer wraps to the next line. It just kinds of fades off into the sunset.

You can fix it by changing the width of the section that the fields is in.

Take a look at the before and after pictures.

Form Field Display Name with Fade

Form Field Display Name with Fade

Edit the Section Width

Edit the Section Width

Form Field without Fade

Form Field without Fade

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Tip #113: The token doesn’t have to be at the end

If you use Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Outlook to automatically track incoming messages, you probably are familiar with the tracking token option. This puts a token code at the end of the email subject, such as “Important message CRM:00061188.” When someone replies to the message, CRM for Outlook will automatically track the response, so you can capture the entire conversation.

You may have wondered, what happens if someone edits the subject and adds additional text after the tracking token? The answer is, it doesn’t matter. CRM for Outlook is smart enough to still track the email. In the below example, I’ve sent an email and tracked it, and the recipient replied back. The first response, the recipient did not modify the subject. In the second response, the recipient added text after the token. In both cases, the email response was automatically tracked.

email

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Tip # 112: Beware of the impact of server sync on importing organization backups

Consider this scenario: You have server synchronization enabled in your Microsoft Dynamics CRM production environment. You back up a copy of your _MSCRM database and import in to your development server to create a refreshed development environment.

After you import the organization and update the encryption key, the organization will immediately begin synchronizing with your production Exchange environment. This can cause big issues, such as duplicate contacts and appointments.

To avoid this, when you import your organization, before you update the encryption key, go to settings and disable server synchronization.

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Tip #111: CRM Responsiveness Insight

Want to test the performance of your CRM hosting environment – OnPremise or CRM Online from a specific location?

Just use one of these urls:

1. Onpremise – http:// or https://<yourExternalserverURL>tools/diagnostics/diag.aspx

2. Online – https://crmorgname.crm.dynamics.com/tools/diagnostics/diag.aspx where crmorgname is your unique org name – what you normally enter to get to CRM and then use CRM, CRM4, or CRM5 per your usual settings.

You will get presented with a screen like this and then just click on Run to get the report statistics.

CRM Diagnostics Tool

CRM Diagnostics Tool

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Tip #110: Don’t prematurely check the boxes

When creating new entity in CRM organisation, there is a temptation to click, click, click, create the entity and quickly proceed onto customizing form, adding fields and creating mighty relationships. Isn’t it what the power of Dynamics CRM is all about? Well, yes and no. Pause for a second, take a deep breath and think about things that you won’t be able to undo or reverse without great efforts:

  • Organization vs individual/team ownership
  • Activity entity (and whether to display it in Activity Menus)
  • Primary field properties sneakily tucked away on a separate and constantly overlooked tab. That includes name (you won’t have this choice when defining activity entity – it’s subject), maximum length and requirement level (yes, it can be optional)
  • All the checkboxes marked with a little cross (pointing to a grave danger, I presume) – they are all one-way features that consume at least some resources and create additional links and buttons: Notes, Activities, Connections, Sending E-mail and Queues
    Irreversible options for new entity

All these things are irreversible – think twice before pushing that Save button. As a rule of thumb, I decide on the first three before creating an entity, uncheck all the “one-way” boxes, save the entity and then bring in the features only when they are warranted or explicitly asked for.

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Tip #109: Manage CRM documents and attachments when working from an iPad

So you’ve joined the modern world and are using CRM exclusively from an iPad. No more heavy laptop to tie you down.

Once the thrill of being mobile wears off, you are struck with the realization, “How am I supposed to save documents and attachments to CRM?” While you have nearly full CRM functionality from the Safari browser, the lack of a shared file system limits the ability to upload files from the browser, like you can on a PC. But it can be done.

  • Using CRM for tablets, you can attach photos as attachments from the app in notes.
  • If you use SharePoint as part of an Office 365 subscription, you can use the new Office iPad apps and save directly to the CRM SharePoint document folders. You can browse the account folders by name and save the document to the appropriate account folder (or subfolder for opportunities, cases, or contacts).
  • If you use SharePoint on premises, you can upload documents to CRM SharePoint document libraries using a third-party SharePoint app like SharePlus. SharePlus can check in any file in the Documents to Go file storage.
  • Email enable your document libraries. Store the link to the email in an email field on the account. This can be a very handy way to quickly move documents to a document library.
  • Go with a different kind of tablet. Android tablets, like the Nexus 10, allow you to upload to websites in Chrome from the photos or documents folder. And of course, Windows tablets have full file upload capabilities for CRM attachments and SharePoint documents.

So you can use CRM and manage your documents and attachments from an iPad.

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Tip #108: CRM 2011 External Connector License – Its not a paper weight

Did your firm acquire an External Connector License for your CRM 2011 OnPremise instance? Back in the days before CRM 2013 if you created a portal that customers, partners, vendors could use to connect to the CRM system via the custom API then you needed to buy the EC license. Alternatively, if you happened to be using CRM 4 or then later 2011 Online it came with the annual subscription built-in.

With the release of CRM 2013 OnPremise and the movement to standardize the user license nomenclature etc. between the two platforms the EC for Onpremise requirement went away.

So if you already own an CRM 2011 EC license and have upgraded your CRM OnPremise to 2013 then you can use the EC license as CRM server license.

Quick Reference Licensing Guide

CRM 2011 to 2013 License Mappings

CRM 2011 to 2013 License Mappings

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Tip #107: Use metadata browser to find status reason

While working on the solution for stuck emails, I needed values for various status reasons for email entity to intelligently hide/display RESEND button depending on email record status. Quick look in local SDK help yielded zilch. Online version – bupkis. Hmmm, I do remember metadata pages in 2011… Ah, here it is and, indeed, there is no CRM 2013 version (and, besides, status reason values are not listed).

Thinking it’s a awful oversight, I reached to the people in the know. Almost full version of the reply (who am I to compete with the people who do writing for living!):

If you are looking for the default status and status reason values, see this topic in the customization guide: Default status and status reason values. For the email entity: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn531157(v=crm.6).aspx#BKMK_Email [Aha, I knew that - it's under Implementation Guide not SDK! - gd]

… we have stopped publishing the various entity metadata topics we used to publish such as Email (E-mail) Entity Metadata became difficult to view due to change in MSDN publishing. These pages did not include the statuscode values you are looking for anyway.

The metadata pages were not viewed very often so we decided to guide people to install and use the metadata browser solution we ship in the SDK because of the advantages it offers.

  • It is easier to search
  • It is complete
  • It includes any customizations for that organization

Of course, the drawback is that you have to have access to an environment with it installed.

Thank you, Jim “Mr SDK” Daly!
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Tip #106: Resend stuck emails

We use email router to send outbound CRM emails via Office 365 accounts. In our configuration email router is set to use user’s credentials, i.e. we need to enter our O365 passwords in user settings in CRM. When password in O365 expires, people (read: me) simply forget to adjust passwords in CRM, especially those for no-man accounts like queues (which happened to be our support queue). For about 2 days email router was duly picking outbound emails and placing them in Sending state. And then failing but keeping emails Sending. Fixed the password, restarted email router. New emails – fine, those sending – still sending. Arghhh…

Best find of the month: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/crminthefield/archive/2011/12/05/how-to-re-send-failed-crm-e-mails-in-bulk.aspx. Brilliant, why didn’t I think of that?

For end-users I did not want to explain how to run workflows, etc. Instead, I’ve created a small solution that adds RESEND button to email command bar:

Resend button for emails

All this button does, it places email into Pending Send state and refreshes the form. And here is the unmanaged solution to do just that (4 web resources plus RibbonDiffXml for email). The usual disclaimer applies: use at your own risk, contains small parts, choking hazard, swim between the flags.

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Tip #105: Can I remove SQL SysAdmin and Local Administrator permissions

A question that is frequently raised in large enterprise deployments of Microsoft Dynamics CRM is can the local administrator and SQL SysAdmin permissions be removed from the installing user after the installation. The answer is “yes, but…”

Yes, you may remove these permissions after the installation is complete. The user who performed the installation will be able to log into CRM without having these permissions.

But…keep in mind that when it comes time to install an update rollup, to perform the database update, the user installing the update will need to have SysAdmin privileges in SQL Server.

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