Dear Joe CRM: Option Sets and LookupsDear JoeCRM,


I need to create a custom field with centrally managed values in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Can you help me understand my options?

-Option Upset Overload

Dear Option Upset Overload,

You have two choices: Option Sets and Lookups. Both Option Sets and Lookup Values can be universal and used by most types of records. System customizers can quickly add an Option Set, so why would you go through the additional work to configure the extra permissions and custom entity required for a lookup?

Here are a few benefits for performing the extra steps for choosing a Lookup over an Option Set:

  • Since a lookup is a discreet record, it can contain information that further describes the value.
  • Adding a value simply entails adding a new record. This allows specified end users to add new values on the fly, and not have to turn to the system customizer for help.
  • You don’t have to dole out system customizer permissions to the users assigned to adding new values. Create rights to the new entity rather than system customize rights are all that are required for those needing to add a new value.
  • Removing obsolete values is much easier with lookups. End users simply deactivate a record. This keeps historical data, but makes it unavailable to add to records going forward. Whereas deleting a value from the Option Set can be complicated.
  • Lookups can be configured so you can choose multiple values rather than only one. This is due to the fact lookups support parent/child relationships.
  • Users can use the type-ahead feature to quickly add a value.

With that said, the simplicity of Option Sets may be all that you require! Use the above bullet points as a guideline to help you make a thoughtful decision when adding your custom field.

Happy CRM’ing!

CRM ExpertMicrosoft Dynamics CRMCRM How To

Avatar for Joe D365

Joe D365

Joe D365 is a Microsoft Dynamics 365 superhero who runs on pure Dynamics adrenaline. As the face of PowerObjects, Joe D365’s mission is to reveal innovative ways to use Dynamics 365 and bring the application to more businesses and organizations around the world.