Written By: Josh Behl and Jim Scarff

from December 17, 2012

Flagging and Categorizing Email
By Josh Behl, Summit Group Software

One of the most utilized Microsoft Outlook features when interacting with emails is to flag and categorize those emails for future use. Often, these are categories users set up themselves for their own personal way of grouping emails, con-tacts, tasks, and other Outlook records.

In Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 operating within Microsoft Office Outlook 2010, Microsoft Dynamics CRM records can be interacted with in much the same way as Outlook records. Within Outlook 2010, when accessing a Microsoft Dynamics CRM view such as Active Accounts, notice that the last two columns on the right are the category and Flag columns. Simply right click the category column to categorize Microsoft Dynamics CRM records or click the flag column to create a follow up for that record. Keep in mind that these categories and flags have no impact on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM data itself, they are strictly for personal use and categorization of these records.

Once accounts or any other Microsoft Dynamics CRM records are categorized, users can create search folders within Outlook based upon those categorizations. The other feature users find to be very handy is the ability to right click a Microsoft Dynamics CRM record within a view and then take some sort of action on that record. For example, go to the Active Accounts view, right click an account; then add an activity to that ac-count without having to actually open the account…just like with other things in Outlook!


Using Excel to Clean up CRM 2011 Data
By Jim Scarff, Express Information Systems

It is often necessary to update multiple records in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. A common example is cleaning up account or contact information. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 gives a couple of options for doing this.

If all records need the same update, the Edit button in the menu ribbon makes this a quick task from any view. Simply select multiple records and click Edit. This presents the entity’s data entry form in with the caption “Edit Multiple re-cords.”  Enter new values only in the fields to be updated. Fields left blank will retain their original values.  Click save and the new values are applied to all re-cords. While this is the easiest way to make mass updates, it has two limitations. The first – all records must need the same update. The second – this technique is limited to 250 records at a time. This is the maximum number of records that can be displayed in a Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 window.

The real power to edit a large number of records lies in exporting to Microsoft Office Excel and re-importing data to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011. The first step is to export the records to be updated to Excel. Use Advanced Find to retrieve the records to be updated. Edit the columns to include the fields to be edited. Then use the Excel but-ton in the ribbon to initiate the export. Mark the check box to Make this data available for re-importing and complete the export.

The file that is created is actually an XML file and it must stay in that format. Depending on the Excel security settings, an error may generate when trying to open the file.  To resolve, right-click the file then select Properties and Unblock. On opening the worksheet, the left-most columns are hidden. These columns contain the record identifiers (GUID’s) that Microsoft Dynamics CRM uses to match the data on re-import. Before making any changes to the file, make a backup copy. This can be used to “undo” the updates should something go wrong during the re-import. Make the required updates to the work-sheet and save the data for re-import. Take care if sorting the data to keep the hidden columns aligned with the rest of the data.

To perform the update, start the import wizard from Workplace and select the modified file.  Microsoft Dynamics CRM proceeds directly to the submit or cancel options, bypassing the usual ἀeld mapping process. Microsoft Dynamics CrM recognizes this is a re-import by the presence of the GUID’s in the first columns. Click submit to complete the update. Check the status of the update under Imports in the My Work section of Workplace.  If there are any errors, view the details by double-clicking the import.