Move and Hide Fields – Personalization | D365 Platform

Bill And Ted 3 Officially Happening With Keanu Reeves And Alex Winter Returning
So-crates, from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)

Let him who would move the world first move himself” – Socrates


Rounding out this personalization series, let’s take a look at the move and hide features.

I think these two features should be more widely utilized. D365 forms are designed for multiple personas / business processes. Decluttering forms for specific personas by moving less frequently used fields farther down the form or hiding them completely is an easy way to increase day-to-day efficiency, as well as simplify the training/change-management process.


Move a Field

Open the personalization toolbar Ctrl+Shift+P and select the Move button. Click on the Field, Field Group, or FastTab to be moved. From there, drag with the cursor or use the Arrow Keys to indicate where the form element should go. I find using the arrows a bit easier to control. An orange indicator line displays where the form indicator will go, and Enter will set the field in its new location. Close the personalization toolbar to view the result.

Moving the Responsible field group to the end of the General FastTab.
Note the highlighted indicator line.

Result after closing the personalization toolbar.

Move can also be used to adjust the column order on a listpage.


Hide a Field

The hide feature works similar to the move feature. Hide can be applied to Fields, Field Groups, or FastTabs, as well as Tabs, Groups, or Buttons in the form’s header ribbon. It can be done through the personalization toolbar, or by right-clicking, selecting personalize, and then selecting Hide for the desired form element.

Right-click, Personalize, and Hide the Project team and scheduling FastTab.

The FastTab disappears from the form.

But Where Do Hidden Fields Go?

Dust. Wind. Dude. …Woah.

No, the fields aren’t lost forever. Using the Personalization toolbar, click on the hide button to reveal which form elements have been hidden through personalization.

Some parts of the Projects form are hidden, but which ones?
I don’t have a photographic memory.

Open Personalization toolbar and selecting Hide
What was hidden is now revealed.

Create a New Field – Personalization | D365 Platform

Statue of Issie, Japanese Lake Monster

In 1955, Bernard Heuvelmans created a new field: Cryptozoology – the study of imaginary animals.


Create a New Field

As mentioned previously, when adding a field through personalization users also have the option to create a new field. After opening the personalization toolbar, selecting Add a field, and choosing the desired location for the added field, users are prompted to select from an existing field or Create new field.

In the Create new field area, users can define

  • The table where the new field should be added
  • The new field’s prefix (all fields added through personalization end in _Custom)
  • The field’s data type (Text, Number, Decimal, DateTime, Date, Picklist, Checkbox)
  • The field’s label
  • The field’s help text (what displays when the hovering the cursor over the field)

Example of new Picklist field creation

Example of new Checkbox field creation

Example of new Example fields displayed on Customer form


Additional Considerations:

In a few clicks, a new field can be created and added to a form – saving hours of developer time, code promotion, and testing over the standard approach of doing this through development. That’s good. But with the ease of creating a new field, don’t neglect thinking through the below – which could save headaches associated with implementing any new field – whether through personalization or development.

Access

Who needs to see or edit the new field? From what forms? Personalization can add the new field to the saved view, but the new view(s) will need to be published to the desired users or roles.

Data Migration

How will the current data for this field be loaded in D365? Who will do it? In System administration, there is a form to manage Custom fields. Here, a custom field can be added to a data entity for data migration. The Custom fields form is also where field values like picklist options or the length of a text field can be updated.

Reporting

Does this custom field need to be added to any reports? It is easy to add a custom field to a listpage using personalizations. Visibility on the listpage is frequently enough, and Ctrl+Shift+E can be used to quickly export listpages to excel.

Custom Example field on Customer Listpage

If the new field needs to be added to a formatted report, or to a data model for consumption in PowerBI or another reporting solution, you may need additional developer assistance.

Testing

One last thought about creating a new field through personalization – it doesn’t follow the standard QA->UAT->Production path of regular code promotion. A new field can be created as a test in a test environment, but at showtime a user has to create the new field directly in the production environment. This is probably fine for fields that are “just extra attributes”, but probably not fine for fields related to a company’s core business. If additional methods or logic need to be applied to a field, it is probably better the field be created through development.

Additional Reading
Personalize the user experience
Create and work with custom fields
No Developer Required – Adding Custom Fields in Dynamics 365

Add a Field – Personalization | D365 Platform

untitled, field, farm, green, grass, agriculture, tree, plant, nature, outdoor

When he went out to plough his fields…his heart would fill with joy.”

How Much Land Does a Man Need? | Leo Tolstoy


D365 contains thousands of related tables with an almost innumerable number of fields – some say D365 has almost as many fields as this blog has fans. But sometimes a user just needs one more field.

Users access this table data through forms. Frequently, a form’s standard view will not contain every single field of related table data. Did you know the customer table (CustTable) has 203 different fields? Add a field allows additional table information to be presented on a form.


Add a Field

Use Ctrl+Shift+P to bring up the Personalization Toolbar and click on Add a field. Once Add a field is selected, click on the part of the form where the new field should go.

A new “Add columns” area will pop up on the right allowing the user to select which field (or fields) to bring into the form. Did you know that 3 of the 203 fields on the Customer Table are notes fields?

The selected field(s) will now display on the form.

If the field isn’t positioned quite where intended, the Move button ca be used to fine-tune the location of the new field.

Add a Field, Again!

It is generally bad database design to represent the same field twice on the same table, but not necessarily bad form design. For example, it may make sense to have customer currency in the sales demographics FastTab, and terms of payment in the Payment defaults FastTab. It might also be helpful to have this information closer to the top of the form. Add a field could be used to bring those fields onto the general FastTab in addition to their standard locations.

Add a Custom Field

Observant readers will notice the “Add columns” area also includes a “Create new field” button. Links below are included to outline that functionality – I’ll add my own opinions on the pros and cons of adding custom fields through personalization in a later post.

Additional Reading
Personalize the user experience
Create and work with custom fields
No Developer Required – Adding Custom Fields in Dynamics 365

Personalize Lock Fields | D365 Platform

The ‘Loch Ness Monster’ is not that kind of ‘Lock’. Regardless, you want to lock monsters from ruining your system with bad data entry.


Lock Fields

In personalization, Lock allows users to view fields, but not change their values. To lock a field, right click, select personalize, and then check the lock button.

As with all personalization features, these locked fields can be distributed to other users as published saved views.


Can’t This Be Done Through Security?

Yes. Without personalization, controlling who can see or edit what fields is managed through security. If you click on security diagnostics for the Vendor form, you can see there are two security privileges: one to view vendors and one to maintain (edit) vendor data.

To lock down a subset of fields through security, a system administrator would need to create a new security privilege (or modified copy of the maintain vendors privilege) and assign it to the desired duties or roles.

An advantage of locking fields through personalization is that it is easier to see which fields are being locked through the UI. Also, users can have multiple views – It’s possible have a default view where the data is not editable, but allow the user to toggle to another view where the data can be edited. This would be a more difficult proposition to manage through security. Pro tip – if you care very much about tracking edits to a particular field, consider enabling database logging on that field.


Lock Many Fields

Personalizations can be applied to individual fields, as well as Field Groups or FastTabs. If you want to lock lots of fields on a form, the easiest way to do this is by opening the personalization toolbar, clicking Lock and then clicking on the desired Field Group or FastTab.

Clicking on the Payment group controls all fields in the Payment group

Clicking on the Payment FastTab controls all fields in the Payment FastTab


That’s pretty much the whole concept – Lock, Stock, and Barrel.

Additional Reading
Personalize the user experience
D365 security topics
Database logging

Personalize Labels | D365 Platform

Campbell’s Soup Can by Andy Warhol

You say ‘Tomato’, I say ‘Tomato’ ” …a phrase better sung than read. No matter what label you wrap around a can of tomato soup – it’s still a can of tomato soup. In D365, buttons and headers have labels. The flexibility of having labels allows D365 to be useable in 46 different languages (including 9 types of English!). All the buttons are the same, but each has a set of language-specific labels. Custom labels can also be created through personalizations, then distributed to individuals or groups of users through saved views.


Personalize Labels

Right click on the desired button or header and select Personalize.

The label name will appear in the white field of the personalize box.

This text is editable, edits will change the label presented to the user.

These personalizations can be saved as a view (note the asterisk after “Standard view” in the last image) and the view can then be used individually or published to other users as desired.


Is This a Good Idea?

Well, maybe.

Without personalizations, label changes are a development task. A developer has to update the label file. That code has to get promoted up to the production environment. These changes then affect all system users of that language Want a label for only some users of that language? – just create a 10th version of English…then have that subset of users change their language preference. Personalizations is clearly a lighter touch for changing the name of a button.

But what is the purpose of a language? Common language facilitates communication. When I point to a can and tell you “tomato soup”, it’s only helpful if you also know it as “tomato soup” (Gazpacho…What’s that?). If sub-groups start referring to something by a new name, it can be difficult to talk about it across the whole organization – or describe to support technicians.

If Bob wants to rename the “Adjust transactions” button to “Bob’s Oh-no Button,” and have that on his own view…good news! That functionality exists.

Bob will have trouble describing “his” button to other members of that organization that know it as “Adjust transactions” in the standard view.

Clicking Bob’s Oh-no Button will still take Bob to the same Adjustments form (remember, this is the same button for everyone, only being viewed with a different label).

However, if accommodating a special request like this can facilitate change management, or win Bob as a champion of D365 throughout his organization, the exercise might be worthwhile.

So, Maybe.

Additional Reading
Personalize the user experience
How to create a label in Dynamics 365 for finance and operations
How to create a new language in Dynamics 365 for Operations

Personalize Required Fields | D365 Platform Update

Photo: Charge of the Light Brigade by Richard Caton Woodville Jr.

For want of a nail the shoe was lost;
For want of a shoe the horse was lost;
For want of a horse the battle was lost;
For the failure of battle the kingdom was lostβ€”
All for the want of a horse-shoe nail.


Little things matter. Sometimes little things matter a great deal. Adding required fields helps prevent little bits of data from being lost on the great battlefield of D365.


Personalize Required Fields

In Platform Update 10.0.12. Require has been added as an option to the personalization toolbar.

As long-time readers will remember, the personalization toolbar can be accessed through the option tab, or by pressing the Ctrl+Shift+P hotkey. Once open, the user clicks on Require, then clicks on the fields to be required, and then closes the personalization toolbar.


Saved Views

As Saved views, these personalizations can be published to the desired members of the organization through security roles (see Publish saved views link below in additional reading for more details).

In addition to being a no-development solution, an advantage to this approach is that different fields can be required from different users. Imagine a business process where a general projects team create new projects across the company, but project managers are expected to enter a projected start and end date for visibility once they are specifically assigned to and begin maintaining their project.

Requiring the field through a saved view makes it easy for the project team to create and update other elements of the project through a standard view, while the Project manager’s view requires these data points to be entered.

Project manager view requires project start / end dates

Error message for Project manager not entering required fields

With fields populated, happy projects are all the same.

Additional Reading
Platform updates for version 10.0.12 of Finance and Operations
Personalize the user experience
Publish saved views

Back to Work!

I’ve been on leave helping take care of my son for the last months, so I haven’t written anything for a while.

Time away from work has been refreshing, though I do feel like I’ve let down the fans.

Dear IamJoshKnox fanbase – Returning to work, your flood of messages in my inbox, your handwritten notes of gratitude, your trending of the #WhereIsIamJoshKnox hashtag on twitter were all incredible moving. To the thousands of fans out there (or is it millions? …are fans even something you can count?), I say thank you for your consistent support and encouragement.

Example of handwritten notes of gratitude

I feel like I owe you all an account of what I’ve done these past months and what I’m looking forward to.


What I’ve Done – Parental Leave

Parental leave was a joyful time bonding with my son and watching him grow. Every day consisted of multiple meal-times, nap-times, and diaper changes – though not always in that order. It taught me so much.

Meal-times taught me Persuasion.

Nap-times taught me Patience.

Diaper changes taught me Persistence.

Patience, Persistence, and Persuasion – the three P’s of parenting (at least the ones that don’t involve bodily functions). Fortunately, these skills are also exceedingly useful in the workplace.


What I’m Looking Forward To

Learning What’s New

During my leave, a whole new version and Platform updates were released for Finance and Operations. I’m looking forward to digging into these new features (and writing about them here…for the fansπŸ™‚

DynamicsCon

Mark your calendars for September 9-10: DynamicsCon is a first-of-its-kind, FREE virtual learning experience for Microsoft Dynamics 365 (D365) & Power Platform users and professionals. Having been away from the community for so long, I’m really excited about engaging with other Dynamics users during this virtual user group event.

Regular Work

Coming back from paternity leave is a return to normalcy. There’s tons of Dynamics implementation work to do, and we’re getting back into the swing of things. I’m glad I have a really good assistant.