How to Use the Import Template to Determine Fields When Customizing Entities in Microsoft Dynamics 365

When you customize entities in Microsoft Dynamics 365, you want to be extremely thorough in determining which fields you want an entity to have, so that when you import data, you import all of the necessary data, and don’t have to go back and make lots of changes later. Updating fields and forms in one clean sweep sounds tricky, but with the right approach, it can be quick and painless. Let’s go over one aspect of that approach that’s going to get you going on the right track.

Each entity includes a data import template that you can download. Not only can you download it, however, you can also edit it. The reason this is so useful is that the template for each entity includes a column for every single field within that entity as it comes out-of-the-box, which, essentially, provides you with a simple list of the fields the entity contains. What you can do with this is download the import template, review the fields it contains in comparison to the fields you need it to contain, and then edit the template, removing the fields you don’t need and adding the ones you do.

Remember, though, after editing the template, you need to actually go back into Dynamics 365 and customize the fields and forms for the entity to match the ones you outlined in the template. We have a bunch of easy-to-follow videos available for free in our Success Portal, including this one that will teach you how to do basic customizations, including customizing fields and forms; if you don’t have an account, get a free account just by setting xRM as your Partner of Record.

Let’s walk through the steps for downloading, reviewing, and updating the import template now.

First, log in to Dynamics 365 and click the down arrow to the right of the current app name, then choose the desired app. Within that app’s menu, click the name of the desired entity to open. Note: If you want to customize the entity name, check out this video and blog post for a simple how-to.


Within the desired entity, click the down arrow to the right of Import Data, and choose Download Template for Import from the dropdown list.


Click the file name to open it in Excel after it downloads (where the file appears will vary based on your browser; if you’re using Google Chrome, the file will be available to click in the bottom left corner of your browser window after it downloads).

Click Enable Editing along the top of the screen.


If you scroll to the right within the spreadsheet, you’ll see that there are quite a few columns. Each of these columns represents a field within the entity. You may find it useful, at this point, to open up a similar record within your old system, or be viewing your exported data in some way when customizing the template, to ensure you think of all necessary fields.

Go through the template, column by column, and determine if each field shown is relevant. As you go, make note of which fields should be removed from the template (and, thus, the entity), and which fields should be added.


Once you have created a comprehensive list, go through and use the list to make the necessary changes to the template, deleting and adding columns as needed.


Finally, when you’ve updated all desired fields, click File, choose Save As, and save the template to your computer.


Remember, before you import the data, you need to customize the fields and forms within the entity itself to match the fields you just determined the entity should contain. Use this template as you make these customizations to ensure you add and remove the desired fields.

After updating the entity’s fields and forms, check out this video for step-by-step instructions on how to upload the completed template back into Microsoft Dynamics 365.

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How to Customize an Entity Name in Microsoft Dynamics 365


One of the great things about Microsoft Dynamics 365 is that nearly everything can be customized to meet the needs of your organization, including entity names. For example, if you use the term “prospect,” not “lead,” you can easily change the Leads entity to Prospects to avoid confusion.


First, note that not all entities can be customized. All custom entities you create yourself can be edited, but some system entities and managed custom entities are not customizable.

Let’s get started.

Click the down arrow to the right of the current app name, then choose the Settings tile and click Customizations within the Customization column.

Click Customize the System.


Click the white triangle to the left of Entities along the left side of the screen to expand the menu, then click the name of the desired entity.



You can also get to this screen by simply clicking the ellipses within the menu bar for any entity, then choosing System Views.


Enter desired text for both the Display Name and Plural Name fields, and rephrase the Description field if needed. Click Save.


After saving, find the new entity name in the menu along the left; its menu will have automatically expanded, but you may need to scroll to find it, as the name will have changed.


After changing an entity (or field) name, you’ll need to ensure that you update applicable system messages. These are messages used in interface text and error messages within the system. Click Messages within the menu for the entity along the left side of the screen, and change the text for each message to reflect the new entity display name.


Either double-click the desired message, or click the check mark to the left of the message, then click More Actions and choose Edit.



Replace the old entity name with the new entity name in the Custom Display String section, then click Save and Close.


Back in the Solution window, repeat this process to customize the rest of the messages. Then click Publish All Customizations to activate the changes you just made.


Now, when you click the down arrow to the right of the app name and choose the appropriate app tile, you’ll see that the entity name has been updated based on your changes.


That’s it! Changing an entity name is simple, and only takes a few minutes. Check out for our 5 newest videos; new videos are added weekly! Plus, visit for a free Success Portal account where you can access hundreds of how-to videos on Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM completely free!

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How to Add and Remove Sample Data from Microsoft Dynamics 365

Microsoft Dynamics 365, out-of-the-box, comes with sample data installed, to help you get a feel for the product and its functionality, without affecting your actual data.

You probably won’t want this sample data to be there forever, though, since you’ll eventually have your own data to use. At the same time, though, you may, at some point, want the sample data to be there, such as to train new employees on the platform.

Lucky for you, adding sample data back in is just as easy as removing it.

First, check to be sure you have System Administrator privileges; you’ll need them for this. To do this, start by clicking Settings (the gear icon) in the upper right corner of the screen, then selecting Options from the dropdown list.

Scroll down in the window that appears, and click View your user information.


Along the top of the screen, click the down arrow to the right of your name, then choose Security Roles.


If System Administrator is not already shown, click Manage Roles, find it in the list and check the box to select it, and click OK.


Click the Save icon in the bottom right corner of the screen.

Please note that depending on your current roles, you may not have the appropriate privileges to change your role; if this is the case, contact your system administrator.

Close the window, then click OK in the window that remains open.


Now, let’s remove that sample data.

Click the down arrow to the right of the current app name along the top of the screen, then choose the Settings tile and click Data Management within the System column.

On the page that appears, click Sample Data.


Next, click Remove Sample Data in the window that appears, then click Close.

That’s it! You’ve successfully removed sample data. If you ever want to add it back, just follow the same steps, clicking Sample Data, and then clicking Install Sample Data instead of remove. Close the window when finished.

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How to Add New Contacts Individually to Microsoft Dynamics 365

When you first subscribe to Microsoft Dynamics 365, you’ll probably want to use the contact import feature to save time, since you’ll be importing lots of contacts at once.

After that, though, when you get new contacts, you’ll want to add them right away, so adding individually will make the most sense.

Adding new contacts in Microsoft Dynamics 365 is simple and straightforward; let’s walk through it now.

Click the down arrow to the right of the current app name, and choose the Sales app, if it isn’t already selected. Click Contacts within the Customer column.

Click New.

Enter as much information as possible about the contact. The only required field is Full Name, but it is always recommended to add more information.

If the contact is associated with an existing account, be sure to complete this field as well.

When you get to the address field, enter the address; please note that Microsoft Dynamics 365 may suggest an address based on what you enter. If the suggested address is correct, click to select it, then click Close. Otherwise, close without selecting to keep your original entry.

Click Save & Close when finished.

To edit this contact, click the check mark to the left of the contact name, and click Edit.

That’s it! You’ve successfully added a contact individually. Follow our blog, and visit our website ( for tons of free how-to videos and posts that will help you get the most out of Microsoft Dynamics 365! New videos on our homepage weekly!

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What Microsoft Dynamics 365 Can Do for Your Business

If you haven’t yet tried Microsoft Dynamics 365, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s go over the basics. This cloud-based platform builds and expands upon the features of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 while allowing you to access and upload data anytime, anywhere. It focuses on and unites the things that matter most to your business: people, data, and processes.

Big or small, non- or for-profit, Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers something for every organization Subscriptions are flexible and allow you to purchase the specific apps and access levels that make the most sense for you. If you don’t need the functionality of an app, you don’t have to pay for it. If 90 percent of team members don’t need administrative privileges, the price reflects it, with user licenses available for as little as $8 per month.

Combining customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools, Microsoft Dynamics 365 provides everything from customer-facing portals and  automated email marketing campaigns targeted at specific markets to coordinating across departments and scheduling the appropriate resources based on skill, location, and availability.

Dynamics 365 can aid your customer engagement, employee empowerment, operations optimization, and product transformation efforts, and take your business to the next level.

Check out to download a free 30-day trial of Microsoft Dynamics 365, access hundreds of free instructional videos, and learn about our training and implementation packages.

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How to Customize the Theme in Microsoft Dynamics 365

In Dynamics 365, the theme determines the colors within the platform, the icon in the upper left corner of the screen, and the tooltip that appears when you hover over this icon. In addition, the theme is easy to customize.

Click the down arrow to the right of the current app name along the top of the screen, then click the Settings tile. You may have to use the arrows to scroll over, depending on the number of apps you have.

Click Customizations within the Customization column.

On the page that appears, click Themes.

You’ll see CRM Default Theme in the All Themes view. The easiest way to create a custom theme is to click the check mark to the left of this theme name to select, then click Clone.

Copy of CRM Default Theme will be the name of the cloned theme; click the check mark to the left of this theme name to select, then click Edit.

When the theme opens up, enter desired text to name the new theme, and desired text for the logo tooltip; remember that the tooltip text is what appears when you hover over the logo in the upper left corner of Dynamics 365.

Next, enter the desired hex (HTML) value in the Navigation Bar Color field. This will change the color of the bar along the top of the screen. You can change any or all of the other colors shown on this page as well, in the same way.

Next, you can add a custom logo by clicking the magnifying glass for the Logo field, then selecting a logo from the dropdown list, clicking Look Up More Records, or clicking New.

If you click New, next you’ll need to enter text in the Name field; note that spaces are not recognized since you’re adding a web resource, so use underscores in place of spaces in the name.

Enter text in the Display Name field (spaces are permitted here), and the Description field, if desired.

Click within the Type field, and choose the appropriate file type from the dropdown list. Make sure that your logo file is one of the listed types.

Next, click Browse, and select the logo file from its location on your computer. Click Open.

Click Save, then click Publish All Customizations.

Close the popup window.

Now, after you add a new web resource, you’ll need to click the magnifying glass for the Logo field again, then click Look Up More Records.

In the window that appears, scroll or search to find the resource, then click the check mark to the left of the resource name to select it. The word “new” is added at the beginning of your web resource name, so keep that in mind when searching. Select the resource you just created, then click Add.

When you’re finished customizing, simply click Publish Theme. This will apply the theme to your instance of Dynamics 365 immediately.

At any time, I can change the theme back to the default theme, simply by returning to the Themes, page, clicking the check mark to select it, and clicking Publish Theme.

That’s it! You’ve customized your theme in Microsoft Dynamics 365!


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How to Set Up Global Search in Microsoft Dynamics 365

Global Search is a feature of Microsoft Dynamics 365 that should not be overlooked. It allows you to query multiple entities simultaneously with the magnifying glass icon in the upper right corner of the screen.

While out-of-the-box, Global Search is set up with default settings, customizing the entities and fields it searches to meet your business needs is simple. Let’s detail both parts: selecting entities and selecting fields.

Selecting the Entities for Global Search

Within Dynamics 365, click the down arrow to the right of the current app name, choose the Settings tile, then click Administration within the System column.

On the Administration page, click System Settings. In the window that appears, within the General tab, scroll down to the Set up Search section. Click Select to select the entities for categorized search.

The Selected Entities column shows the entities that Global Search currently pulls results from. As you can see, currently it’s only querying 8 different entities. This is how it will be set up out-of-the-box, but you can actually include up to 10 entities. Be careful, as you can select more than 10 entities in this window, but when you save, you’ll receive an error if there are more than 10 selected. You can do a couple different things in this window.

Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Select an entity by clicking it in the Available Entities section, then clicking Add.
  • Remove a selected entity by clicking it in the Selected Entities section, then clicking Remove.
  • Change the order results are displayed in by clicking a selected entity, then clicking Move Up or Move Down.

Click OK when all desired entities are selected.

Click OK again to close the System Settings window.

Selecting the Fields for Global Search


After setting up the entities to search, you need to update the Quick Find view for the entities you included in Global Search so that the desired fields are being searched within each of the entities.

Click the down arrow to the right of the current app name again, choose the Settings tile, then click Customizations within the Customization column.

Click Customize the System. In the window that appears, click to expand the Entities section, then click the name of one of the entities you selected for Global Search to expand. Within the desired entity, click Views. In the list that appears, find the Quick Find view, click the check mark to the left of the view name, then choose Edit from the More Actions dropdown menu.

In the window that appears, you’ll see a table that shows the columns of information that will display in the Quick Find view for that entity. To the right of the table, you’ll see Add View Columns and Add Find Columns.

Click Add Find columns and check the boxes to select the fields to search on for Global Search. For example, if I add Address 1: City, and Address 1: State, then I can type a city or state into Global Search and return a list of the accounts located there. Click OK when finished.

You’ll notice that the columns shown in the table will not change. This is you’re simply adding fields to search on, not fields to show in the view. If you want to change the Quick Find view, use Add View Columns, then use the arrows to rearrange them.

When you’re finished, click Save & Close.


Now, in order to activate these changes, you must click Publish All Customizations.

That’s it! You’ve selected custom entities and fields to use for Global Search.

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