Customization

[Applies to: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0]

State your terms: Use your organization's nomenclature

Each organization should have a common nomenclature to describe their work. Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides common names for all entities such as Account, Contact, and Case. But this does not mean that your organization has to change your nomenclature when you implement Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

You should customize Microsoft Dynamics CRM so that the names of the entities are the same as the nomenclature your organization uses. This can help improve user adoption by helping to make Microsoft Dynamics CRM work the way your organization does.

On This Page

Before you begin

Changing entity names

Publish customizations

Modify reports

Modify Help content

Summary

Before you begin

This article describes how to change the names of entities used in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. But before you start changing these names, you should make sure that you know what to change them to. This is not always as simple as it seems.

The introduction to this article said that "Each organization should have a common nomenclature to describe their work." But the truth is that not every organization does. Some organizations have been brought together through mergers and acquisitions or have traditionally worked in separate functional silos. As a result, groups of people within the organization use different nomenclature to describe the same things.

It is difficult to improve cooperation and processes within your organization when people don't use the same nomenclature. Don't ignore this issue. Customer relationship management (CRM) expects that your organization has a common nomenclature. Failure to achieve a shared nomenclature can result in confusion about the type of data that the entity is intended to capture. If this isn't clear, your users may enter bad data. This can result in GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out) and a data problem that is more difficult to fix. Also, you don't want to repeatedly change the names of your entities. Achieve a shared nomenclature early in the implementation so that you only need to set the names of entities one time.

You may have to explicitly define the definitions for the terms your organization will use to eliminate ambiguity. Understand the definitions provided for entities in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, but do not hesitate to rename your entities and refine the definitions if you need them to be more specific for your implementation.

Changing entity names

The names of entities appear in multiple locations in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. It is easy to change the name of an entity, but that is only the first step. To make the change consistent throughout Microsoft Dynamics CRM, you must make changes in the following areas:

  • Entity name
  • Entity form labels
  • Entity view names
  • Entity attribute display names
  • System messages
  • Reports
  • Online help content

Change the entity name

  1. In the Navigation Pane, click Settings, click Customization, and then click Customize Entities.
  2. In the list of entities, open the entity that you want to rename.
  3. In the Display Name and Plural Name boxes, enter a new, unique name for the entity.

    Note

    If you receive a message that an entity name already exists, the name that you selected might be a non-customizable system entity. You must select a different name because non-customizable system entities cannot be renamed.

  4. Click Save.

Change entity form labels

Change any form labels in the entity that use the old name.

  1. In the same entity form, under Details, click Forms and Views.
  2. Double-click Form.
  3. Scan all tabs on the form for any labels that use the old name.
  4. When you find one, double-click the field to open the Field Properties dialog box.
  5. On the Display tab, in the Label box, type a new label, and then click OK.
  6. When you have finished changing all the labels, click Save and Close.

Change entity view names

Many views include the name of the entity in the name of the view.

  1. In Forms and Views, double-click any view that includes the old name.
  2. In the View form, click View Properties.
  3. In the Name box, change the name of the view, and then click OK.
  4. Click Save and Close.

Change entity attribute display names

Each attribute in the entity has a display name. This name differs from the label that appears on the form. The display name is what appears on the headings of any views or reports that reference the attribute.

  1. Under Details, click Attributes.
  2. Review all the values in the Display Name column. If any of the attributes use the old entity name, double-click the attribute to edit the attribute properties.
  3. In the Display Name box, change the name, and edit the description, if necessary.
  4. Click Save and Close.

Change system messages

The remaining items to change within the entity itself are the messages displayed by Microsoft Dynamics CRM. These include all the text strings in the application related to that entity.

  1. Under Details, click Messages.
  2. Review the values in the Default Display String column. If any of the strings use the old term, double-click the string to edit it.
  3. In the Custom Display String box, make your changes.
  4. Click Save and Close.

    Note

    Some system messages have parameter placeholders. These are incrementing numbers enclosed in braces "{0}". You should not make any changes to these parameter placeholders. Parameter placeholders are replaced with an appropriate text reference when the message is displayed. This reference is usually dependent on the context in which the message is displayed, such as the primary attribute of the record. The primary attribute is usually the text that describes the record, such as Account Name or Case Title.

    Tip

    Some of the messages include error messages that users will view. You can modify the message to provide more information, such as a contact person in your organization. However, you cannot include hyperlinks for more information in the messages.

Publish customizations

To this point, the changes that you have made have not been published. There are several different locations in Microsoft Dynamics CRM to publish customizations. If you are viewing the Entity form, the easiest way to publish customizations is to click Publish on the Actions menu. After you publish your changes, confirm that you achieve the results that you expect.

Note

The name of the entity in the Navigation Pane may not respond to the changes immediately after publishing because the information is cached by the browser. You may have to press F5 to see the changes.

Modify reports

How to modify your reports depends on how your reports are prepared. In most cases, you must open the report and manually update any labels that reference the old name of the entity.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM includes Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services as the primary reporting engine. By default, all the reports that are visible in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM reports area are Reporting Services reports. You may also have other types of reports, such as Microsoft Office Excel reports that are available from the Reports area. In addition, your organization may have additional reports that are not uploaded into Microsoft Dynamics CRM, but do use Microsoft Dynamics CRM data.

Use this procedure to change the name of the report:

  1. In the Navigation Pane, click Workplace and then under My Work, click Reports.
  2. For each report that might be affected by the change, select the report, and then on the Actions toolbar, click Edit Report.
  3. Change the name and description of the report.
  4. Click Save and Close.

You should also check whether the old name of the entity appears in the report when you view it. This is typically found in a label in the report.

Modify Report Wizard reports

After you change entity or entity attribute display names you must run the Report Wizard again to refresh the report with the new display names.

Note

You can only use the Report Wizard to edit reports that were created with the wizard.

Refresh a Report Wizard report

  1. In the Navigation Pane, click Workplace and then under My Work, click Reports.
  2. Select a report created using the Report Wizard, and then on the Actions toolbar, click Edit Report.
  3. Under Source, click Report Wizard to open the Report Wizard.
  4. Confirm the following:
    • Start from an existing report is selected.
    • The report you are modifying is selected.
    • Overwrite existing report is selected.
  5. Click Next.
  6. Continue clicking Next to complete the Report Wizard, accepting the existing values.

Modify Reporting Services reports in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

  1. In the Navigation Pane, click Workplace and then under My Work, click Reports.
  2. Select the report and on the Actions toolbar, click Edit Report.
  3. On the Actions menu, select Download Report.
  4. Save the report .rdl file.
  5. In a product that uses the Microsoft Visual Studio integrated development environment (IDE), open the report, and make the required changes to change labels in the report to reflect the new names you have set.

    Note

    If you are making major changes, first read Writing Reporting Services Reports (Microsoft Dynamics CRM SDK).

    Save the .rdl file that includes your changes.

  6. In Microsoft Dynamics CRM, select the report and on the Actions toolbar, click Edit Report.
  7. In the File Location box, click Browse.
  8. Locate the .rdl file that you saved in step 5, select it, and then click Open.
  9. Save and close the report.
  10. Open the report to see the changes.

Modify Help content

At this point, all the text in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM user interface will be consistent with the new terms that you use, except for the Help content.

The Help content is stored in HTML files on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM server. You can add custom topics to the Help and make revisions to the content as you want. You can get the full instructions about how to modify the Help in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Software Development Kit at Customizing Help (Microsoft Dynamics CRM SDK).

Tip

Microsoft Visual Web Developer 2005 Express Edition is a free product that can perform Find/Replace operations on several files, which can help make this task faster and easier to complete. It can also search folders for files that contain a specific word.

Summary

You can change the names of Microsoft Dynamics CRM entities. This is important so that Microsoft Dynamics CRM will reflect the nomenclature used by your organization. Make sure to define your organization's nomenclature before you start. Changing entity names requires modifications to the following areas:

  • Entity name
  • Entity form labels
  • Entity view names
  • Entity attribute display names
  • System messages
  • Reports
  • Help content

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