Using Custom Fields to Capture Information in Dynamics CRM

Dynamics CRM Tile BorderMicrosoft Dynamics CRM has a terrific variety of Out-of-the-Box ways to capture important information for your organization. Configuration to capture needed information can often include simply adding Out-of-the-Box fields to a form.

On occasion, however, it might make sense to create a custom field even when an out-of-the-box field appears to be available.

Let’s look at an example. 

Let’s say that your situation requires capturing multiple addresses directly on the lead, account, and contact forms, and you need to identify address types that are unique to your business (the Address entity in your case just isn’t a practical option for the users).

You could use the standard “Address Type” option set fields and add or change the existing options. But, these fields are field level option sets, which means you will have to make the same changes across all addresses and entities involved. And if a new address type is needed in the future, you will need to add this address type to each field’s option set and ensure the values align from the lead to accounts/contacts.

An alternate solution is to create custom address type fields that utilize a global option set. It may take a few more minutes to set up initially, but long term the convenience and reduced risk of issues make it worthwhile.

Here are the steps to set this up:

* Mark the Out-of-the-Box fields so they are not mistakenly used in views, queries, etc. Since you can’t delete system fields, we will add an “x” to the beginning of the Display Name and set the Searchable option to “No”.

CRM Custom Fields

 

  • Create a global option set for Address Type that contains the values your organization needs. Navigate to Settings > Customizations > Customize the System > Option Sets. Click “New” and create the new global option set.

CRM Custom Fields

 

  • Finally, create the individual Address Type fields for Leads, Accounts, and Contacts. The field configuration would look similar to the following.

CRM Custom Fields

 

As with many things in Dynamics CRM, there can be many ways to accomplish the same result. Capturing address types is one of those, and your solution may have different requirements or priorities. But this is an example of using the flexibility of Dynamics CRM to set things up for potential future needs.

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