There are times customers are wanting to change the User Interface (UI) look n feel of CRM. They wanted to change the colours, logos etc to blend CRM into their existing systems. Well as of the Spring ‘15 release of Dynamics CRM this will all be possible, but limited. This will initially be released to CRM Online.
Themes are used in CRM primarily for branding. Branding includes adding a logo and altering the main navigation – but not drastically. At the moment themes are limited and you can adjust the hover colours, selection colours, logos. There has to be a bit of control by CRM so that you don’t make a mess of your UI.
Creating a new Theme
To create a new theme, navigate to Settings > Customization > Themes
Once you have clicked on Themes you will be displayed a list of Themes as shown below.
The list above (from the screenshot) displays two important columns, Type and Default Theme. The Type column indicates whether the Theme is a System theme (built by CRM), or your Custom Theme. The second column is the Default Theme. This column will indicate which Theme has been applied to the CRM system i.e. Published.
If you were to open the default theme shipped with CRM, the settings would be as shown below.
To start creating a new blank theme, click NEW from the command bar. However I would recommend you open the CRM Default Theme first and click on Clone from the command bar. This will create you a new Theme record already populated as a good starting point.
The screenshot below shows a Theme I have created. Adjusted the Logo Tooltip and the Navigation Bar Color.
The colours are shown in their hexidecimal colour codes. If you want the codes for other colours, then head to the link below which can generate these for you. You can then paste the hexidecimal result into CRM.
To test your Theme, click on PREVIEW from the command bar to get a feel what your changes would look like. Once you are happy with your Theme, click PUBLISH THEME to activate your Theme.
After the screenshot above, I added my profile picture as a logo and published. The end result is shown below for those who need to know what it would look like.
Enjoy the Themes!
Microsoft Convergence 2015 in Atlanta allowed us to take a look at the new Spring ‘15 release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. This release includes another round of feature changes.
This blog post will outline what has changed with the User Interface relating to the Global Navigation of Dynamics CRM. Themes are also new, but I will cover them in another blog post.
Global Navigation Changes
If you are using CRM 2015 Online, you will be able to take advantage of the new Global Navigation changes. If you are familiar with Microsoft Dynamics Marketing (MDM), then you notice the similarities between MDM and CRM.
Currently CRM 2015 has a Global Navigation structure that looks like this:
The navigation component descriptors are explained below.
New (What we are us to in MDM)
The Spring ‘15 release brings a new change to how we will operate with Global Navigation. Personally, when I used MDM for the first time I thought “we need this for CRM!”. So Microsoft has made a good choice here and run with the same navigation as MDM. Again, in this section I will display the navigation component descriptors in the second image. Third image illustrates the navigation for the Most Recently Used (MRU) areas.
In order to use the MRU, CRM has a new navigation image in the Global Navigation bar. This is shown by a clock looking image.
Navigating the sections/tabs of the forms can easily be done via the new form navigator. The screenshot below illustrates the positioning of the form navigator and what it looks like.
Today over 12,000 packed into the Phillips Arena to hear the opening keynote delivered by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Microsoft Executive Vice President of Business Solutions Kirill Tatarinov.
The takeaway them of the keynotes was:
Empowering people and organizations
There were some key announcements or demos from today’s keynote. These were:
- Office Delve
- Microsoft Social Engagement
- Azure IoT Suite
- InsideSales for Dynamics CRM
- Dynamics CRM Spring ‘15 Preview (‘Carina’)
- OneNote integration with Dynamics CRM
- Skype for Business Preview
- Office 2016 Preview
- Surface Hub
- Power BI
Full details of the announcements can be found by reading the formal press release from Microsoft here: http://news.microsoft.com/2015/03/16/microsoft-empowers-business-transformation/
You can listen to the keynote video via this link: http://news.microsoft.com/convergence2015/
I captured some slides of these announcements or demos. These are shown below.
Microsoft Social Engagement (formally known as Microsoft Social Listening)
Azure IoT Suite
Dynamics CRM Spring ‘15 Preview (‘Carina’)
OneNote Integration with Dynamics CRM
Skype for Business (Formally known as Lync)
Office 2016 Preview
Another year has gone by and the Microsoft Convergence has landed. It returns again to Atlanta. Here thousands will pack into the Georgia World Congress Center venue to attend sessions, be part of the exhibition and do LOTS of networking.
As I work my way though the week, I will endeavour to post various information and photos here on this blog to share this years experience.
Tomorrow we kick off officially with the Keynote. This sets the scene for the whole week and gets us all motivated.
Looking forward to it!
If you start a trial in New Zealand you may notice that the NZ Dollar is not an option you can choose for the default currency. Don’t worry, if you keep reading you will be able to add the New Zealand currency ($ (en-NZ) ) to your instance of Microsoft Dynamics Marketing (MDM). You can also use these steps if you want to add the New Zealand currency in other MDM instances.
Adding the New Zealand Currency
Follow the steps below:
1. Choose Home > Settings > Business Administration > Categories
2. In the Category Type drop-down menu, select Currency
3. Choose the New button to create a new currency
4. Enter the Name of the currency in the Category Name field, i.e. New Zealand Dollar. An entry is required
5. Enter a description of the currency. An entry is not required
6. You can leave the Account field blank for now
7. Select the currency Symbol ($ en-NZ) for for NZ. A symbol is required
8. Choose Submit
You can repeat the steps above for any other currencies you want to add. If you would like to see more detail, then head to http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics/marketing-customer-center/configure-regional-settings-and-time-zones.aspx, “Configure default currency” section.
Hope that helps
As I write this article, New Zealand (NZ) Office 365 subscribers have their services hosted out of a data center in Singapore. The distance from New Zealand to Singapore is a good length, which means it can take a bit longer for our client requests in NZ to hit the servers in Singapore meaning Latency can be a issue for some customers.
We have known for a while now that there is a new data center in Australia. Actually two of them. One in Sydney and the other in Melbourne. This is great news. Since geographically Australia is closer to NZ than Singapore, this will mean greater speed connections and a drop in latency. The new service includes two geo-redundant sub regions in NSW and Victoria.
But the question now for customers is … how do I access the Australia Office 365 data center or move my existing Office 365 subscription to Australia from Singapore? Well, this article will provide you with options for those queries.
When is it scheduled for release?
The Australian data center is planned to start taking new subscriptions from March this year. Remember these are for new sign-ups of Office 365.
When is my Office 365 instance scheduled to be moved?
Standard Office 365 instance moves from Singapore to Australia will commence in September 2015. See below to move earlier.
What is the process for moving my existing Office 365 subscription?
Microsoft has put together a quick process table and guide to explain this for you. The table from the guide is shown below.
What planning should be done before shifting to Australia?
I would recommend you take a look at this page on TechNet. This page has some handy tasks to do. The page also includes the link to apply for the beta program. https://technet.microsoft.com/en-nz/library/dn879433.aspx
Can I sign up early to have my Office 365 instance moved?
You can apply for an early move by visiting the beta request form and firstly signing into MS Connect and completing the form.
Remember, you must notify the Office 365 support team if you DO NOT want to move to the Australia data centre. All New Zealand instances will be moved eventually to Australia.
This is going to be of huge benefit to APAC customers, especially for Australia and New Zealand. Here in NZ, we are looking forward to this new data center.
As we continue to work more and more with Office 365, we are likely require some form of integration from our custom application or business system with Office 365. The Office 365 platform has some APIs available for integration, which will also allow our hybrid systems to integrate with the cloud.
The Office 365 APIs are exposed using the REST architecture. The following API areas (you could also say these a Office 365 data areas) are available now for you to interact or integrate with.
- Mail – read, compose and send messages and attachments, manage folders in a user’s mailbox in Office 365 or Exchange Online
- Calendar – provides access to a user’s contacts and contact folders in Office 365 or Exchange Online
- Contacts – provides access to events, calendars, and calendar groups in Exchange Online as part of Office 365
- Files – provides access to work with OneDrive for Business Files and Folders
- Discovery Service – to interact with the Discovery Service API you send HTTP and OData requests. Discovery Service supports discovering Calendar, Contacts, Mail, MyFiles (for OneDrive and OneDrive for Business service endpoints), and RootSite (for SharePoint).
So what can you do with these APIs? Head to this URL for detailed information on each, it’s quite useful. http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/office/office365/api/api-catalog
- I wanted to included this illustration (taken from http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/office/office365/howto/platform-development-overview), which clearly shows you must be authenticated first before accessing the Office 365 data layer.
The illustration also shows you can choose your desired application programming language along with your development environment toolset when working with non-Microsoft toolsets such as XCode or Eclipse/Android Studio.
Some Helpful Links
Below are some helpful links when working with the Office 365 APIs. These can also help you get started.
Office 365 APIs starter projects, code samples, and videos
Office 365 Starter Project for ASP.NET MVC
If you want to get a look at some starter code, have a look at this one: