How can I create a custom contact template that better suits my business? We are a fiber optic company and we want to be able to set up different fields in Microsoft CRM 4.0. We don’t need all of the fields. Is it possible to create checkboxes or just drop-down lists?
Each business has unique processes and requirements, and when the Microsoft Dynamics CRM team designed the application, adaptability was one of their core design considerations.
A specific aspect of the adaptability of the application is the ease with which you can configure any entity in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, such as Contacts, to better suit the needs of your business. If the out-of-the-box configuration for the Contact entity does not meet your needs, you can add new attributes to the entity, add these attributes to the Main Form for the Contact entity, and remove existing attributes from the form. When you configure new attributes, you have access to a wide variety of data types, including picklists (drop-downs) and bit fields which can appear on the form as checkboxes. Detailed instructions on how to perform these tasks are available in the Administrator’s Guide section of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Help. You can navigate to the Customizing the System section of the Administrator’s Guide and select Customizing Entities for step-by-step instructions on adding attributes to an entity and editing the main form for an entity. Neither of these tasks will require you to write a line of code, but you will need to be in the System Customizer or System Administrator role in order to complete them.
One word of caution: Since it is very easy to perform these tasks, you may be tempted to jump in and start modifying the system. I would recommend that before you do that, you do the proper planning associated with configuring an enterprise-level application. Contact all stakeholders and discuss their requirements with regards to the Contact entity and track all attributes and form modifications. This approach will ensure that you have the right design for your solution before you start modifying the system. That being said, if you follow the steps outlined in the Administrator’s Guide, you can configure Microsoft CRM to better suit the needs of your business quickly and easily without the need to write any code. You can really focus on what your business needs and you do not have to worry about any of the technical details associated with how Microsoft Dynamics CRM delivers these capabilities to your users. Enjoy!
This was first published in September 2009