Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Unleashed
Chapter 7, Common Functions
In Microsoft Dynamics CRM, entities like Accounts, Contacts, Leads, Opportunities, and Cases have the same or very similar functionality. This chapter from Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Unleashed discusses each of these functions in detail and also includes step-by-step instructions for working with Actions, Activities and Notes in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Unleashed, Chapter 7
Table of contents:
Microsoft CRM fundamentals
Using the Microsoft CRM Mail Merge Wizard
Running Microsoft Dynamics CRM workflow and other functions
Advanced Find in Microsoft Dynamics CRM
The Microsoft Resource Center in Dynamics CRM
Microsoft CRM fundamentals
Microsoft Dynamics CRM has a number of common features. By "common," we mean that, when working with most of the entities, they have the same functionality included in this chapter.
As an example, Accounts, Contacts, Leads, Opportunities, and Cases all have functionality on their main form that includes the following:
Because they are so similar (regardless of which entity you're working with), we have grouped these functions in this chapter to consolidate the description of their functionality.
The Resource Center is included with this chapter because all users of the application use it in the same manner.
The Actions, Notes, and Attachments options are not available on the form until the record form has been saved. The record form does not need to be saved and closed—it just needs to be saved, and an expanded toolbar will appear. As an example of what we're describing, look in Figure 7.1 below the new Account form.
After the record form is saved (which, of course, requires entering the Business Required fields—in this case, the Account Name field), the icon options for Actions, Notes, and Attachments appear (along with the other advanced options), enabling you to perform these actions on the record (see Figure 7.2).
FIGURE 7.1 New Account form in Microsoft Dynamics CRM prior to save—notice the lack of options on the toolbar.
FIGURE 7.2 Save Account form in Microsoft Dynamic CRM after save—notice the toolbar options that have appeared.
The Actions icon (presented with a small hand on a star) has a drop-down menu that enables you to easily perform a number of Actions on a record without having to navigate to the near navigation. It often reduces the total number of clicks to accomplish something. The following Actions are available to Accounts, Contacts, Opportunities, and Leads. Although each Entity has Actions specific to it that are not listed, these are the most common:
- Add Activity
- Add a Note
- Attach a File
- Add Additional Address (Accounts and Contacts)
- Add to Marketing List (Accounts, Contacts, and Opportunities)
- Add Relationship (Accounts, Contacts, and Opportunities)
- Delete Record
- Deactivate Record (or Activate Record, if it is deactivated)
- Mail Merge (Accounts, Contacts, and Leads)
- Copy Shortcut
- Send Shortcut
Most of the options available in the Actions drop-down menu are available elsewhere on the form and, in fact, are merely shortcuts. (For example, Add Additional Address has the same functionality as if you went to More Addresses and selected New Address.) Additionally, the Copy Shortcut and Send Shortcut options from the Actions drop-down menu should not be confused with the Copy Shortcut and Send Shortcut options from the More Actions when working with subrecords (explained later in this chapter).
Add Activity enables you to quickly add a new Activity to the main entity you're working with. When selecting this option, it has the same effect as selecting Activities from the near navigation and selecting New.
For a complete list of the available Activities, see the "Activities" section later in this chapter.
Add a Note
Add a Note opens the note dialog box with Regarding set to the entity you're working with by default (see Figure 7.3).
FIGURE 7.3 Add new note dialog box.
When working with the Add a Note option, you have the capability to enter the title of the note, as well as upload a file from the same form. This is helpful because the main Notes tab allows you to enter only the note, not the title. (See the "Notes" section later in this chapter.)
Attach a File
Attach a File opens the attachment dialog box, enabling you to upload a file to the entity you're working with. The uploaded file appears within the Notes tab section. Any file type can be uploaded and then opened by clicking the file within the Notes section (see Figure 7.4).
Previously, there was a 4MB limitation when uploading files. If you wanted to change this limitation, you had to perform a series of Registry edits. This version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM has increased the limitation to 5MB, and you can easily set and change this by navigating to the Systems Settings section of the Settings section.
FIGURE 7.4 Add attachment.
Add Additional Address
Add Additional Address has the same functionality as selecting More Addresses from the near navigation and selecting New.
Add to Marketing List
Add to Marketing List enables you to quickly add the entity to an existing Marketing List. As explained in Chapter 11, "Working with Marketing," Marketing Lists are specific to Accounts, Contacts, or Leads. If you are working with Accounts and have only Marketing Lists for Contacts, you will be unable to add the Account to the existing Marketing List. However, you can create a new Marketing List for Accounts after you select Add to Marketing List that consists of only the Account you're working with. (You can manage the Marketing List further either by opening it under Marketing Lists on the Account page or by navigating to Marketing and selecting Marketing Lists there.)
Unlike the near navigation option of Relationships, which enables you to create only a Customer Relationship, you can easily associate the entity with an Opportunity relationship. For more information about relationships, refer to Chapter 8, "Working with Customers."
Delete Entity enables you to completely delete the record. Use this option with caution and carefully consider whether you want to delete or deactivate a record (see the next section). The reason for this is that when an Entity such as an Account is deleted, all records associated with the account are deleted and features such as reporting on the record are no longer available.
In some circumstances, you aren't allowed to delete an entity and you receive a warning message. An example of this is when you try to delete an Account that has a Contract associated with it. Your only option in this case is to remove the Contract association or deactivate the record.
Deleting an Account has the following actions:
- Contacts associated with the Account are deleted.
- Activities associated with the Account are deleted.
- Opportunities associated with the Account are deleted.
- Subaccounts associated with the Account are not deleted but are removed from the Account.
- The Account is deleted and no longer available to report on.
Deleting a Contact has the following actions:
- Activities associated with the Contact are deleted.
- Opportunities associated with the Contact are deleted.
- Cases associated with the Contact are deleted.
- Subcontacts associated with the Contact are not deleted but are removed from the Contact.
- The Contact is deleted and no longer available to report on.
Deleting a Lead has the following actions:
- The Lead is deleted and no longer available to report on.
Deleting an Opportunity has the following actions:
- The Opportunity is deleted and no longer available to report on.
Even though you might have chosen Delete from the Actions menu, a warning should appear alerting you that you are about to perform the requested action. Furthermore, when you are deleting Accounts or Contacts, an option to merely deactivate is presented on the warning pop-up menu (see Figure 7.5).
FIGURE 7.5 Confirm record deletion dialog box.
Deactivate Record (or Activate Record, if it is deactivated) enables you to set the status of the record. This is the preferred method (rather than deleting) when working with older records because reporting visibility remains along with historical information. Also, when a record is deactivated, the associated records are kept as active as opposed to when it is deleted and the associated records are deleted. This is an important distinction, as it is possible to deactivate an Account and still have active Contacts that are associated with the Account that must be manually deactivated as well.
The status of a record is always shown in the bottom lower-left corner of the main entity form.
Continue to the next section: Using the Microsoft CRM Mail Merge Wizard
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This was first published in May 2008