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Organizing Settings Navigation in CRM 4.0

Organizing Settings Navigation in CRM 4.0

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CRM MVP Mitch Milam returns as our guest blogger today. You can read more from Mitch at his blog.

The Settings area of CRM 4.0, where many administrators and customizers spend much of their time, can be customized to allow areas to be grouped by functionality.  I find this customization allows me to access specific features more quickly than the basic installation – especially when you have a number of custom entities added to the Settings area.

This is the default Settings area display on a system with a single custom entity:

clip_image002

Here is one possible configuration that groups Settings by function:

clip_image004

So how do we make this happen? By modifying the SiteMap, of course, using the following steps:

1) Export the SiteMap and load it into Visual Studio.

2) Scroll down to the bottom of the file and locate the Settings area.

3) We need to make a small addition to the Settings area. Add the ShowGroups attribute as shown below:

   1: <Area 
   2:     Id="Settings" 
   3:     ResourceId="Area_Settings" 
   4:     Icon="/_imgs/settings_24x24.gif" 
   5:     DescriptionResourceId="Settings_Area_Description" 
   6: ShowGroups="true" >

This will instruct CRM to show the Titles for the groups that we’ll be adding next.

4) Next we’ll need to break the Settings Subareas into logical Groups, in whatever manner makes sense to you.

As you can see below, we’re adding a Group tag for each of the groupings. In addition, each of the Groups also needs to have a title, which will be displayed to the user.

clip_image006

5) After you have made the changes to the SiteMap, you need to save it to a new file, so that the original is retained. We may need this in case your edits are incorrect.

6) Import the customized SiteMap.

Note: The SiteMap is one of the rare entities that does not need to be published. It is live as soon as the import completes.

7) Refresh your browser.

8) Navigate to your settings area to admire your handiwork.

If something goes horribly wrong and you receive an error when CRM is displayed, navigate to the following URL ( CRM on-premise ):

http://<CRM_Servername>/<Organization_name>/tools/systemcustomization/ImportCustomizations/importCustomizations.aspx

or ( for CRM Online ):

https://<Organization_name>.crm.dynamics.com/tools/systemcustomization/ImportCustomizations/importCustomizations.aspx

Re-import either a corrected version of your modified SiteMap or the original version.

That is pretty much it.

Modifying the SiteMap to alter the appearance and navigation is one of the most valuable services you can perform for your users. If you have the time, I would spend some time in the Microsoft Dynamics SDK reading about the various SiteMap components and thing about how an altered navigation scheme might benefit your customer.

Cheers,

Mitch Milam

  • testing testing testing please ignore.  typing enough so this will hopefully not be flagged as spam. blah blah blah blah blah

  • testing please ignore

    The Settings area of CRM 4.0, where many administrators and customizers spend much of their time, can be customized to allow areas to be grouped by functionality.  I find this customization allows me to access specific features more quickly than the basic installation – especially when you have a number of custom entities added to the Settings area.

  • How to collapse a group by default? Tnx

  • Mitch,

    This looks like a great way of improving the Navigation in CRM. I've attempted to duplicate your customization, but can't seem to make it work. When I try and import the Customized Site Map (file is called Customizations.xml) I get the following error:

    Either the file could not be uploaded, or this is not a valid Customization file.

    My immediate assumption is that there must be something wrong with my XML structure, but I've been through it several times (the edited part, that is) and can find nothing wrong. Is there something really obvious that I may have forgotten to do?

  • Hi,

    I'm looking for a way to put my specific entities into the Area "MyWork" for example.

    As soon as I move a specific entity (<SubArea Id="new_entity"  Entity="new_entity" />) out of the extensions group, I encounter an invalid XML error when I upload the Sitemap.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Sean,

    do you have a space in the group id or area id?

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