One of the best things about Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 is how much the user experience has been streamlined and cleaned up. In previous editions of Dynamics CRM, navigation and record creation was largely menu driven. In order to add relational data from one record to another, you would have to leave the form you were on, and then move to a new form. If you’re using one of these older versions, this is, of course, both cumbersome and slow—you can’t add new records while you’re in the middle of working on one without stopping and saving your current data, navigating away from your work, and then created the related data on a separate form.
Dynamics CRM 2011 improved this situation somewhat by allowing you to put the sub-grid inline on the form itself, but you would still have to navigate to a separate form to enter the details. In an ideal world, you would have streamlined data entry that both improves the usability of the CRM and improves your productivity.
Thanks to some new features of Dynamics CRM 2013, you can simply click a button and start typing. For instance, previously, if you wanted to add a new line item to an order, you would have to navigate to the order products sub-grid on the order form, and then click the ‘Add New Order Product,’ going to a wholly separate form to enter in the line item details. However, in Dynamics CRM 2013, it’s far easier.
First, create and save your order form (or start with an existing one if you have one). Then, click the ‘+’ button on the products sub-grid:
You’ll get a context menu with choices to add an existing product, a write-in product, or to look up products from a previous opportunity:
You can either lookup your product or write it in accordingly:
Once you’ve added the new line item (whether an existing product or a write), you can edit each one simply by highlighting the row and making your changes:
This functionality works on opportunities, quotes, and invoices as well.
What about other record types, though? Well, although accounts don’t feature inline editable grids, they have made it easier to add contacts directly from the account form. In the new contacts area, you can quickly add new contacts by simply clicking the ‘+’ button on the contacts grid:
From there you can look up an existing contact record to associate it with the account or add a new one:
Even if you elect to add a new record, you’re no longer whisked away from your current work. Instead, you are simply given a menu at the top of the account form to allow you to enter the new contact information without leaving your current context:
And what about for custom entities and relationships? Unfortunately, this is where the built-in fun ends. Microsoft hasn’t made these features available as part of the system customization editor in Dynamics CRM 2013, nor do they have any plans to do so in the near future. But there’s no reason to despair. Several add-on solutions are available to create editable sub-grids on your CRM records. And if an add-on solution doesn’t meet your needs, one of our CRM experts can meet with you and create a grid solution especially for you.