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.

globalsearch8

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.

For more videos, blog posts, and information on Microsoft Dynamics 365, visit xrm.com!

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Query Relational Operator “Gotcha”

As a robust relational-database platform, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online offers numerous tools to sift through data. The Advanced Find tool is arguably the most robust as it allows users to create ad-hoc queries that can be saved and shared with other users. At xRM (www.xrm.com), Advanced Find is often one of the first things we train our customers how to use, because its concepts can be applied to so many areas in CRM Online.

This is not a post about how to use Advanced Find. Instead, this is a warning about one of the key query relational operators in Advanced Find. Knowing this tip can prevent you from overlooking crucial data or designing a faulty Workflow by mistake.

First, you may be asking, “What is a query relational operator?” In layman’s terms, it is the middle portion of a criterion in a query in CRM Online.

Query Relational Operator Gotcha

In a query, such as the one in the screenshot above, users specify the field on which they’d like to filter, the query relational operator, and then specify the parameters of the filter. Using the screenshot above, the query reads,” Show me all Accounts whose Account Name fields have a value that Begins With the letter ‘A‘ or ‘a’.” The available query relational operators change based on the field type. For example, a Date and Time field will present options such as “Before” or “Last X Months”. The query relational operator we’d like to focus on is the “Contains” operator.

CRM Online users learn early on that when searching for records using the quick find bar, the asterisk, commonly referred to as the “wildcard” character, can be their best friend. If when searching for an Account called “Some Sample Company “, a user enters the phrase “sample”, they will not get the Account record they want. If they use the phrase “*sample” (note the asterisk) they will get Some Sample Company in the results.

CRM Online searches based on character order. Since the first search in this example didn’t begin with the word “some” CRM Online didn’t see it as a match. The wildcard tells CRM Online to search the whole string to find a match, much like one would assume a Contains operator clause would behave.

Now we’ve arrived at our “gotcha”. If a user were to write an Advanced Find query like the one seen below, they would not get Some Sample Company in their search results. But why?

Query Relational Operator Gotcha

Because the Contains operator is already acting like a wildcard. The Advanced Find we just wrote above is literally telling CRM Online to search for an Account record that has an asterisk followed by the word “sample” in its name. Users unaware of this often get frustrated when they don’t see the results they are expecting. More dangerously, it can lead to users overlooking key data and making ill-informed decisions.

Workflows, which are automated background processes, commonly use these kinds of queries to trigger automated actions. Perhaps it’s necessary to automatically assign all Account records that contain the word “sample” in their name to a specific user. If the person who designed the workflow used an asterisk, CRM Online would fail to recognize Accounts it should be automatically assigning.

CRM Online is a powerful solution that is capable of meeting the needs of complex organizations and their data. Little oversights such as this one can have potentially harmful ramifications. Don’t be afraid to seek the assistance of CRM Online professionals at xRM to learn how to avoid pitfalls like this one.

If you would like to learn more tips, tricks, and tutorials for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, please check out our xRM blog and our Success Portal. If you would like to receive training from our team of experts, please inquire about our QuickStart Training.

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