Monday, November 28, 2011

Crystal Reports : Using a specific Group Sort Order

This is an oldy but a goody;

When Inserting a Group in a Crystal Report, the report then becomes automatically sorted by the highest level Group. This is usually no big deal, but sometimes, you just want a little control over "what comes first", by which I mean "what is printed on the first page".

Let us consider my father's management report for Hill's Heating. In his accounting software, Hill's Heating appears as a normal company alongside customers, so it would always appear on the sixth or seventh page of the Report, alongside the rest of the "H's".

So what I did was instead of Sorting the report on {CONTACT.NAME}, I created a Group on it instead. Then went into my Group Expert (Report | Change Group Expert from the top level menu) to enable the Specified Sort Order under Options. You'll be able to select it from the "in ascending order" drop down list.

Once you select Specified Order, the "Specified Order" tab becomes available. Here you can explicitly add the values you'd like to appear first in your "sorted" list (by selecting the items from the "Named Group" drop down list).

You will also NEED to go into the "Others" tab and select "Leave in their own Groups", otherwise any Group not defined the in the Specified Order is resigned to this "Others" category.

This way, I could force Hill's Heating to the top of my report, then resume normal sorting after that first entry was out of the way. Try it.

Crystal Reports : Using Multiple Sections

Did you know you can create more Sections within your Reports?

Select Insert | Section from the top level menu.

Here, within the Section Expert, you can create multiple Detail Sections, for instance. This can be very handy when using Suppress and/or Reveal to troubleshoot a report; the idea being to "split" complex or dense areas of the report into separate Sections, making it easier to deal with them as a whole.

I actually find it most helpful to create extra Report Footers, which can sometimes help when dealing with strange subtotals and Groupings. The idea there being that I can have two "sets" of footers, each with their own summaries and fields that can then be Suppressed and/or Revealed, even by a User Parameter.

HEAT – SETTING ASSIGNMENT DEFAULTS

These defaults allow you to set specifications for how assignments operate in Call Logging (and also in Web-based Call Logging).


To Set Assignment Defaults:

  1. In the Administrator main window, select Defaults>System>Assignment Defaults from the menu bar >> The Assignment Options dialog box opens.
  2. Select the default settings you want for assignments:
  • Require assignments to be resolved before call can be closed - Requires that the call be marked as resolved before the assignment can be closed. 
  • Require an assignment before allowing call to be saved 
  • Only allow one non-resolved assignment at a time 
  • Enforce Acknowledge Required - Requires all acknowledge-required fields to be filled before assignments can be acknowledged. 
  • Enforce Resolve Required - Requires all resolve-required fields to be filled before assignments can be resolved.

    Note: The system administrator determines which fields in the Asgnmnt table are acknowledge-required and resolve-required by setting these flags when creating the fields.
Click OK.

HEAT - CHANGING THE DEFAULT CALL STATUS VALUES IN CALL LOGGING

Call Status Values defaults allow you to change the default Call Status Values in your system, which will be reflected in Call Logging (and also in Web-based Call Logging). Default statuses are Open, Closed, and Reopened.


Note: Before you change the default values, be sure to manually add the values to your Status table.

To Set Call Status Value Defaults:

  1. In the Administrator main window, select Defaults>Call Status Values from the menu bar. The Call Status Values dialog box opens. |
  2. In the Select a value for "Open" field, type the status you want to replace Open (for example: Active). 
  3. In the Select a value for "Closed" field, type the status you want to replace Closed (for example: Complete). 
  4. In the Select a value for "Reopened" field, type the status you want to replace Reopened. (for example: Reactivated). 
  5. Click OK.

HEAT – CREATING COUNTERS

Create and define counters for use in Call Logging. Counters can be used to automatically generate PO numbers, RMA numbers, etc.
Counters are used in AutoTask actions in Call Logging (and also in Web-based Call Logging) to automatically generate numbers. The counters available are defined in the Administrator module (although users can change some counter parameters). For example, you can set up counters for PO numbers and RMA numbers. This automates the process and saves valuable time when logging a call. A maximum of 10 counters can be defined.

To Set Counter Defaults:

In the Administrator, select Defaults>Counter Setup from the menu bar. The Counters dialog box opens.

    Note: For existing counters, you can select a counter and click Edit to make changes. Select a counter and click Delete to delete the counter. Editing or deleting counters affects AutoTask actions using those counters.
    1. Click Add. The Counter Definition dialog box opens.
    2. In the Name field, type a name for the counter.
    3. In the Current Value field, type a starting value for the counter. 
    4. In the Increment field, type or select an increment value for the counter.
    5. If you want the counter to automatically reset, select the Should the counter automatically reset itself check box. Then choose a time frame (daily, monthly or yearly) and type a reset value. 
    6. Click OK.
    7. Click Close to close the Counters dialog box

    HEAT – SETTING THE ACTIVITY LOG PREFERENCES

    Activity Log preferences allow you to define which items and fields (called Watch Fields) the Activity Log records.


    To Set Activity Log Preferences:

    1. Log into HEAT Administrator, select Defaults>Activity Log>Preferences from the menu bar. The Activity Log Preferences dialog box opens.

    2. Select the item(s) you want the Activity Log to record:

    • Auto logging-Call Logging - Enables Call Logging to automatically generate entries in the Activity Log.
    • Auto logging-Auto Ticket Generator - Enables the Auto Ticket Generator to automatically generate entries in the Activity Log.
    • Auto logging- Auto Escalation - Enables Auto Escalation to automatically generate entries in the Activity Log.
    • Log unsaved activities - Tracks abandoned activities from the Call Log, Detail, Assignment or Journal forms.
    • Confirmation on Call Close - Tracks closed Call Records.
    • Allow Log Changes to Closed Calls - Tracks changes made to closed Call Records.
    3.  Select the field(s) you want to track. Tracked fields are called Watch Fields.

    4. Type a label for each Watch Field (reports refer to fields by Watch Field number). The label appears in Call Logging>View>Activity Log as well as on the Edit Activity Log Record dialog box.

    5. Click OK..

    QuickBooks: Alerts

    Alerts are important messages about QuickBooks or your business that appear in your Reminders list. For example, you might receive an alert that there is an update to QuickBooks that you need to download.

    TAKE ACTION ON AN ALERT
    -Go to the Company menu and click Reminders.

    -Click the alert you want to take action on.

    -If you click an alert with a lightning bolt next to it, QuickBooks connects to the Internet for the information you need.

    You can only dismiss an alert from the Reminders list window.

    DISMISS AN ALERT
    -Go to the Company menu and click Reminders.

    -Right-click on the alert you want to remove and choose Mark As Done.

    VIEWING ALL ALERTS

    -Go to the Company menu and click Alerts Manager.

    -You'll see a list of all alerts that have appeared on the Reminders list. This list includes all alerts that you've dismissed.

    -In rare instances, this list will not display an alert because the alert was a time-sensitive one that has expired. Also, alerts may not display on the list because they're no longer relevant.

    Crystal Reports : Using formulas to count

    Using simple Summaries (Insert | Summary) in Crystal is great, don't get me wrong, but they are inflexible. For instance, when summarizing (trying to get a count) on {INVOICE.INVNUM}, ALL invoice numbers are evaluated, including duplicates (unless a Distinct Count is being used).

    Which usually is fine, but there is always some sort of exclusion to be made; we only want invoices that DON'T begin with "000150" because it a House Account, etc. And you could handle this within your Selection Criteria handily enough; but let's imagine that it screws up other parts of the report; excluding House Accounts impacts other Subtotals, etc.

    So to accomodate this little pickle, we will use a formula to count, one record at a time. This is actually a very popular Crystal Technique and you see it a lot in older, more "veteran" reports.

    Create a formula called
    {@InvoiceCount}
    IF MID({INVOICE.INVNUM}, 1, 6) <> 000150 THEN 1 ELSE 0

    So what the formula is doing is evaluating the first six digits of the Invoice, and if it ISN'T a House Account, it returns 1 (we want to count it), otherwise it returns 0 (we want to exclude it).

    Now, create a simple Summary on {@InvoiceCount} and make it a SUM operation, this way you get a count of only the records you want (for the particular task at hand), without sacrificing any existing Selection Formulas or Summary operations.

    Crystal Reports : Grouping records by the Date, ignoring time precision

    Here is something very handy when you start to deal with databases that track both a date and time precision for records.

    Let us imagine we are trying to group call records based on {CALLLOG.CREATEDATE}, but when we create a simple Crystal Group on this field, we end up with a bazillion little groups, like this; (may look different depending on your database back end)

    01/01/2011 13:45:015
    01/01/2011 13:47:001

    ...so on and so forth. What we are really after is "calls per day", so instead of Grouping on the raw database field, let us Group based upon a formula;

    {@frmCreateDate}
    DateValue({CALLLOG.CREATEDATE})

    The DateValue function returns only the date portion of the field, so now you'll only have one group for each unique "day" in your database.

    I've always been a huge fan of grouping on formulas, it allows you total control over what values are being "grouped on", essential when dealing with less than pristine data sources; here you could even choose to exclude certain values, or build in any logic you'd like. Try it.

    QuickBooks: Customer Total Balance Invoice

    Q: How do I carry a balance forward to a future invoice and show payments made?

    A: Open the invoice (or the form you want to change), click customize (on the tan menu), click customize data layout, on the footer tab click payments/credits, balance, then click layout designer and get things positioned.

    This is a question I see/get often. Don't forget you can customize invoices as freely as you want. When you have time, create a few "practice" invoice templates and try colors, moving the logo, adding/subtracting columns.

    Now is the time to consider re-branding your image for the new year.

    QuickBooks: Returned Goods

    As the Holiday season approaches, I see a great deal of impulse purchasing. This is good for my clients that sell product. However, I can anticipate the question I get often..... "How do I properly return items into inventory after it is has been sold and invoiced if the customer returns something?"

    The answer is - use the credit memo. I liken the credit memo as the opposite of an invoice -- the invoice sends the product out and collects the money, the credit memo brings the item back and refunds the money and returns the item to inventory.

    Crystal Reports : Offloading Selection Logic into a Formula

    Here is a nice technique to use when your selection criteria starts to get out of control; offload the "heavy lifting" to a formula, then just reference that formula within the Selection Expert.

    For instance, let us imagine our Selection Criteria needs to test for multiple things; {CONTACT.STATE} should be either NY, PA or NJ, AND {CONTACT.SOURCE} should be "XMAS 2011" AND {CONTACT.LASTESTIMATE} is at least $100 but no more then $500.

    Now, the Selection Criteria for that would look something like this;
    {CONTACT.STATE} IN ['PA', 'NY'] AND {CONTACT.SOURCE} LIKE "*XMAS 2011*"
    AND
    ({CONTACT.LASTESTIMATE} >= 100 AND {CONTACT.LASTESTIMATE} <= 500)

    Note the use of enclosing parenthesis around the last two conditions; we want the LASTESTIMATE to be BOTH greater than 100 and less than 500.

    But you are a Crystal Reporter, and know deep in your heart that someday, someone will need you to change this report. Here is how I would handle the same situation; I would create a separate formula for each condition, thusly;

    {@frmState}
    IF {CONTACT.STATE} IN ['PA', 'NY'] THEN TRUE ELSE FALSE

    {@frmSource}
    IF {CONTACT.SOURCE} LIKE "*XMAS 2011*" THEN TRUE ELSE FALSE

    {@frmEstimate}
    IF {CONTACT.LASTESTIMATE} >= 100 AND {CONTACT.LASTESTIMATE} <= 500 THEN TRUE ELSE FALSE

    Now, once those formulas are created (and can be viewed right within the report itself, making troubleshooting very easy), you can use them in the Selection Criteria like this;

    {@frmState} = TRUE AND {@frmSource} = TRUE AND {@frmEstimate} = TRUE

    This leaves lots of room for compounding, making changes, and plugging in the eventual Parameters. Try it!

    QuickBooks: Send Letters Through QuickBooks

    Many people do not consider QuickBooks anything more than their financial software. However, you can use it for other things as well, such as sending letters via Microsoft Word.

    To get you started, QuickBooks includes a set of prewritten letters that you can send to customers, vendors, employees, and others. You can modify the letters to suit the needs of your business, and even create new letters.

    QuickBooks lets you select the letter recipients and pick the type of letter you want to send. Each letter type corresponds to a template (created in Microsoft Word) that combines text with QuickBooks fields.

    QuickBooks creates a Word document containing the letters, each one starting on a new page, and fills the fields with data pertinent to each recipient. For instance, a collection letter includes the customer's name, outstanding balance, and list of overdue invoices.

    With the holidays arriving, why not consider sending holiday greetings to all your customers, vendors, employees, and names on the Other List. Here is how to create a letter from scratch:

    - Company menu -> Prepare Letters with Envelopes.
    - Click Customize Letter Templates
    - Choose what you want to do. * Create a new letter template from scratch.

    - Click the type of letter template you're creating.

    Your choice affects where your letter template will be available. For example, when you prepare a collection letter, you can choose from the list of collection letters that come with QuickBooks as well as any that you created.

    - Name the template.

    Note: Remember to make the name unique so that you don't overwrite an existing letter template you might want to use later.

    A blank letter template opens in Microsoft Word.

    - Write and format the letter template in Microsoft Word.

    - While you're working in Word, use the QuickBooks toolbar to insert fields into your letters.

    If you don't see the QuickBooks toolbar you can reopen it. In Word 2000, 2002, and 2003, go to View > Toolbars. In Word 2007 go to Add-Ins.

    - Save the document in Word using the document name you entered in QuickBooks.

    To use this template immediately, return to the Letters and Envelopes wizard and click Use Template, then follow the onscreen instructions to prepare your letters.

    QuickBooks: Are Your Windows Open?

    When I work with clients, I so often find that they don’t close all the individual windows that have been opened. They get opened by clicking on the icon or menu option for a task, and then another, and another....

    One way to see how many windows are open is to select the Window menu option, which gives you a list of some of the open windows. There are people that will have more than 10 open, so this list is not all that helpful.

    Another option is to use the Open Window List feature. Select View and then Open Window List. This opens a sidebar on the left that will list all the open windows, listing the most recently used window first.

    What about when you close the file? If the file is then closed with all those windows open, they may remain open when the file is reopened, based on the preference set. If so, it will take a very long time to load as the file is trying to bring it back to the state it was upon closing.

    The solution.... close your windows when you leave. --- Window -> Close All

    The Thin Line Between Love And Spam

    As the email marketing services have become more prevalent in today's marketing efforts, so has the ability for the common email newbie to become the next spammer. Email clients intercept your well intentioned emails for garbage, folks delete others based solely on the images, and junk folders continue to get filled leaving you unable to successfully deliver your promotion or newsletter on which you have worked so hard.

    So how do we battle this? How do we make sure that our messages get to their intended recipient? There are a few things that I will lay out here, but keep in mind this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to getting those messages mailed out and read. Email marketing has become a science in itself, but it's a heck of a time to get involved if you're not already.

    • Watch your language -- Avoid words that spam killers look for like "free" and "money". While you mean well, if your email has these words in it it may well end up in a junk folder, or even worse, eliminated at the mail server where no one ever sees it. Some of the email services like ConstantContact.com actually have an "anti-spam checker" to give you an idea of whether your email will be seen as legit or spam by most filters.

    • Avoid too many images -- Let's face it, pictures are usually worth more than the words on the page. That's who we are, we love pictures. However, the tendency is to have way too many images which then become "marketing noise". Remember, you want to tease the reader making them want more. That's where you make those images hyperlinks to your web page or links to your product pages, really reeling them in. Oh, and before I forget -- NO TEXT AS IMAGES! Keep in mind; many email clients (Outlook for example) do not download any images until the reader gives it permission. If you have very little text and all images (including text banners that are images), your email will just look like a bunch of empty boxes with red x's, prompting for download -- at that point, tendency is to just delete it as there's nothing to attract the reader.

    • Always use the KISS method -- Remember, the objective of your email is to lead your reader to your website, drop you an email, or even give a call. Keeping that in mind, don't put too much on your email that they won't read it. As readers, we tend to be lazy -- get to the point or end up in the trash in many cases. You want to drop hints for promotions or articles, using the phrase "click here for more" as much as possible. In a newsletter for instance, a few well-placed paragraphs with "click for more" at the end of each allows the reader to pick and choose which articles pertain to them. The click through is the real success factor in email marketing as getting them to visit and spend time on your website is time that they did NOT spend at your competitor. Back to keeping it simple, just don't put too much on the page. Like the point about images, too much text, side bar menus, links, etc. can turn off your reader which is the worst case scenario.

    This may sound a little overwhelming, jumping into a new area of technology always is. However, this is not meant to scare you off, just encourage you to move slowly and surely into email marketing. It's a wide open field and quickly becoming the most popular way of getting your message out. It's more cost effective them direct mail, and reporting on who's reading it, who's forwarding it, and who's not getting it is more readily available to you. With all email services you can get these reports which are almost immediate unlike your direct mail campaigns. However, just be sure you're careful before you jump or you'll end up in the trash.

    When Do I Move to the Cloud?

    Last article, I wrote on what the difference is between the two cloud scenarios: Full hosted web applications vs. hosting your servers at a “server farm” to get the most out of support, hardware, etc. Being that most companies still utilize a client-server type application (they’re very hard to get away from) in some type of form, I’d like to focus on the latter type of cloud.

    Server hosting is a beautiful thing no doubt, but we have to be smart (as with anything) that we’re making the right choice at the right time. In my travels, I’ve been to some really interesting places where the company’s server is housed in a very tight, cramped, dark, dusty area which we all know is not good for a server that’s up and running 24x7. Dust and heat are the killers for these machines, and honestly who can afford to create a refrigerator style of data center where it is 60 degrees all day long, dust mats at the entry way, etc. all for 1 or maybe 2 servers?

    So, when do we move up to server hosting? This is a very individual answer of course, but I get people to start perusing hosted environments when they’re just about to buy a new server. You’ve seen the signs: the server starts to get real loud (sounds like a 747 is taking off from the backroom), shuts down every once in a while and takes forever to come back up, or maybe it’s just not compatible with today’s software as we move towards more 64-bit client-server applications. Next step when you see these signs is to get a quote from your IT support person, whether onsite or outsourced, where the quotes can range (trust me, I’ve seen it) anywhere from $2000-$8000 for purchase, set up, and configuration. If feeling brave, you can even go to Dell or HP’s websites and start shopping, but I know I glaze over as soon as I start to customize – I just don’t know all the ins and outs of hardware.

    To me, this is the first step in comparing costs in hosting or buying new machines. While making those comparisons, some advantages of going the hosted route to keep in mind:

    1. If going hosted, let the experts choose the servers for you. Chances are they already have the hardware and they’ll move you to a virtual environment that’s already in place, which is monitored constantly. You may get your own server or share one that is split into multiple virtual servers (don’t worry, it’s secure).

    2. I’m not out to replace your IT guy, but with most hosting companies they provide their own support staff which is part of the bundled pricing. Again, if you’re in good cahoots with your IT guy, arrangements can be made that they still do the support work, but maybe the contract price will be slightly lesser (there’s some flexibility here) on both sides.

    3. We’re a mobile oriented society now and it’s only increasing. Smartphones, tablets, and netbooks are allowing us to run our desktops from almost any platform. A hosted environment puts that desktop of yours in the virtual space, allowing for any of the above to be used to manage that desktop. We’re no longer tied to the desk, but we’re at the mercy of bandwidth – I say let someone else handle the bandwidth managing up-time, speed, and security.

    The above are just a few reasons, to look into hosting, but a cost comparison is necessary. Go ahead, add it all up: IT support costs, hardware costs, upgrading workstations, online backups, etc. and see how the numbers compare. You may find that a per user monthly cost, while it sounds daunting at first, over the span of a few years would match out to what you would spend over time supporting your own internal network and hardware. You’ll still need some support for your network and machines to access the cloud but it will of course be significantly less. However, after all that comparing, even if the cloud is higher, the benefits of a hosted environment far outweigh those of keeping it in house, allowing us to sleep better at night knowing our “stuff” is in good hands.

    Monday, November 14, 2011

    GoldMine : Display two Contacts Simultaneously

    Did you know you can view multiple GoldMine records simultaneously?

    By default, GoldMine displays one contact record at a time. If you also want

    to open other contact windows simultaneously, follow these steps:

    Select Window | New Contact Window. This will bring up the Contact List.

    From the contact list, select the second contact you wish to see and
    double click on that contact.

    This opens the second contact window. You will see a second record tab at
    the top of your screen. Then, select Window | Tile Horizontally for a side
    by side view or Cascade Windows for a Vista-style window display

    This option is particularly useful when you wish to compare two contact
    records in GoldMine. It saves time by eliminating the need to alternate back
    and forth between the two records.

    GoldMine : Setting up Spell Check for Outgoing E-mail

    A lot of users never bother to set this up, and I am the worst offender. But this is really a good idea; set up your e-mail to spell check itself before going out. Sure, it takes a little while to "set up" (i.e. teaching it to recognize words it think are misspelled, but actually aren't).

    1. Select Tools | Options | E-mail | More Options | Advanced
    2. Check the box labeled "Auto spell check before sending".

    Now, when sending GoldMine e-mails, you will get the Check Spelling window.
    You will need to "Add" any words that constant appear in your industry, or you can choose to "Ignore" them. The main idea is that once the dictionary has been added to after awhile, Spell Checking becomes more less painless and pretty much takes care of itself. Try it!

    GoldMine : Relinking a History item to a different Contact

    Did you know you can actually relink an existing history to a different contact? (Doing this will "move" the History to the new contact)

    1. Find the History item you wish to re-link (everything excepting e-mails is allowed).
    2. Right click on the History Item and select Properties.
    3. Click on the little black arrow button to the right of the Contact Name, near the top of the History dialog window.
    4. The Search Center will now prompt you to search for the appropriate Contact, do so normally, then double-click on it.

    The History is now linked to the Contact you just searched for, and this change should be reflected in the associated History tab.

    GoldMine : Securing Picklists

    Did you know that you can configure any one particular Pick List to make it easy (and consistent) for users to enter in data?

    1. Bring up the Pick List for any field you like by clicking into the field and hitting F2.
    2. Click on the "Setup" button.
    3. Here are a few of the most popular options:
    a. Unchecking "Allow Blank Input" will force the end user to enter in a value.
    b. Checking "Force Valid Input" will force the end user to enter in a value that matches a Pick List item.
    c. Pop-up when selected does what it says; pops up automatically when the end user moves to the field.

    I have a lot of clients that protect the integrity of the data model with just a few modifications to existing picklists. My advice is to start slow with this process; try configuring a few fields at first, then expand as you get a feel for how the changes affect the end users.

    GoldMine : Carrying over Completion Notes

    If you're using Automatic Followups in GoldMine, then you might want to set up your History Notes to "flow" to the followup activities;

    1. Go to Tools | Options
    2. Click on the Schedule Tab
    3. Check the box next to "Carry over completion notes when scheduling follow-up calls"

    Having this checked will copy the Notes from the currently completed item to the Automatically Scheduled Followup Item.

    MSCRM 2011: Creating Recurring Appointments

    The following steps detail how to create a recurring Appointment in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011:

    * Click on Activities in the Workplace area of the Navigation Pane.
    * Click on Appointment in the Ribbon and then choose Recurring Appointment.
    * Give the Appointment a Name and then click on the Recurrence icon located on the ribbon under the Recurring Appointment tab, to get options for setting up a Recurring Appointment.
    * First you set the Start time, and End time, which will automatically update the Duration. You will also notice that the Start Time, End Time, and Duration are automatically pulled from the Appointment when you click on the Recurrence icon.
    * Next you set the Recurrence Pattern, whether it is Daily, Weekly, Monthly, or Yearly. Then you set how often it will occur, these options will differ depending on which Recurrence Pattern you choose.
    * Finally you can set the Range of Recurrence (or duration), the Start range of when the recurrence starts, and the End range of when it will end. For the End range you can set it to have no end date, so it will never stop recurring, to end after so many occurrences, or to end by a certain date.
    *Click Ok and Dynamics CRM will automatically create a Recurring Appointment.

    You will also notice at the top of the window - “Only the first 15 instances of this series will be displayed in the Calendar”, which means that the appointments will still occur, they just won’t show more than 15 at a time in your calendar.

    GoldMine : Using dBase expresions in picklists

    Did you know that you can use an xBase expression as a picklist item?
    You simply need to add the expression to the picklist, prefixed by a tilde (~), like this:

    ~contact1->contact

    Try it yourself; let us imagine we have a value in KEY1 that we'd like to easily copy to the Activity Code of a new history item.

    1. Select Complete | Unscheduled Call | Outgoing Call.
    2. Bring up the Picklist for the "Code" box by clicking into it and hitting F2.
    3. Click "New"
    4. Paste in the following text as the new picklist item : ~contact1->key1

    Now when an end user selects that item from the picklist, it will copy in the value from the KEY1 field. Any Contact1 or Contact2 field is allowable. Have fun!

    MSCRM 2011: Creating an Email Template

    If you find yourself drafting the same email over and over again as you work or searching for a sent email to copy and paste text from, in Microsoft Dynamics CRM it’s easy to create an email template to use over and over again to save yourself time when completing your daily tasks. Below are the steps for creating an email template:

    * Click on Settings and then Templates in the Business Area of the Navigation Pane. Click on Email Templates.
    * Click on New and Select the Template Type. This will determine what entity the email will apply to.
    * Add the Title (Name of the Template), Description (Description of what the template is used for), Subject (This is the actual subject line of the email created)
    * In the body of the email, you can add merge fields to pull data directly from CRM. To Add a Merge field, Click on Insert/Update, Select the data field values by clicking on ADD and choosing the fields to be included.
    * Select the Record type that the field is related to and then the field. You can also add Default Text to be filled if there is no data to be merged:
    * Once the template has been saved, you can also add attachments to be sent with the email by clicking on New E-Mail Attachment and selecting your attachment.
    * Save and close and the template it is now ready to be used.

    You can now use the template and send an email directly from a record in CRM.
    To use a Template:

    * Open a Contact Record, in the Add tab, Choose Email.
    * In the email, choose Include/Insert Template and select the template.

    The merge fields will be automatically filled in and you are now ready to send the email without having to recreate the same one each time.

    MSCRM 2011: The Reading Pane in Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Outlook

    The reading pane can be turned off at a user level for the duration of your Microsoft Outlook session by doing the following:

    * In the Entity that you working with (i.e. Account, Contact, Lead etc), go to the View Menu and choose the Reading Pane drop down.
    * Choose Off.

    This will turn off the Reading pane for this entity for the duration of your Outlook session. The next time you log into Outlook and look at the Entity, the reading pane will be back on.

    If instead you would like to turn off the Reading Pane for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Outlook Add-In for All Users for an Entity, you need to customize the Entity as follows:

    * In CRM, go to Settings, Customization, Customize the System.
    * On the Main Form for the entity at the bottom in the Outlook and Mobile area, uncheck the Reading Pane in CRM for Outlook.
    * Save and Publish the Entity