Tip #268: Beware of the implications of “non searchable” fields

One of my favorite ways to improve usability of Dynamics CRM Advanced Find is to set the fields that are not being used to be “non searchable.” You can do this by either selecting the fields in customization and clicking “edit” or by using the excellent field property editor in the XRM Toolbox (thanks again Tanguy).

But before you do this, it is important to understand the wide-reaching effects of setting a field to be non searchable. It is not just about views and Advanced Find. If you make a field non searchable, you may:

  • Prevent users from selecting the field for goal metrics.
  • Prevent users from selecting the field from the chart designer
  • Preclude the use of the field for workflows.

NOTE–thanks to Adam Vero for pointing out that we were wrong on some of the above list. That’s good news if you want to hide a field but still use it as a background field for workflow or charting purposes. However, it underscores the inconsistency of the unsearchable setting–don’t assume that just because a field is “non searchable” that it is not available to users. Users can still add the field as a column to a view, they just can’t select it as part of the filter. As Adam mentioned in his comment, there are several suggestions on Microsoft Connect to make this feature work more consistently.

So go ahead, make the field non-searchable. Just be really really REALLY sure that you won’t ever need that field for anything anywhere.

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5 thoughts on “Tip #268: Beware of the implications of “non searchable” fields

  1. AdamV says:

    Making a field non-searchable hides it from the list of fields for conditions in Advanced Find, but it does not hide it in these areas:
    – chart designer (all fields remain available for system or personal charts)
    – Workflow editor (as a triggering field, or a condition, or for update)
    – adding columns to views, including personal views through Advanced Find

    I have not checked Goal Metrics.

    In fact, the ability to make fields not searchable is very limited in what it achieves. It would be better if it actually could hide fields from more places in the UI. As suggested on Connect here for example:
    Option to disable unused standard fields completely

  2. Avik says:

    I believe CRM gives flexibility to switch search-ability of any attribute at any point of time. You could also turn this on/off on demand.

  3. Todd Brotzman says:

    Could it not also be an issue if per chance an ISV coded a solution to look explicitly at the attribute parameter? I am not sure if it best practice to do this, but was in the back of my mind when I edited. I checked with all solution add-on vendors to verify whether they had dependence on the ‘searchable’ attribute in their code.

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