The purpose of this blog post is for those of you who need a quick-start guide to creating fields in Dynamics 365 (or Dynamics CRM), or a quick refresher on how to create fields and the different types. We always recommend allowing a partner such as InterDyn BMI help with your initial setup of the system, or at least a brief Administrator training session prior to diving right into these configurations (especially in a live environment!), but we do understand that whether it be budget or just confidence in technical abilities, many users want to take a stab at learning it on their own.
The good news is, the configurator in this platform is designed to be easy to use. No code is required and it is very intuitive to learn. However, as with any system, the understanding to know exactly what type of field to use in each scenario is where experience and training really makes a big difference. With that being said, let’s start off where to go to create the fields.
Where to Go to Create New Fields
There are multiple ways to get to the areas where we can create fields. First, you can navigate to the Settings module, and under Customizations, select Customize the System:
Next within the customization module expand the entity you want to work with (I’m choosing Accounts), and click on fields, and then at the top, click “New”:
Additionally, as a shortcut you can navigate to the form you want to add/create new fields for and click the “Form Editor” shortcut. For more information on how to do this and modify forms, reference this blog on how to modify forms. However, I would recommend for beginner Admins to get familiar with the Customize the System module first, and continue to understand and learn more about forms, fields, views, and relationships.
Creating New Fields
Now that we have clicked the Create New Field button we are prompted with this screen:
With this being an introductory blog, I won’t go too deep into this entire form (again I recommend at least just a couple hours of training!), but I will go over the need to know aspects of creating a field:
Display Name: What the field will be called and viewed as on forms, views, etc.
Name: A unique system name. This will not be visible from the front end of the application
Field Requirement: Determines whether the field is required, business recommended, or optional to fill out on the form.
Searchable: Leave this as yes unless you are 100% sure you do not want it to be searchable (very rare, not much benefit gained by selecting no).
Field level security: Far too advanced of a topic for this blog, but just leave it as disabled, it can be changed later if needed.
Auditing: Again, a bit advanced for this blog, but as the name suggests, if you have auditing turned on in your system, this allows the field to track within auditing, for now just leave it enabled and if needed you can change it later.
Description: A brief description explaining what the field is used for.
I will very briefly go over the most common choices that you have for field types but for a much more thorough description of each please visit this training page from Microsoft.
Single Line of Text: Alpha-numeric or symbols, basically free-form to type whatever you want but only on one line. Various types of formatting can be applied for things such as phone numbers, emails, URLs, etc.
Option Set: A predefined list of options, also known as a drop-down list.
Whole Number: Number field without decimals, be careful when selecting this, you can’t change it to a decimal number later!
Decimal Number: Number that includes decimals, precision level (digits after the decimal) can be defined
Currency: Used for specifying dollar amounts (example: $151.23)
Multiple Lines of Text: Similar to single line of text, but as the name suggests it has multiple lines (larger box with multiple rows, you can click return, etc.). Think of a description field.
Lookup: Allows you to create a field that gives you the ability to create a reference to another record in the system, a well-known existing lookup field, for example, would be the Parent Account field. Please be aware though, this is by far the most complicated field type and there are certain things you should be aware of when creating lookups. I’ll have a follow-up blog specific to lookups to go into more detail on this, but again, this area in particular is where training really helps.
Conclusion and Where You Can Find Additional Help
I hope you found this blog helpful, however it is really just getting started with configurations within Dynamics 365/Dynamics CRM. For additional help please utilize the following:
Click here to watch a video walkthrough on our YouTube Channel.
Ask us for training! I can’t stress this enough, this is setting the foundation of your system, make sure you are equipped to do it right the first time! We have a very experienced training staff that can train not only your admins but end users as well, both onsite or remote.
Finally, if this seems a bit too advanced for you, or you want to ensure that your system is built by experienced, trained/certified, professionals who can do it right the first time, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for help! Click on the link below for more help.
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