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Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Form Reporter

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Form Reporter

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MSDNcodeGallery

I recently posted the Microsoft CRM 4.0 Form Reporter in MSDN Code Gallery. Form Reporter is an application that creates a Word 2007 document detailing the configuration of all customizable Microsoft CRM 4.0 forms, including tabs, sections and information about each field. This document can be used for planning form customizations or documenting the current state of form customizations. This solution requires Word 2007 and .NET Framework 3.5.

Microsoft CRM 4.0 Form Reporter uses the exported customizations.xml file. You must have a copy of this file to use the Form Reporter. For best results, the exported file should include all entities because relationships defined between any missing entities will not be included.

Why Form Reporter?

As a member of the team that prepares documentation - we occasionally get requests for a way to generate documentation about a CRM implementation. I know that this can be a big time-saver for implementers who have a deliverable to document their solution or for trainers seeking to provide materials that relate to a specific implementation.

I had noticed that Merijn van Mourik had posted a Microsoft CRM Documentation Generator for CRM 3.0 on CodePlex in January of 2007. That solution uses an add-in for Office Excel 2007 to generate a table. While I have pointed others to that solution for CRM 3.0 - I had never downloaded or installed it myself. Like the Form Reporter - it uses an exported customizations.xml file. But it doesn't support Microsoft CRM 4.0.

How it was made

I was documenting the Form XML Reference for the SDK and I realized that most of the data needed for documenting forms was in the exported customizations.xml file. Since I do a lot of work with XSL for our content development infrastructure - I started making a transform to present the data in an ASPX page. This was something I worked on during rainy weekends.

But a web page that generates tables with information about forms would not be that useful for most of the types of documentation work implementer and trainers need to do. Probably the most useful output would be Word so that people can easily copy and paste portions that they need. At the same time the Open XML Format SDK 2.0 was released in September. This SDK makes it relatively easy to create Word 2007 documents based on XML data.

Finally I decided to create a simple Windows Forms application that would transform the customizations.xml file into a Word 2007 Document. I posted both an installation MSI and the code so non-programmers can use it right away. The code is pretty basic, but it provides an example of using the Open XML Format SDK to create a Word Document. A developer who knows XSL should be able to modify the ToWordTransform.xsl to get different results based on the data available in the customizations.xml. Developers can also modify the Styles and Theme files to get a different look and feel.

I hope this little application makes some of your documentation tasks easier.

Jim Daly

  • Very useful and highly recommended!  This keeps me from documenting all day, and lets me focus on the more productive tasks.  Thanks for sharing.

  • Very useful and highly recommended!  Keeps me from documenting all day, and lets me focus on more productive tasks.  Thanks for sharing.

  • This is the most useful application on CodePlex for CRM developers and consultants! Thank you Jim!

  • I get an eror generating the document" Could not find file C:Document and Settings\Administrator\Desktop\ToWordTransform.xsl" Please Help

  • Luya -

    You must have Word 2007 installed to run the Form Reporter.

  • THANK YOU, Jim!  I've been waiting for a replacement for the 3.0 Excel Documentation Generator for months now.  And you nailed it!

    It worked like a charm on the first try.

  • Hi Jim,

    I just noticed your post and I was pleasantly surprised. Somehow I did not find time to update the documentation generator to version 4. These days I spend more time with my 2 3-years old daughers than the coding4fun. However I realize the tool is being used by lot of customers.

    Also the OpenXML format was a challenge for me so I'm very interested in how you did it.

    At this moment I work on a graphical version of the documentation generator. This version in addition takes SCREENSHOTS of a Dynamics CRM implementation. Could be usefull in combination with the data already in Excel. It is a lot of fun to saw it up-and-running for the first time. I am now working on getting it stable (enough). So everyone can use it. Am still experiencing some difficulties. You're post gives me extra inspiration finishing it!

    Best regards,

    Merijn van Mourik

  • Hello

    I get the same error message (could not find... ToWordTransform.xsl) even though I do have Office 2007 installed.

    Any ideas?

  • I was getting the ToWordTransform.xsl.  I was able to get past it by saving the generated document to the same directory that the progam was installed to.

  • People were reporting an error when they ran the applicaiton -Could not find file ...ToWordTransform.xsl.

    I was never able to repro this error - but after some research it turns out that a file dialog can change the environment.currentdirectory value.

    I modified the file dialogs to include RestoreDirectory = true; per the guidance found at:

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/system.windows.forms.filedialog.restoredirectory.aspx

    This should fix it. Please let me know if you encounter this again with the new version.

    I also threw in a few comments in the code to describe what was going on.

  • Hello,

    Would it be possible to also document picklists for CRM 4.0 ? Either in word or Excel ? I have use the xls doc generator of Merijn for 3.0 but with no results on picklists.. Did you already develop a similar think for picklist in CRM 4.0 ?

    thank you for your help,

    Alex

  • any idea when this tool can read the jscript?

  • Hello,

    In your article you said, that you first transformed the customization.xml into an aspx page, this would fit my needs about 100%. Do you still have this code?

    thank you,

    Tascha

  • This is so amazing. Thanx a lot Jim.

  • This is such an awesome tool, however we need it for CRM 2011. Is this in the works??

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