Using Templates for Data Import in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Once you have chosen to deploy Microsoft Dynamics CRM, one of the first challenges you will face is getting your data out of your existing CRM solution and into your Microsoft Dynamics CRM database for the first time. Most small businesses use some combination of spreadsheets, BCM, or a CRM-like application, such as Goldmine or Act. Fortunately, many CRM systems will allow you to export your data to a spreadsheet in either .csv, .xml, .txt, or .zip formats, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM makes it pretty easy to import these records into your new CRM database using the Import Data Wizard.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Data Management

The Import Data Wizard

To access the Import Data Wizard, navigate to Settings > Data Management, and click Imports. Once the My Imports View opens, you will see an option in the Command Bar labeled “Import Data.” Click the Import Data button in the Command Bar to open the Import Data Wizard.

The Import Data Wizard allows you to import data from .xml, .csv, .txt, and .zip files. Once you have selected the file that you wish to upload, the Import Data Wizard will ask you to choose a CRM record type and then requires that you map the fields in the source file to fields within CRM, which is the most challenging part of using the wizard.

Mapping fields in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Templates for Data Import

Microsoft Dynamics CRM also provides you with the option to utilize one of the out-of-the-box Templates for Data Import to make the initial data importation process more seamless and a little less challenging. Dynamics CRM provides templates for all of the entities in the system, including common ones such as Contact, Opportunity, Lead, Account, and Case records. To access the templates, navigate to Settings > Data Management, and click Templates for Data Import.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Templates for Data Import

The Templates for Data Import work great for importing data and creating standard records in your database because the fields are already mapped for you. An important tip to keep in mind is that you don’t have to fill every column of the template. You can leave columns you don’t plant to use blank or delete the columns altogether. However, you will need to make sure that you don’t have data on your spreadsheet outside of a labeled column. If you do, your import will fail.

Creating Custom Templates Using Advanced Find

You can also create your own customized Templates for Data Import using the Advanced Find tool. This approach is especially useful if you have created custom fields or entities in your Microsoft Dynamics CRM database. The video below walks you through the process of creating your own templates using the Advanced Find tool.

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Google Chrome Temporarily Incompatible with Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Thanks to a recent update of Google Chrome (Google Chrome 37, released on Sept 5, 2014) Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, Dynamics CRM 2011, and Dynamics CRM Online are no longer compatible with the popular web browser.

If Chrome is your browser of choice, you may have noticed some strange behavior recently when attempting to use it to access your Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, CRM 2013, or CRM 2011 database. Google made several changes to the APIs in Chrome 37 upon which Microsoft Dynamics CRM relied. Since last week, we have noticed a variety of problems that have propped up when we attempted to use Chrome. If you discover others, please mention them by commenting below.

  1. The Export to Excel function no longer works.
  2. The form editor refuses to open.
  3. You can no longer add options to Option Set fields.
  4. Changes made to an email in a workflow cannot be saved.
  5. Field properties cannot be saved.
  6. The ‘Upload’ button on the SharePoint list component no longer works.
  7. The ‘window.showModalDialog’ function no longer works.

Fortunately, there are a couple of workarounds that you can employ:

  1. Use Firefox or Internet Explorer instead of Google Chrome until the issue has been resolved.
  2. Enable the deprecated web platform features. Neil McDonald has explained how to enable deprecated web platform features on his blog, which you can read at http://xrmrocks.com/2014/09/08/chrome-37-breaks-crm-2011-functionality/.

We will continue to update this blog as more information becomes available.

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The Ultimate CRM for Outlook Guide – Introduction

Welcome to the first post from the “Ultimate CRM for Outlook Guide” series. In this post, we explain what Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 for Microsoft Office  is and discuss the benefits of using the add-in with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online or Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013.

What is Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 for Microsoft Office Outlook?

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 for Microsoft Office Outlook (CRM for Outlook) is an add-in that allows CRM 2013 and CRM Online users to access records in their CRM database directly from Outlook. The add-in is a free software component that adds functionality to Microsoft Office Outlook, and it must be installed locally on each computer.

The CRM for Outlook add-in is a true differentiator for Microsoft Dynamics CRM. While many other CRM applications provide some level of email tracking through Outlook, CRM for Outlook provides a high level of integration between your CRM Online or CRM 2013 database and Outlook. If you currently use Outlook for email, calendar, and contact management, and are looking for a CRM solution, Microsoft Dynamics CRM should be on your shortlist of potential CRM systems.

Key Benefits of CRM for Outlook

CRM for Outlook provides a number of benefits for Microsoft Dynamics CRM users:

  1. It allows users to access CRM records directly in Outlook without having to open up their web browsers and log into the CRM organization.
  2. It makes it very easy to track incoming and outgoing emails from your Outlook inbox.
  3. It allows users to create new CRM records, including Tasks, Faxes, Appointments, Service Activities, and Campaign Responses directly from the CRM tab in Outlook.
  4. It allows users to track Outlook appointments in CRM.
  5. It provides a shortcut for converting emails into Opportunity, Case, or Lead records.
  6. It can improve user adoption because the plugin allows users to a familiar user interface for Outlook users.
  7. It can provide offline access to records in the CRM database.
  8. It provides the ability to refresh data in Microsoft Office Excel directly from CRM.

Cost of the CRM for Outlook Plugin

The CRM for Outlook add-in is free for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online subscribers and CRM 2013 license holders.

Compatibility

The CRM for Outlook add-in is compatible with Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010, and Outlook 2013 on computers running Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1.

It is not compatible with Microsoft Office Outlook for Mac OS X.

Downloading Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 for Microsoft Outlook

CRM for Outlook is available to download from the Microsoft Download Center. Click the following link to

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=40344

The “Ultimate CRM for Outlook Guide” series

Part I – Introduction to the Ultimate CRM for Outlook Guide
Part II – Installing the CRM for Outlook Add-In

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