CRM, CRM features, Dynamics 365

Dynamics 365 – Multi Select Option Sets!

Spring Release 2017 – July is Summer right?

Microsoft announced the next release of Dynamics 365 (D365) – the July 2017 Spring Release last week (20-22 June) with the Dynamics 365 Preview Executive Briefing; the unedited content will soon be uploaded to the Dynamics Learning Portal.  All photos have been taken from this Preview Briefing.

Over the next few weeks, I will be writing a few blogs detailing some of the new functionality that is expected with the Spring Release of D365 release and the impact it may (or may not) have on customers moving forward. I recently wrote an article on LinkedIn relating to the deprecation of the Outlook Client.  I will be bringing that article to this blog to collate all posts together so it is available from a single location.

Community Overviews – Spring Release

Currently – CRM Innovation have hosted unedited links to the Videos (Thank you!):

Dynamics 365 Preview Executive Briefing

There are already some good blogs on the overviews coming with V9.0 which I recommend that all should read:

Community Requests

Microsoft allow members of the CRM (Sorry Dynamics 365) community to post ideas/requests for functionality within the Dynamics 365 application with its new Ideas site. One of the most requested features is “Multi Select Pick-lists” of which the first instance of this request is at nearly 500 votes – combine this with the other duplicate idea threads, this becomes one of the most requested items of functionality for Dynamics 365, ever.

500
Requested – 5 years ago, I was still a baby consultant!

Option Sets – a brief history

From my knowledge/experience – we (as CRM customisers) have had the functionality of an Option Set from CRM V4.0 (I assume V3 also based on the Idea above).

Whilst Creating an Option Sets are great for restricting values to Users, these were bound to the Entity where these Option Sets where created, if you required the same options on a different Entity, then you would of had to recreate that Option Set on the additional Entity (this concept became known as Local Option Sets in 2011).

This would be pain if you had a Country Option Set on the Contact and Account Entity… and where the concept of a Country Entity may have been a better choice as you could import the Countries as records which could be used instead of an Option Set.

With Dynamics CRM 2011 – Global Option Sets where introduced, this allowed system customisers the ability to re-use Option Sets across different Entities.

Power Objects have a good guide on Global Option Sets.

Flash forward to the present

Currently – out of the box, Dynamics 365 still does not provide Multi-Select Option Sets; the nearest methods (without using 3rd party add-on’s/bespoke customisations) to providing this functionality out of the box is to use:

  • Multiple Boolean fields (where each option is a separate Yes/No field which the user must select a value for)
  • Utilise an N:N relationship (Many to Many) with an Entity (similar to the Country Lookup).

The downside is the User needs to either select multiple field options or relate many “Option” records to the current record (i.e. a Contact record may have many Interests related to their record which would better represented as Multi-Select Option Sets), both instances increase the complexity of the system design and the way the data can be reported on.

“We have listened”

Microsoft have finally announced with the Spring release of Dynamics 365 (link will be added with official MS Announcement) that Multi Select Option Sets will be released for Dynamics 365. Microsoft highlighted the following properties of the Multi Select Option Sets

3

New Data Type

There will be a new Data Type available when creating Attributes called “MultiSelect OptionSet” which will create a new Attribute with this functionality provided. From an Option Set point of – this will use the Global Option Set functionality allowing you to use your existing Option Set values or create new ones.

dt

These are created and added to Forms and Views like normal Option Sets (local or global). They can also be queried in the same fashion as other fields through the API.

What do they look like?

Forms

From a form perspective – they look like a normal Option Set but with a check box next to each option allowing Users to select one or more option values. There is also a Select All check box at the top of the drop down list which will select/deselect All option values.

10

Views

When looking at view – these new Attributes will display as a semicolon separated list for each returned row.

8

These columns can also be filtered to show rows matching the criteria applied.

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What about Advanced Find Queries?

MultiSelect Option Sets can be also included in Advanced Find – these Attribute Types have 6 operators to choose from:

6

If a User selects an Equals operator and then selects two options (i.e. Country option list and France and England are chosen) then records where ONLY those two options are chosen will be returned (i.e. records where only France and England have been selected).

Whereas if a User selects the Contain Values operator (i.e. Country option list where Finland and USA are chosen) then all records that contain any of the option values specified will be returned (i.e. all records that contain Finland or USA in the MultiSelect Option Set will show).

Where can I use these?

These new controls will be available on the following:

  • Web Client and new Unified Interface (Mobile as well)
  • Advanced Find and Fetch XML
  • Platform and Client SDK

Can I change my current Option Sets to MultiSelect Option Sets?

Unfortunately No – you will need to recreate these fields as MultiSelect OptionSets and use the same values if the Options are saved to a Global Option Set.

Thoughts

This is a long (and overdue) item of functionality that should be warmly received by the Dynamics 365 (CRM) community. Perhaps this is the first set towards non-code out-of-the-box filtered option sets?

Thanks for reading.

MW

 

7 thoughts on “Dynamics 365 – Multi Select Option Sets!”

  1. Great blog! But I notice that if I use a multiselect optionset field in the Dynamics 365 portal, the field doesn’t appear at all. Any thoughts on this?

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