Thursday, May 29, 2014

Crystal Reports : JOINs Refresher

It isn't often that you'll need to worry about this, but it is something all Crystal Reporters should know. You can change the default table JOINs in Crystal to mimic the other JOINs available within the SQL syntax;

Within the Visual Linking Expert (Database | Visual Linking Expert), we can create JOINS between the tables that make up our report.

For those of us that have more complex needs or a more modular (relational) database (i.e. many tables) may need to use different kinds of JOINS. The "default" JOIN type is INNER.

1. Within the Visual Linking Expert, right click on a "link" (right on the line).
2. Select "Options".
3. At the bottom right of the window, you may select a JOIN type. All the expected types are listed (i.e. LEFT OUTER, RIGHT OUTER, etc).

Note: Changing this will impact your expected recordcounts. It is advisable to be familiar with all the JOIN types before modifying. It's always a good idea to write down how many records are being returned before changing the JOIN. That way, you can really see how the JOIN is impacting the report.

Crystal Reports : MID() Refresher

Ah, MID(). Is there anything you can't do?

Let us suppose that we are reporting on history, and our field {HISTORY.REF} has some annoying characters padded into the beginning of the string, like this:

"oc: Justin Hill - Appointment"
"oc: Gene Marks - Phone Call"
"oc: Corey Babka - Next Action"

For cosmetic purposes, we will create a formula to strip out the "oc:" with the following code:


This will return the entire string, starting at character position five.Using the function as outlined above will return;

"Justin Hill - Appointment"
"Gene Marks - Phone Call"
"Corey Babka - Next Action"

This is also great for cutting out parts of model numbers, serial numbers, etc.

Crystal Reports : Conversion and Formatting

As mentioned, when using the Format options in Crystal, it can only be as smart as the underlying field. That is, a number must be a "Number" and text must be "Text". If you aren't seeing the expected formatting options, you may need to convert the data type of the underlying database column.

There are many functions available in Crystal to make this happen, but for now we'll keep it simple.

1. To convert from Text to Numeric, simply use the ToNumber() function within a formula, like this;


The resulting formula will "behave" like a number.

2. To convert from Numeric to Text, use the ToText() function;


Try it. Every Crystal Reporter should be comfortable with type conversion; it's our bread and butter!

Crystal Reports : Format Multiple Objects at Once

While we are on the subject of formatting, did you know that you can apply formatting to multiple objects at once?

1. Simply CTRL-Click each desired object to add them to the selection. (or drag out a box-select)

2. Right-click on any selected item and select "Format Objects".

From here you will be able to apply formatting to all objects. Keep in mind that Crystal will only give you formatting options that all objects have "in common". For instance, if you have both Date and Number objects selected, the Format Objects window WON'T give you specific type-formatting options.

This is a nice way to easily change the Font or Style of many objects at once. Try it!

Crystal Reports : Date Formatting Options

Oh, Crystal, you always give us so many options! Especially when it comes to formatting data types.

1. Right-click on any report object, select "Format Field".

If you're modifying a Number type, you'll see a "Number" tab. If you're modifying a Date type, you'll see a "Date / Time" tab. This is one of those instances when Crystal does a bit of "automagical" thinking for you. If you don't see the formatting options you expect, it's because the underlying data type isn't correct.

2. From the "Date / Time" tab, select your favorite Date Format. You'll see there are many options. I'm personally a big fan of XX/XX/XXXX, but must admit that XX/XX/XX also works well.

The biggest reason you'll probably want to go here is to select a formatting that omits the time precision portion of the date field. You'll probably need to re-size the field in question after the fact as well.

3. For those who are brave of heart, you may also click the "Customize" button. This gives you ultimate control over how a date is presented. Poke around a little; it's pretty interesting. You can use this, in some cases, to provide offbeat sorts and work in client-specific nomenclature.

GoldMine : Viewing YOUR History

Such a simple question, isn't it? How can you look at just YOUR historical items without running a report or going from record to record to record?

Easy, it's all within the Activity List.

1. Select Go To | Activities from the top level menu.

2. From here, you can see both Pending and Completed items on a per-user basis, filtered by Date Range and Activity Types.

3. Use the left-hand pane to drill down to the historical items you want to inspect. (Clicking on the "Closed Activities" folder gives you ALL activity types)

4. Use the top-level drop downs to select Date Range and Username.

5. Don't forget you can export the list by right-clicking and selecting Output To | Excel.

Try it!

GoldMine : Turning Document Preview On or Off

One of the nicest things about the newer versions of GoldMine is the ability to preview the contents of any linked document without opening it. This is displayed within the "Preview" pane within the Links tab. However, if you're having problems previewing certain kinds of documents, or if this simply slows down your computer, you can turn Off document previews on a per-filetype basis.

Note: This is a system-wide setting and can only be accessed from a "Master" account.

1. Select Tools | Configure | System Settings from the top level menu.

2. Select the "Preview" tab.

3. From here, you can pick and choose which document types are Previewed within the Links tab.

4. When finished, Ok your way back out to GoldMine.

5. All users will need to restart GoldMine to affect the changes.

Happy previewing!

GoldMine : Enabling E-mail Spell Check

When you type and send out a bazillion e-mails a day, simpel speling erorrs can (and do) occur. To enable automatic spell-check when sending GoldMine e-mails;

1. Select Tools | Options from the top level menu.

2. Select the "E-mail" tab, then "More Options", then "Advanced".

3. Check the box labeled "Auto spell-check before sending".

4. Ok your way out.

Now, if you've never used this feature before, it needs to be "trained" a little bit. When you go to send an e-mail, the spell check will run and prompt you for any words it doesn't know. Your choices are;

0. You can simply double-click any of the suggested words from the list, or....

1. Ignore : Ignores just this single instance of the word. (for this spell check only)

2. Ignore All : Ignores all instances of the word. (for this spell check only)

3. Add : Adds the word to your users' dictionary. You will never be prompted to correct this word again. Good for things like acronyms, company names, etc.

4. Change : Replaces the word with the first item in the "Suggestions" list.

5. Change All : Replaces all instances of the word with the first item in the "Suggestions" list.

6. Suggest : Refreshes the "Suggestions" list.

It can be annoying at first, but as soon as you start Adding words to your dictionary, this becomes less of a hassle and will typically only prompt for "real" spelling errors. Try it!

GoldMine : Setting the Default E-mail Signature Template

Did you know that you can use an actual e-mail template for a signature, as opposed to using a simple text file? This allows you to use fancy fonts and insert company logos.

First, you must create an e-mail signature template.

1. Select Go To | Document Templates from the top level menu.

2. Select YOUR username from the top left-hand drop down list.

3. Within the left-hand pane, right click on "E-mail Templates", then select "New".

4. This will drop you into the template editor. Simply use it like a word processor and type out (inserting pictures as appropriate) your desired signature text.

5. When finished, click the little yellow disk button in the top left-hand corner to "Save". Make sure your template is listed properly in the Document Templates list.

To set the template to be your default e-mail signature;

1. Select Tools | Options from the top level menu.

2. Select the "E-mail" tab, click on "More Options".

3. In the lower right-hand corner, use the "Default Templates" drop downs to find and select your signature template. You can set it for "New Outgoing", "Replies", and "Forwarded".

4. Ok your way back out to GoldMine.

5. To test the template, simply start writing an e-mail. The Defaults you set up should take effect immediately.

GoldMine : Adding Menuitems to the Toolbar

Did you know that you can add simple GoldMine menu items to the top-level toolbar? This is done on a per-user basis, so each user can have their own "favorite" toolbar items.

1. Click on the "little down arrow" at the right edge of the toolbar;


2. Select "Add or Remove Buttons". 

3. Click "Customize". 

4. Click the "Commands" tab.

5. From here you will see all the available GoldMine top level menu items. To add any item to your toolbar, simply click-drag the item from the window up onto the toolbar. If you add the wrong thing, or want to remove an item, simply click-drag it OFF of the toolbar.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 Some Salesforce Shorthand to Save You Time

Do you type in a lot of nice round numbers in the thousands?  Maybe your customer wants to buy 5000 cool widgets or a donor wants to give you $15,000 for a new grant.  Typing out those three zeroes every time gets tedious.  Try replacing them with “k” (1k, 5k, 250k).
How about those pesky phone numbers, you don’t have to properly format them every time!  Just type in the numbers and Salesforce will figure out the rest! Extension?  No problem, just add an “x” between it and the rest of the number.
And you don’t have to take your hands off the keys to click “Save” after editing a record; you can save by just hitting Enter!  It won’t work if you’re in a text area (regular, long, or advanced), but it will work even if you’re doing inline edits.  Enjoy these quick little tips that will save you seconds, minutes, and even hours every day! Embed a Chart in a Record

The Reports and Dashboard tabs are great one-stop shopping spots for data. But users don’t have to go there every time they need to know something. You can set it up so people can see a report chart right on the page where they’re working. For example, when updating an opportunity, they can see a chart that’s filtered to show the latest data about the account that opportunity is associated with, without leaving the Opportunity detail page.

  1. Pick the report you want to display in your record page. Make sure it already has a chart, and that it’s in a folder that’s shared with users who need access.
  2. Go to the page layout editor for the object you’re adding a chart to. Let’s use Opportunities for this example. From Setup, click Customize | Opportunities | Page Layouts. You can do this with a custom object too. From Setup, click Create | Objects, then choose the object.

  3. Click Edit next to the page layout.
  4. Click Report Charts. 

  5. In the Quick Find box, type the name of the report and click the lookup/magnifier to find and select the report chart. You can browse up to 200 recently viewed reports by chart type in the Report Charts palette.
  6. Drag the chart onto the layout.
  7. Click the "wrench" button (settings) on the chart to customize it.
  8. Click Save and go look at a record on the Opportunities tab. It will look something like this:

Congratulations! You've just saved some time and effort for everyone who works with Opportunities in your organization. You've made it so they can see data about an opportunity right on the page they’re working on, without having to switch over to another tab. Prevent Salesforce Emails from ending up in Spam Folder

One common problem organizations face when sending emails to clients is that the email ends up in the Spam folder and the client misses out on their emails.  Even though it is not completely possible to avoid Salesforce emails from ending up in the spam folder, but enabling email security compliance will help.
To do this: Navigate to Setup, under Administration Setup click Email Administration | Deliverability.  In the Email Security Compliance section, make sure that both the “Enable compliance with standard email security mechanisms” and “Enable Sender ID compliance” check boxes are checked.  The Sender ID compliance declares emails as coming from an authorized IP address. 

This setting will help to authenticate the emails, which in turn will prevent the emails from landing in the recipient’s spam folder.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

ZOHO CRM - Identifying Modules in Custom Functions

Within Zoho CRM, each module has a 'system' name associated with it. Zoho allows you to change your Module Label, but the system name remains the same.  When you create a custom module in Zoho CRM, the system automatically assigns the Custom Module a system name, with the naming Convention "CustomModuleX", where X is the next number in an internal counter.  So, for example, the 4th custom module you create will be known internally as CustomModule4.

Why am I telling you this?  Because when you are writing custom functions, you must use the system Module name to retrieve and update records.  You can find this system name in the module list as shown below: (Setup->Modules)

ZOHO CRM - Where can I see the Emails in Zoho that were sync'd with the Outlook Plug-in?

So you've downloaded your Outlook Plug-in and configured your preferred synchronization methods for your Emails, but it doesn't appear as if your Emails are being sync'd with Zoho because they are not listed below your Contacts in Zoho...  Of course there could be many reasons for this happening, but as a first step try changing the Email source to Sent Emails from CRM using the drop down on the right of the Emails related records list under your Contact as depicted in the image below.
A little misleading ;o) - this is also the way to see mass emails sent to contacts and leads.

ZOHO CRM - View Report as Chart with Dashboards

With Zoho CRM Dashboard module you can present your custom reports in chart format with a few easy clicks...

  • Go to your Dashboard module, select the Dashboard to which you want to add the graph and click the Add Component
  • Choose the Chart radio button, provide a name and use the drop down to select the source report
  • Use the interface tools provided to set up the graph the way you want it: select the chart type and configure the details - the drop downs provided in the chart details window are based on the sorting established in the report definition.
  • Click finish
Your new chart will become a part of the selected dashboard!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

MSCRM: Attaching a Document to an Opportunity

A lot of my tips are geared towards System Administrators.  This one, however, is for everyone.  The scenario - you would like to attach a document of some sort to an Account, Contact, Opportunity, whatever.  Here's how:

1. Select Notes:

2. Type in some text, then Click "Attach":

3. Select the file from your computer to attach.  Click Done:

4.  Your Document is now attached to the record:

Very handy!

MSCRM: a Quick look at the Quick View Form

The Quick View Form, new for MSCRM 2013 is a type of Form that you can add onto another form- resulting in a "form within a form".   It has a different look than a subgrid, which is really just a View within a form, showing all the related records.

Use the Quick View form when you want to see the details of a look up field.  You could just click on the look up field name and go to the record (example- Click on the Company name from the Contact record to see the Company details), but sometimes it's handy to have the information right in front of you.  Below is an example of a Quick View form for a custom entity called Service Contract:

Below is the Opportunity involving the renewal of this service contract:

Very handy indeed!  If you'd like to explore the Quick View Form in greater detail, check out the following Blog:

MSCRM: Disabling Quick Create Form

The Quick Create form, introduced in MSCRM 2013, allows users to quickly create records (hence the name!) by entering key information in.  The form is an abbreviated version of the main form.

There may be instances where you do not want your users creating records using this form.  The default behavior fort Accounts, Contacts, Opportunities, and Leads is to allow Quick Create.  To turn this off, System Administrators can navigate to:

Settings ==>Customizations ==> Customize the System

Click on the entity name, in this example it's the Opportunity entity.  Then simply uncheck "Allow quick create":

Save, Publish, and you're all set!