Maintaining consistent views inside Dynamics CRM using XRM Toolkit

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In this blog we will be exploring another tool featured in the XRMToolBox. If you are not familiar with the XRMToolBox, we suggest reading the previous blog “Changing icons in Dynamics CRM using XRM Toolkit” This blog is aimed towards people who are already familiar with the XRMToolkBox.

Once you have got up and running with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, you will have more than likely played around with views and tailored them to display relevant information, in a well-presented manner. In our example below, we have changed our “All leads” view to have five fields in a specific order, of Name, Topic, Owner, Status Reason and Created On”.     

XRM Layout 1

So what’s the problem?

After looking around your CRM instance or even performing a quick search, you will realise that the view column changes, and we are now presented with differing headings in a different order with more than likely different widths than our perfected “All leads” listing .  This is because all views need to be customised one by one,  changing the selected fields, widths etc. 

XRM Layout 2

In order to resolve this, we would normally head over to the “System Views” area inside Dynamics CRM and manually update each and every view accordingly to match our refined and polished view we wanted to use. However, this process is often a time consuming process. If you have found yourself in this situation, we have a solution for you which will save you a lot of time and effort – introducing “View Layout Replicator” inside XRMToolBox.

Before we dive into the “View Layout Replicator”, and how it works, it is worth noting that the tool will not change the actual data displayed in each of your views. For example, if you were to change the “Closed Leads” view to match the open leads view, the data will still display the Open and closed leads information. The tool simply helps copy the formatting of headings, heading orders heading widths etc. of one view into another to help present your information more consistently.

Getting started.

Once you have the XRMToolBox downloaded and opened, you will notice in the first instance that you will be presented with an overwhelming list of helper tools. Scroll down the list and locate the helper named “View Layout Replicator” as highlighted in red below and select it.

View Layout 3

Once selected, you will be prompted to establish a connection to your Microsoft Dynamic CRM instance. If you do not have an instance set-up and need help with this, please see our previous blog which explains how to get started with the XRMToolBox. If you have a connection already set-up, then you are ready to go.

Once connected, you will see an empty screen in the first instance. Press the “Load Entities” button located at the top to retrieve all the entities and information from your Microsoft Dynamic CRM.

View Layout 4
In our example we want to make the Leads Search Results layout consistent with our Open leads layout. We therefore are required to scroll down the left hand pane and select “Lead” as this is the main entity we want to change.

Once selected, the right hand side of the screen will begin populating with information. In the top box located on the right hand side of the pane named ‘Source Views”, select your polished and refined layout that you would like to use elsewhere in your system. As we want to use the “All Leads” layout on our Search results page, we have selected this view.

In the bottom box on the right hand side of the pane named “Target Views” select and tick the views you would like to update with your refined layout. In this instance we would like the “Quick find all leads” to be updated. It is worth noting that you can select multiple views in the target views pane. This is a real advantage if you want to change multiple views to use a single and consistent layout across the system in one-go.

View Layout 5

One cravat we have found is that any “Lookup” views require the “Name” field to be the first column in your layout by default. Changing this to something else can often cause problems. We therefore suggest you change the Lookup views manually inside the “System views” configurator if you want to change the appearance of these views.
View Layout 6

Once you have selected all the views you require, you will need to save your views and publish them. You can do this by selecting the “Save Views” button located at the top of the app, followed by the “Publish entity” button to publish a single selected entity or “Publish all” button to push all of your changes live to the CRM.

View Layout 7

If all has worked as expected, you should now be able to log-in to your Dynamics CRM and perform a search on your lead. Your original layout should now be displayed on the search results page, displaying and retaining the consistency you desired from the offset.

For further information, please Contact Us to discover more on customising the view layout replicator within your Dynamics CRM. Alternatively, you can visit C2’s Video Tutorial page. If you would like to try out Dynamics CRM, we offer a 30 day free trial.

About the Author

James CTwo is our blogging alter ego for the Dynamics CRM and Web experts here at C2. We have a passion for anything CRM, Web Design or Social Media. We love writing about it! Find us on YouTube & Twitter.

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