Microsoft Connect, Your feedback Matters.

Microsoft Connect Feedback Site (https://connect.microsoft.com) has been around since July 2005 now, and it’s a great place to provide feedback on new releases of Microsoft products, particularly business solutions.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is no exception, and currently there are a number of new features and releases available to try, and provide feedback on.

All bugs and suggestions can be placed against each release, and they are actually acted upon. Some highlights of the portal’s features (they will depend on user access, more or less might be available):

  • Products/Release accepting bugs/suggestions:

  • CRM Releases accepting bugs/suggestions:

  • Example List of Items (users can vote on features/bug corrections to make them be implemented faster):

You will need to apply for most of the trials and login to be able to provide the feedback.

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2015 Update 1: Export to Excel Redesigned

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Update 1 (code-named Carina), available for CRM Online only, brings a lot of great new functionalities, in this post the full redesign of the export functionality is presented.

This redesign is mostly due to issues the previous implementation had. Overall some of these issues have been in Microsoft Connect feedback site (more on this site on a later post, ;)) for around 3 years now and in the top #10 of the requested features/fixes of all time.

What was wrong and how was it fixed?

So many things were fixed, but I believe the best is to explain in a table, as per below:

#

Issue

Fix/Redesign Applied

1 If exported as a static worksheet, the excel file could not be used for re-import to bulk update records. This was because the export did not contain the records GUIDs, and also the format extracted was .xls which was not a supported format for import. Now the export always brings the GUIDs, and the user can bulk edit and re-import if required.
2 The export for re-import file format was XML (spreadsheet 2003). This was not only pretty locked down (e.g.: no access to sheets area) as it was also buggy (e.g. ever tried to select a column to resize it? Excel crashed always). Now the format is .xlsx, and pretty much a regular excel file, the data comes pre-formatted as an excel table.
3 Formatting…Formatting…Formatting, so many issues here, e.g.:

  • Numeric Data exported as text.
  • Leading zeros disappeared.
Field format is now respected:

  • Text stays as Text.
  • Number as Number.
  • Currency in one Column.

Full details on how the mapping fully works can be found in section “Field Types Mapping”.

4 The alerts below would always be presented:

and

Not anymore.
5 Composite Fields previously had some limitations, e.g.: contact’s “Full Name” would always export as 3 different columns “First Name”… Now: “Full Name” exports the name in one single column, users can optionally select individual fields (e.g. “Last Name”) to get one of the 3 fields that compose the “Full Name”.

More examples can be found in the table below:

6 Previously the user had 2 download/export types:

  • Export static data, clicking on this would pop-up a dialogue (export would be in .xls format):

  • Export for re-import, only this one would have the record’s GUIDs that allowed re-import (export would be in xml format):

One-click Download: Clicking on the export to excel exports the excel immediately now (no export wizard is presented), with the following configuration:

  • Downloads all pages of the selected view.
  • Data is converted as an excel table.
  • File in .xlsx format.
  • Always Importable: GUIDs are also exported, i.e.: .xlsx is now supported for re-import (hurray).
  • Sheets selection presented (sheet name equal to view name when exported).
  • Column width scaled as configured in the view definition by default.

Example:

7 Download Limits

  • 10.000 records (a user would have to tweak this to have more, this was not recommended/supported):

Source: DynamicsCRMPros

  • Up to 100.000 records now.
  • Up to 32MB in size.

8 Upload Limits

  • Previous limit was 8MB

Source: CRM Help & Training

9 Everything goes:

  • All fields in all rows would of the updated in bulk, even if the user have not changed them in the excel file.
  • If changes to other fields were done in the interim from other locations (e.g.: Web interface; Outlook client) they would be reverted back to what the excel had.
Updates are now on a field by field basis. As with Outlook sync, now the bulk update feature only changes the fields that where actually changed in the excel:

  • leaving as they are.
  • This is also good for auditing, as now its clearer what changes where actually intended to be done.

Example:

Field Types Mapping

The table below presents in more detail the mapping that occurs between a CRM field type and an Excel field type:

One-Click Download

The image below summarises the actions that occur in the new “One-Click Download” feature:

Microsoft has a nice video on this here What-If Analysis using Excel with CRM Online 2015 Update 1.

Stay tuned, more posts to come on 2015’s Update 1 and its new functionalities.