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Advanced Find in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

The Advanced Find tool in Microsoft Dynamics CRM has some powerful and useful capabilities. This section gives step-by-step instructions for using Advanced Find in Microsoft CRM, complete with detailed screenshots of the tool in use.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 UnleashedMicrosoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Unleashed

Chapter 7, Common Functions

The Advanced Find tool in Microsoft Dynamics CRM has some powerful and useful capabilities. The Advanced Find tool allows users to find data within the CRM system that they would otherwise need a support staff to locate. This section gives step-by-step instructions for using Advanced Find in Microsoft CRM, complete with detailed screenshots of the tool in use.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Unleashed, Chapter 7
Table of contents:

Advanced Find

In our opinion, one of the most helpful tools in giving visibility to CRM data is Advanced Find. It enables users to query deep within the CRM system, often creating significantly powerful queries that would otherwise require a dedicated support staff (see Figure 7.23).

Figure 7.23: Advanced find in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

FIGURE 7.23 Advanced Find.

With Advanced Find, users can easily query on the following:

  • All system Entities, such as Accounts and Contacts
  • System objects, such as Workflows, Templates, Roles, and System Jobs
  • Related Entity Attributes

Additionally, when working with Advanced Find, users can perform a variety of actions to get the data they want, including this:

  • Selecting specific columns
  • Selecting the sort column and sort order
  • Adding grouping options
  • Modifying a system view (but not overwriting it)

Saving Advanced Find as a view that can be quickly run when working with that Entity later

  • Exporting the results to Excel
  • Performing a mail merge
  • Performing duplicate detection on the resulting records
  • Merging records
  • Sending direct e-mail to the resulting records
  • Reporting on the records
  • Printing the records
  • Assigning the records to another user
  • Activating or deactivating
  • Creating a Quick Campaign on the resulting records

When working with Advanced Find, the first step is to select the main Entity you want to work with. Choose the Entity or system object from the drop-down where it says Look For. After you have selected the Entity, any associated system views are available for you to select in the Use Saved View drop-down.

Tip

Although you can modify a system view, you cannot overwrite it. However, you can save it as a user view that will be available as a view for the entity you're working with, found after the system views.

Figure 7.24 illustrates the system views for the Account Entity, as well as a new view that we created to show all Accounts.

The view that you're seeing on Advanced Find is the same view that is available when working with the Accounts Entity within Microsoft CRM (see Figure 7.25).

This is a nice feature because it enables you to create custom views into the data through Advanced Find that you can save and run quickly while working with the Entity directly (without having to go back to Advanced Find).

When working with Advanced Find, there are several components to it. These are discussed next.

Figure 7.24: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Advanced Find Saved views

FIGURE 7.24 Advanced Find Saved views.

Figure 7.25: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Accounts

FIGURE 7.25 Accounts view.

Find and Saved Views Tabs All the functionality for searching is located on the Find tab. The Saved Views tab, as its name implies, is where you will find the views listed as My Views from Use Save View (see Figure 7.26).

Figure 7.26: Saved view in Advanced Find in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

FIGURE 7.26 A saved view located under My Views in Advanced Find.

The Toolbar Options

The navigation options in the toolbar of the Find tab feature the following:

  • Save
  • Save as
  • New
  • Edit Columns
  • Edit Properties

If you choose to work with an existing view, the view you select is displayed in detail on the form, enabling you to review with the logic.

As you'll see in the following example, Edit Columns enables you to select the columns from the underlying query that you would like to have returned on the view. The Change Properties link enables you to easily change the name and add a description, if desired.

Tip

By default, when working with an existing system view, Save is disabled, preventing you from making changes to it. However, you can choose to use Save As and save it under a different name.

Advanced Find Details

When working with queries in Advanced Find, you can look at the criteria in two ways: Detail mode and Simple mode.

When viewing the Accounts System view of Accounts: Responded to Campaigns in Last 6 Months, both Figures 7.27 and 7.28 show the same view. However, Figure 7.27 is in Simple mode and Figure 7.28 is in Detail mode. (Notice the menu option displayed that says either Show Details or Hide Details.)

Figure 7.27: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Accounts System view of Accounts

FIGURE 7.27 Accounts System view of Accounts: Responded to Campaigns in Last 6 Months in Simple mode.

Figure 7.28: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Accounts System view of Accounts in Detail mode

FIGURE 7.28 Accounts System view of Accounts: Responded to Campaigns in Last 6 Months in Detail mode.

You can find and set the default settings for Advanced Find mode in the Personal Options form.

When working in Details mode, you are further presented with the option to add an And clause or an Or clause to our query.

As an example of how the And and Or clauses work, let's query on Account names:

1. Open Advanced Find and select Account as the Entity. Be sure that the Use Saved View is selected to New.

2. Working in Detail mode (be sure the Advanced Find says Hide Details directly below the text Look for:), mouse over the word Select (which will expand), and select Account Name and Begins With, using the letter a.

3. Adding another row, select the same criteria, but this time use the letter b. This query should look similar to Figure 7.29.

If you were to run this query as it stands, you would have no records returned because it is looking for all records that have an Account name starting with a and b. It uses Boolean and logic, so results will only be returned if the account name starts with both a and b. Since Account Names can only start with one letter, we'll never see results.

Figure 7.29: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Advanced Find option

FIGURE 7.29 Advanced Find with two select clauses.

4. Select each row as illustrated in Figure 7.30.

Figure 7.30: Selecting rows in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Advanced Find

FIGURE 7.30 Selecting rows in Advanced Find.

5. Now select the Group Or option. The two selected rows are grouped with an OR next to them (see Figure 7.31).

Figure 7.31: Selecting rows in Microsoft Dynamics CRM with group OR applied

FIGURE 7.31 Selected rows with a group OR applied.

Running the query now returns all Account records in which the Account name begins with either a or b.

The Grouping options can be applied multilevel, grouping And or Or clauses by selecting different criteria. In Figure 7.32, multiple And and Or clauses have been applied to selectively return desired records.

Advanced Find Example

As previously mentioned, the Advanced Find feature is incredibly powerful. The following example demonstrates how to perform a popular find: returning all the Contacts that have had an Account created in the last 10 days so you can send a welcome mail.

1. Open Advanced Find. Advanced Find is always located on the main navigation screen on the web client and as part of the CRM toolbar within Outlook (see Figure 7.33).

Figure 7.32: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Advanced Find example

FIGURE 7.32 Selected rows with a group And and Or applied.

Figure 7.33: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Advanced Find on the CRM Outlook toolbar

FIGURE 7.33 Advanced Find on the CRM Outlook toolbar.

2. By default, Advanced Find automatically selects the Entity that you're working with as its default Look For. If you were not working with Contacts when you started the Advanced Find, change the Look For to Contacts.

Because you're going to be sending a piece of mail, you need to edit the columns to make sure that you're returning the right columns for your mailer. Select Edit Columns from the top toolbar and the Edit Columns dialog box is displayed (see Figure 7.34).

3. By default, when working with Contacts, only the full name and business phone are returned. Because you're going to be working with Mail, you need to select Add Columns located on the right navigation pane of the dialog box. Select the columns you want to have added to the results, and click OK to continue (see Figure 7.35).

Figure 7.34: Editing Columns in Microsoft CRM Advanced Find for Contacts

FIGURE 7.34 Edit Columns on Advanced Find for Contacts.

Figure 7.35: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Advanced Find for Contacts: Select columns

FIGURE 7.35 Selecting columns from Advanced Find for Contacts.

4. From here you can configure the sort order of the returned records by selecting Configure Sorting (see Figure 7.36). Click OK twice to continue.

5. You need to add the criteria now to your Find because you have selected only the Contacts and the fields you want returned. If you were to run your query now, you would return every Contact, not just those that are associated with an Account created 10 days ago. To add this logic, mouse over the Select option; it changes to a drop-down (see Figure 7.37).

Figure 7.36: Selecting sorting from Advanced Find in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

FIGURE 7.36 Selecting sorting from Advanced Find for Contacts.

Figure 7.37: Slelecting Fields and Related from Advanced Find in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

FIGURE 7.37 Selecting Fields and Related from Advanced Find.

Tip

Notice that, in the drop-down, these are the same fields you saw when you added fields to your query. However, selecting them here does not add them as a column to the returned records; selecting them here only enables you to add a filter on them.

6. Scrolling down the drop-down, you'll notice that the available fields to apply a filter to are broken into two sections:

  • Fields
  • Related

Fields are the base fields for the entity you're working with—in this case, the fields for the Contact entity. Notice that every field applicable to the Contact entity is listed there, along with any custom fields you might have added.

Related enables you to select related entities to the primary entity you're working with—in this case, the entities related to the Contact entity. Again, every relationship to the Contact entity should be listed there, along with any custom ones added.

Tip

The Related section shows you the relation and then the entity in parenthesis. If you're unsure of what entity the relation ties to, check the value in parenthesis listed right after the relation.

Select the Parent Customer (Account) from the Related section (see Figure 7.38).

Figure 7.38: Parent customer selection on Advanced Find in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

FIGURE 7.38 Parent Customer (Account) selected on Advanced Find.

Now that you have the relation established on your Advanced Find, you need to add the last bit of logic, Accounts added within the last 10 days.

7. Mouse over the Select under Parent Customer (Account), and select Created On. Notice that the fields displayed are of the base entity Account—this is because you're now working and able to query on the fields for the related entity. Change the option to Last x Days and enter 10 as the value (see Figure 7.39).

Figure 7.39: Microsoft Dynamics CRM: Adding criteria to a related entity

FIGURE 7.39 Adding criteria to a related entity.

Selecting Find returns all Contacts related to Accounts added within the last 10 days. If your query does not return any records, it may be because you have not adding anything in the last 10 days. Try expanding your search to 20 or 30 days or until results are returned.

As mentioned in the first part of this section, you can do several things with your results, including saving them, performing a mail merge, exporting them to Excel, or even creating a Quick Campaign with them to track whether any of your mail has been responded to.


Continue to the next section: The Microsoft Resource Center in Dynamics CRM

Download Chapter 7, Common Functions

Read other excerpts and download more sample chapters from our CRM and call center bookshelf


Copyright Info

This chapter is excerpted from the book, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Unleashed, authored by Marc J Wolenik and Damian Sinay, published by Sams Publishing an imprint of Pearson Education, March, 2008. ISBN 9780672329708. For more information please visit Informit.com.

This was last published in May 2008

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