Creating Views and Forms in Microsoft Dynamics 365

One of the most important aspects of customizing the user experience in Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the construction of custom views and forms.  These components can be created on standard entities that come with the out-of-the-box version of the software, such as Leads, Opportunities, Accounts and Contacts, or they can be created for custom entities that are designed to solve specific problems and meet specific requirements for the organization deploying Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Views

All entities in the system feature at least one view, which is a list of records of that entity, containing columns from the entity, and laid out much like an Excel spreadsheet. As an example, in terms of navigation, when a user clicks on the “Contacts” tile, they are presented with a default list of Contacts (the default view can be edited, changed to another view, or overridden by each individual user using the “pin” feature.)  Views are completely customizable. Figure 4 below illustrates a typical default view of Accounts, which results when a user navigates to the Accounts entity.

My Accounts View in Microsoft Dynamics 365

Figure 1 – A Default View of Accounts All views have columns and “filter properties,” also known as “criteria.” The filter properties form the basis of the query that filters the list of records.  Well-named views provide a clue as to the filter criteria used.  For instance, above we see “My Active Accounts.”  This is a well-named query, since the filter criteria of the view is:

  • All accounts where Status = Active
  • Owner equal current user

A view that is constructed in this way will ensure that whoever logs in will see “their” accounts and that those accounts will be in an “active” state.  

Skill ! An important skill in Microsoft Dynamics 365 is to fully understand the basis of any view. This is easily done by clicking the Advanced Find icon at the top of the screen after navigating to the view in question.  Continue reading these blogs for a step-by-step for this important skill.

Users of Microsoft Dynamics 365 can switch to different views easily, simply by clicking the small black arrow next to the view name knows as the “View Selector” as shown in figure 5 below.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 View Selector

Figure 2 – the View Selector allows users to choose a view The results of views can be exported to Microsoft Excel as shown below in figure 3.

Export to Excel in Microsoft Dynamics 365

 Figure 3 – The “EXPORT TO EXCEL” feature is available for all views

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Forms

Each entity in the system has one or more forms, which is a screen that contains various fields from the entity in question. To view an entity form, you can click on the name of any field presented in a view or double-click between fields on a view. This will “open” the record and present the form.  The form for any entity is presented as a number of tabs, sections, and fields.  Figure 7 is a screen shot of a typical form for a Contact record. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Contact Form                      

 

Figure 4 – The contact form for the record of Susan Burk

Figure 4 above shows the expanded “Summary” tab to reveal several sections (i.e. “CONTACT INFORMATION, POSTS, OPPORTUNITIES”) and within those sections are fields and “sub-grids” of related information. Using this robust method of presentation, Microsoft Dynamics 365 truly does present a “365 degree” view of information all in one place about a given record – in this case, a customer or potential customer named Susan Burk. The following information is readily available on the form or just one click away:

  • Contact Information
  • Company Details, such as Primary Contact Phone
  • Opportunities
  • Photo
  • Posts (news and related announcements)
  • Activities, Notes, and the Assistant (information fed automatically)

The Summary tab is only one tab on the Contact form.  Collapsing that tab and expanding the Details tab provides more information as shown below. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Contact Form Details Tab                    

Figure 5 – The Details tab on the Contact form – expanded to show information

As covered later in this blog series, forms are completely customizable, in terms of which tabs, sections, fields, and the layout thereof. Colors are also customizable using the Themes customization feature.