Customer search in Dynamics 365 for Operations.

Continuing my occasional series as I’m getting reacquainted with Dynamics 365 for Operations after a few month’s absence, we were looking at the new way the customer search has been implemented on the create sales order form.

Let’s go to the Sales and marketing > Sales orders > All sales orders list page and click New:

Now I could enter the customer account if I knew it, but let’s just start typing the first few characters of a name. I’ve typed “For” and stopped. I don’t hit enter. After the shortest of pauses, I see:

Pretty neat, but what if I typed “Wholesale”?

Oops. But notice that filter icon next to the Name. Click on it and:

Obviously I can change ‘begins with’ to ‘contains’ and I see:

.. all of my wholesalers.

But you can’t game the system by typing *Whole* in the customer name:

Well, not until you click on the filter icon:

Obviously that hasn’t helped too much, but clear those back-slashes, and even though the search criteria says ‘begins with’, is now acts as ‘contains’, so:

Gives, (when you click on ‘Apply’):

Exactly the same thing happens when you create a new purchase order and you’re entering a vendor account:

A similar thing happens as Item search on sales order lines and purchase order lines – but it’s using the ‘Search name’ field and not the Product name

Of course you can filter by Product name (or any other field) just by clicking on the column heading – don’t forget to clear your other applied filter though. I remember I once saw someone searching for a 50mm bolt by simply searching for *50mm* in the product name. Converted me from holding everything in separate fields to text search in an instant.

As an aside, don’t forget that you can create sales orders from a customer record, and of course you can customise your customer list page list grid to show whichever search fields would be useful to you.

And you can create a purchase order from a vendor.

Happy AX’ing. Or I we should say 365-ing, or Operations-ing?

Form and action search in Dynamics 365 for Operations.

As I said before, I’m getting reacquainted with Dynamics 365 for Operations after a few month’s absence, and I’m starting to like the form search feature. I learnt a lot of menu paths in Dynamics AX 2009 and 2012, and that’s not so much of an achievement because there wasn’t a lot of change between those versions, but things have moved on a bit, and now that I’m starting to lose the little grey cells I’m happy for the computer to start to do a bit of the work for me. So to find a form, use form search. For instance, you want to check on your warehouse setup – use the form search (Short-cut Ctrl-Forward-slash(/)):

Just type a bit of the form name. Don’t hit enter, just be patient. For instance, I’ve type ‘Ware’:

The option I wanted (Inventory management > Setup > Inventory breakdown > Warehouse) is actually the last one on the list, but it’s found it – and so have I.

This search is a little bit idiosyncratic, for instance you’re better off with ‘All customers’ than ‘Customers’ but it’s still a very useful feature.

But wait, there’s more. Let’s open the sales order form (no I’m not going to give you the menu path – go search for ‘All sales orders’), and let’s say that you want to find an intercompany purchase order. Now in the old days (AX 2009 and 2012) you’ve have to click through all the menu options until you noticed the one you wanted – but now, we have action search (Short-cut Ctrl-Apostrophe(‘)):

You can see it’s the lower of the two search buttons. I’ve typed ‘Inter’:

Not only does it give me all of the options, but it’s indicating which ones are active.

That’s pretty neat, and I hope it means that I won’t ever again have to put up with that horrible sinking feeling I get when I’m in a pre-sales demo and can’t find the form or menu option that I want.

Form personalisation in Dynamics 365 for Operations.

This post is a follow-on from last week’s. After a brief introduction to Dynamics 365 for Operations I spent a few months wandering around AX 2009 and AX 2012 which meant that I struggled a bit when I found myself back in D365O. So last week I covered most of the shortcuts that I typically use, but I left off one topic, and that is form personalisation.

But before I do that, let me just mention one more useful short-cut. Ctrl-Plus(+) and Ctrl-Minus(-). Alright, I know that that’s two short-cuts, and these aren’t Dynamics 365 for Operations short-cuts at all, they are your browser’s short-cuts, but they are incredibly useful for zooming in and out of your D365O forms. If you’re new to D365O and haven’t used Dynamics AX 2009 and 2012 you’re probably wondering what I’m banging on about, but believe me, to us AX ‘old-timers’ that’s, like wow (as a young person would say – I think).

Form personalisation is very powerful, more information is here. But typically I only use it for a few simple tasks: hiding columns in list grids; re-ordering / re-sizing list grid columns; and occasionally adding fields to forms. So let’s do those tasks in Dynamics 360 for Operations.

First hiding a column. On the purchase order line there’s a Discount amount and a Discount percentage. Let’s hide the Discount amount. There are a couple of ways to do this. First, we can right-click on the column heading and we have a ‘Personalisation’ option:

It gives a pop-up with options to rename, hide, lock or skip the field:

You’ll see the other way to do this in a few paragraphs, and it’s last ‘Personalize this form’ option, which is a short-cut to all the other Personalization options.

Re-sizing list grid columns is as simple in Dynamics 365 for Operations as it was in AX 2009 or AX 2012. Just hover over the boundary between two column headings and drag to the required size. I’ve now got:

Re-ordering columns is a bit more complex in D365O than it was in AX 2009 or 2012.

First we have to open the Form personalisation tool-bar. There’s a shortcut on each form’s Personalize pop-up (shown above) or you can use the Personalize this form option, which is found on each form’s Options tab.

Can’t see ‘Options’? Well here’s a tip. If the form isn’t wide enough to display all the tab headings, you’ll see three dots in the header:

Click on the three dots (ellipsis) and you’ll see all of the missing tab headings:

(You can also search for form actions – that’s my next post).

Click on ‘Personalize this form’ and you’ll see this tool-bar pop-up:

Unfortunately, there aren’t any clues as to what the various tools are, and some of the tools are two-stage.

Firstly, let’s locate the ‘Move’ tool and select it:

Now, it’s a two-step process, firstly we have to select the form area that we are customising. Each field is related to a form area, for instance the list grid, and can only be moved within that area, so this this case I first select the move tool (as above) and click on the list grid:

Notice how the area I’m working in has been high-lighted.

Now I can select a field, and drag it to its new position. If you select the field’s name and start to drag it, you should see it high-lighted as a yellow box, just drag that box between two other columns:

Click Close on the Personalization tab when you’re done.

Adding fields is similar to moving fields, it’s another two-step process from the personalisation tool bar.

I’m going to personalise the Purchase order fast tab on the Purchase order lines form. First I open the form, and select ‘Personalise this form’. As before, click on the Add (+) button and then select the form area I want to customise:

When you click into an area, just wait – a pop-up appears with all the fields that can be added:

You can search in the columns on the ‘Add a field’ form – I want Vendor reference, so:

Gives me:

Select the field Select the field and click ‘Insert’, and I get:

And of course, now I can select the Move tool and move the field if I need to.

There’s no need to save a form personalization – that’s done automatically but there are three ‘Mange options’:

Pretty self-explanatory, and, as in earlier versions of AX, you can clear form personalisations by deleting them from the user’s usage data.