Microsoft Dynamics® CRM Training
Customizing an Entity: Using the Import Template to Determine Entity Fields
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Customizing an entity has many moving parts. A good way to ensure that each entity contains the fields relevant to your business is by downloading, reviewing, and updating the Import template before importing data into your instance of Microsoft Dynamics 365. Once you've updated the import template, you will need to customize the fields and forms for the desired entity. But customizing the template first reduces the chances of error, as the template contains every field within the entity, as it comes out-of-the-box. So, first things first. Within Dynamics 365, click the down arrow to the right of the current app name, and choose the desired app. For this example, I'll choose Sales. Next, find the desired entity and click to open; today I'll click Contacts. When the entity opens, click the down arrow to the right of Import Data, and choose Download Template for Import from the dropdown list. Click the file name to open after it downloads, then click Enable Editing. Scroll to the right within the template; you'll notice that there are a lot of columns. Each column represents a field within the Contacts entity. It is recommended to have a current contact open in your existing system, or have your extracted data, or contact information available when customizing the template, but, as it's information you likely work with every day, you may be able to recall it without having it up, which is an option as well. If your contacts are a combination of, say, customers, employees, and leads, you may not only have a contact pulled up, but also a recent order, a recent email or message, or even an employee progress report. Gather any information that will help you determine what fields the entity should contain. Next, go through the entity's import template, column-by-column, and determine if each field shown is relevant. As you go, jot down which fields should be removed from the template (and, thus, the entity), as well as any fields you need to add. If you think of any fields you'll need to change within other entities, jot them down as well; the more thorough you are now, the easier and more efficient your customization will be overall. Once you've reviewed every column and made note of what to keep, what to remove, and what to add, go back through and use your lists to make those changes to the template, deleting columns and adding them as needed. After you've updated your import template to include all of the fields that you want the entity to include, click File, choose Save As, and save the file to your computer. Your next step, prior to actually adding your data into the template and uploading into Dynamics 365 to import, is going to be customizing the fields and forms within the entity itself to match the fields you just determined the entity should contain. Keep your new template handy to ensure you add and remove all desired fields. Once you've updated the entity's fields and forms, you'll want to upload the completed template, filled with your actual data, back into the entity using the Import Data feature. Check out our videos on customizing fields and forms, and importing data, within the Success Portal. Thanks for watching this video by xRM!