As with any release, the recent release of Dynamics 365 has introduced a bunch of new features. Head over to the CRM Roadmap site, or the CRM What’s New site to see first hand the features that have recently gone live. In this blog we’ll talk about one of those new features we’re really excited to see get added to the project: Editable Grids.
One of the most sought after features since I’ve been working on Dynamics CRM is editable grids. The mantra of Dynamics CRM for the past 15 years has been read only lists/views, and a single record form to modify the data. In most of our implementations, we’re asked to create an editable grid to allow users to more quickly modify data. We even took our client specific editable grid solution, made it generic, and provided a free version of it for Dynamics CRM 2011/2013/2015/2016 for the community to download from our tools site.
However, Microsoft has released the ability to turn any grid in Dynamics CRM into an editable grid with their latest release of Dynamics 365 for Sales. Upon this announcement, I believe I heard all of the developers at Sonoma Partners let out a loud cheer as working with editable grids is a pretty challenging task.
Note that this new editable grids functionality is available for sub grids (that appear on forms) as well as home grids (the grid that shows when you select an entity from the Site Map, or when you expand a sub grid on a form to be full sized). And as you can see below, editable grids are supported on the web, phone and tablet clients.
What’s supported on the editable grids? Is everything you’re used to with a read only grid and record form supported? The quick answer is that yes, everything you can do with a read only grid you can do with an editable grid (plus more):
To enable the editable grid for a home grid, first go to customizations for the entity at Settings –> Customizations –> Customize the System –> Entities, and then click on the Controls tab for an entity you want to configure. In my example below, I’m working on the Account entity.
By default, the Web/Phone/Tablet will all be using the legacy read only grid. However if you click on the Add Control link, you can select the Editable Grid control in the dialog that pops up, and click on Add.
You’ll then have the option to enable the editable grid for the Web, Phone, and/or Tablet experiences by selecting the appropriate radio buttons. For now, we’ll just enable it for the Web.
For a Sub Grid, navigate to the form that the sub grid is on and find the sub grid you want to make editable. Select the sub grid on the form, and click on the Change Properties button in the ribbon. In the dialog that appears, select the controls tab, and click on the Add Control link. As with the main grid, you can add the Editable Grid control, and then configure in the sub grid properties dialog which form factor the editable grid applies to (web, phone, and/or tablet). We’ll choose just Web once again for the Contact sub grid on the Account form.
The Add Lookup link allows you to configure how a lookup will work in the grid. You don’t have to add a configuration option for a lookup. However, with this option, this allows you to configure filtered lookups for a specific view, just like you’re able to do on the form. Therefore if you have filtered lookups on the form, it’s strongly recommend you configure your lookups on the editable grids via the Add Lookup link.
The Nested Grid View and Nested Grid Parent ID are used to display a grid within a grid. Note that this functionality is only available on and Tablet. Clicking on the pencil icon next to these settings will allow you to select the entity to be shown in the nested grid, along with the parent lookup field on which the related records should be fetched.
The Group by Column setting allows users to select the Group By option on the top of the grid when actually working within an editable grid. Group By is different than sorting on a column in that it will put records into an expandable control based on the field that you have grouped by. Only the fields in the current view will be options in the Group By dropdown. Groups can be expanded or collapsed.
After you have your grid configured, your users can simply click into a field to be able to edit the value in the field without opening the record form. You can also quickly change fields via the keyboard (tab) or mouse.
To save the updates you made to the record, you can simply click off to another record, or click on the Save icon in the top right corner of the grid.
Users can also change the grid between the new editable version shown above, and the classic read only version via the Show As button in the toolbar.
Also note that the columns in the grid can be reordered per user per view. The column order, group by setting and sort order is persisted throughout the application until the user clears their browser cache.
With the new editable grid functionality, there are a handful of tips and considerations to think about as you’re configuring your CRM deployment.