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What’s new in the Lookup control with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

What’s new in the Lookup control with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

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OVERVIEW:

In Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Update Rollup 12 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM December 2012 Service Update, we provided a glimpse of the new user interface. Inline lookup was also part of this new user experience. Earlier, it was constrained to only contact, opportunity, lead, account, and contact entities.

Now in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Fall '13, we are extending this Inline lookup capability to most other forms and on the dialogs, such as Assign, Convert to Case, Opportunity). There’d be no more unnecessary pop-us.

Going one more step ahead, now multi-party lookup (To/CC/BCC field on Activities form) is also supported and this provides awesome capabilities of entering multiple items in a single lookup field.

I hope you’ll find this interesting.

In this blog, we will talk about inline single lookup and inline lookup menu.

To read about Inline multi-party lookup, please see the Inline Multi Party Lookup blog.

We will use the Regarding lookup field of the Appointment activity to demonstrate the inline single lookup and inline lookup menu.

In the end of the blog, we will talk about different notifications related to the lookup, feature availability/unavailability and deprecated field properties for lookup. 

STEP BY STEP WALKTHROUGH:

  1. Navigate to Activities’ home page gird and create a new Appointment. Click on the “Regarding” field. This shows you the familiar single lookup with search icon. It is highlighted in below snapshot.
  2. Now type your search string in this lookup and press Enter or click on the Search icon.This will show you a list of results matching your string.No more popup to show search results like the old lookup.

 

  • This quick search honors entities defined for lookup and shows all types of records in search results based on these defined entities.
    If you notice in the above screenshot, the inline menu is displaying both Account (highlighted in green color) and contact (highlighted in Red color) records in the search results.
  • This Inline menu also shows some additional information about a record. For example, if you notice in above screenshot, it displays email ID and phone number of the Account/Contact record.
    This additional information is based on the columns defined in the default view of the lookup.
  • Inline menu also shows the count of matching records in the menu (highlighted with yellow color box).
  • This Inline menu displays 10 records at max. What if you want to search and look for more records?

    Scroll down in the Inline menu and you will find the “Look up More Records” link.

    On clicking this link, it will take you to your old friend, lookup search dialog.
    But notice the key differences. This is not a popup any more. This is an inline dialog. So no more hassles of navigating to a new dialog on clicking the Lookup search icon.


  • Also check carefully the blue colored boxes in the above screen capture. Yes, you got it right. On clicking “Look up More Records” link, we keep track of your search string, and by default, show search results with same string in the opened Inline dialog.
    This way we save your little efforts and try to step forward in delighting your experience.
  • What if I want to create a new record because I know that the desired account/contact does not exist in my organization? Do I have to always click search icon first, then wait for the inline dialog to open, and then create new record using “New” button (check highlighted Green box)?
    No, never… The inline menu has everything to help you right there.
  • If you see the inline menu carefully, you’ll see a “+New” button at bottom of the menu. This will help you create a new record instantly using a quick form.
    This will be huge time saver.

    As this is not available in every lookup, I have put a snapshot of the “Customer” lookup in the Case form.


    To know more about the “+New” feature of inline lookup, see the New capabilities in CRM lookups blog.

This was an overview of the new inline single lookup and inline lookup menu. In addition to this, we’ve also introduced some new notification icons and tooltips to help end users in case of errors. Let’s talk about them.

Notification Icon and message: Help is just beside your lookup field

When you type a search string in a lookup field and tab out or click outside of lookup control, it looks for record.

If only a single result is found matching with search string, the field is auto-populated with the matched item. All is well till now.

But what if multiple search results are found?

You’ll be informed about the same with a proper notification and message.

Let’s say, you are looking for “Abby” and there are multiple contacts with the name “Abby”.

After tabbing out from the inline lookup field, you’ll see the following:

A notification icon (see the green color arrow) will be displayed beside the lookup field and on hovering over this icon, a message stating “We found more than one match.” will be displayed.
What if no matching results are found for the search string?
No worries, we will show a notification and message for this also.

A notification icon (see the green color arrow) will be displayed beside lookup control and on hovering over this icon, a message stating “No records found. Create a new record.” will be displayed.
Here “+New” button in lookup inline menu is readily available for your help. Go ahead & use it.

Feature Availability/Unavailability

  • Inline Lookup is available on all forms for entities that were updated with the new user interface (updated entities).
  • Inline lookup is now available for most forms for entities that were not updated.
  • Inline lookup is available on inline dialogs like Assign dialog or Convert to Case dialog.
  • Inline lookup is not available on Advanced Find.
  • “+New” option is not available for lookup present on forms for entities that were not updated.

Deprecate Field Properties for Lookup

You must have noticed, I haven’t talked about MRU until now, which used to show the most recently used items.

Although it is sad, but I have to mention that MRU is not available in the Inline lookup on forms for the updated entities.

This option is still available in the “Lookup Field Properties” (check the Blue color arrow in the below snapshot) but it won’t be honored for the inline Lookup.


Another functionality that is not honored by the new Inline lookup on forms for the updated entities is “Turn off automatic resolutions in the field”. Irrespective of whether you select this option or not, automatic resolution will always happen on tabbing out or clicking outside of field.

This option is still available in the “Lookup Field Properties” (check Red color arrow in the above snapshot)

More information

Customer Center: How inline lookup works

I hope you will like this new experience of inline lookup and inline lookup menu.


Cheers!
Mohit Agrawal
Microsoft Dynamics CRM

  • The new single inline lookups are a big improvement but they create an awful lot on unnecessary problems:

    - In certain situations you have to click on the search icon twice to get before it works.

    - They look almost identical to the new quick find control and the two are really easily confused on the new inline sub-grids

    - In sub-grids the inline lookups and menus obscure the sub-grid records.

    - The controls loose focus (triggering auto-save) preventing you undoing a change by pressing ESC (every other field allows this).

    - The inline menu works well if the field was previously empty but if you want to select a new value it just shows the existing value of the control.

    - There's nothing to tell the user they can just type in the control first (see above)

    - Why do you have to hit enter/press the search icon to display the inline menu? (why not just show it as you type - it's what everyone expects nowadays anyway)

    - Why do you have to scroll down to be able to see/press "lookup more records" - why isn't it next to record count, +New etc.

    - Why not just show more records automatically when you scroll down/hover at the bottom?  (a la LinkedIn etc.)

    - For customer lookups how do you know how many contacts and how many accounts would be displayed?  If the first 10 are say accounts how would the user even know contacts could be selected instead?

    - The button "Add" makes no sense in old-school inline dialog (it doesn't add - it replaces the previous value with the one you select) "OK" or "Select" would make much more sense.

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