Well, here are a couple options that will allow you to improve the user’s experience when choosing a value in a lookup field.
The first option is to customize the standard Lookup view available in almost every entity in CRM (or Dynamics 365, whatever you call it internally).
Let’s look at how this might work for the Company Name lookup field on a Contact form. The out-of-the-box Lookup view for Accounts shows the Account Name, the account Email address, and the Main Phone number. When Accounts have the same name, or have only a corporate email address, this is often not sufficient information to choose the correct Account.
Notice the difference between the standard view on the left and a modified view on the right. Making a simple change to include the City, instead of the email address, greatly enhances the user’s ability to choose the correct Account.
Here’s how to make that change:
- Within a Solution or by navigating to Customize the System, open the views area for the target entity. Open the Lookup View.
- The results within a lookup field can display the first three columns of the “Lookup View” for the entity. So, adjust the entity “Lookup View” to have the three fields you want displayed for the lookup field first in the view.
- Once you save and publish the changes to the view, you can go back and check out the new available information within your lookup fields.
Earlier we mentioned there was a second option to modifying the information displayed when a user works with a Lookup field. For many lookup fields, you have an option to change the view that defaults for that lookup field – in other words you don’t only have the Lookup view as an option. Let’s see how this might work on an Opportunity form with a lookup field to Accounts.
By default, this field would use the Account Lookup View and we would see results similar to this:
We could modify the Lookup view as we did in the first option. But, that modifies the Lookup view for Accounts everywhere in CRM, and maybe for Opportunities we need some specific information or specific filters to ensure users select only valid options for Accounts.
Our solution in this case might be to create a custom system view that meets our requirements. Let’s say that Accounts chosen for Opportunities need to not be on credit hold and also have to be a preferred customer. We can construct a system view that would have filters similar to the following:
Then, similar to the Lookup view, we can determine which 3 data fields will initially be visible to users for the Account field on an Opportunity form. In this case, we wanted to see Company Name, City, and Account Number. Finally, we set the default view on the Account lookup field on the Opportunity form to utilize this new view:
The Account lookup field results might now look something like this, assuming these two accounts were the ones that met our filtering criteria.
Spending a little time adapting and creating views for lookup fields can contribute to user acceptance and improve data accuracy – both key components of a successful CRM.