Customization

[Applies to: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0]

Tailor activities to match your employees' tasks

Confused about the way activities work in Microsoft Dynamics CRM? Here's the answer. Knowing this, you'll be able to customize existing activity entities and add new activity types to match the way your employees work.

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Activity records are split between three entities

Activities are displayed using aggregated and separate entity views

Activity data is entered on individual activity forms

Activities can be renamed or used for multiple activity types

Activity records are split between three entities

The Activity entity (name: activitypointer) stores generic information that is tracked for every type of activity, such as the owner, the subject, the description, the status, the actual and scheduled duration, start, and end, and what the activity is regarding. You cannot add or edit attributes in this entity.

Specific activity entities store unique information for each activity type. For example, the E-mail activity entity stores the direction (outgoing or incoming) for each e-mail activity and whether a delivery receipt was requested. You can add attributes to these customizable activity entities:

  • E-mail
  • Task
  • Letter
  • Fax
  • Phone Call
  • Appointment
  • Campaign Activity
  • Campaign Response
  • Service Activity

Activities are displayed using aggregated and separate entity views

When you look at the Activities area in the Workplace, you'll see special views that combine all the different types of activities in one view. These views cannot be deleted, but you can modify them and you can add new ones. Combined activity views are customized in the Activity entity form in the Customize Entities area.

There are individual views for each activity type. The default individual-activity views cannot be deleted, but you can modify them and you can add new ones. The views for each activity type are customized in the entity form for each customizable entity in the Customize Entities area.

Activity data is entered on individual activity forms

Activities are entered on customizable, individual forms for each activity type, not on a generic activity form or on a form for the Activity Party entity. This lets you modify the data that is collected for each type of activity.

Activities can be renamed or used for multiple activity types

You can customize existing activity entities, but cannot add new activity entities. When you need to add a new type of activity, you have two options:

  • Rename an existing activity entity that you don't use at your organization.
  • Customize an existing activity entity so that it can handle your new activity and its original purpose.

For example, if you need a new entity to store Web responses and your organization doesn't use the Fax entity, you could rename and customize it. Or if your organization does use the Fax entity, you could rename it to Fax and Web Response, and customize it to support both activity types.

Using this example, to customize one activity entity to support multiple activity types, follow these steps:

  1. Rename the entity to "Fax and Web Response."
  2. Add a new attribute called Type to the entity, with two picklist options: Fax and Web Response.
  3. Add any new attributes to the form that are needed for Web Response tracking, such as the new Type attribute.
  4. Use an onChange event on the form so that when a user selects either Fax or Web Response, the correct fields are displayed on the form.
  5. Modify the default views for the entity to display just fax information.
  6. Add new views that display just Web responses.

You cannot modify the icons for existing entities. Your customized existing entity will retain the original icon.

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