Each entity in Dynamics 365 has a series of views associated with it that allow you to see the records in the CRM application. Whenever you create a new data entity, the application will automatically create a set of public and system views. An example of a public view is My Active Contacts; examples of system views are Account Lookup View and Opportunity Quick Find View.

System views are important to the operation of searching and creating and updating records. In today’s post, we’ll explore these different views.

Lookup Views

A lookup view is used when searching for and selecting a related entity record via a lookup field on an entity form. The lookup will by default use the related entity’s Lookup view. There is one lookup view per entity, however when configuring the lookup field on the forms any other view may be selected. Additionally, view selection can be locked and/or limited to user’s own records.

When looking up a record via the lookup field and a search value has been entered, the matched results will be shown as follows:

For the legacy web client, only the first three columns, left to right, of the related entity Lookup View are displayed. In the new Unified Interface, the first two columns are shown, and clicking on the dropdown will show all Lookup view columns. Some lookups such as Customer – which can be either Accounts or Contacts – display both to be selected as shown in the above screenshot.

You can switch to another view – by clicking on Change View – if the data filter applied to the Lookup View excludes the data being searched for. For example, the Account Lookup view filters on Active Accounts only by default, so selecting another view may be more appropriate.

Lookup views cannot be deleted or deactivated, but they can be edited. You are unable to create any additional lookup views.

Lookup searches

When entering a value into a lookup field and the <Enter> button or lookup icon is pressed, a search is carried out on the related item’s data using the Find columns defined in the related entity’s Quick Find View.

Click on Add Find Columns to see which columns (fields) are used in searching:

In theory, there is no limit to the number of columns that can be selected for Find, although using too many can degrade search performance. A best practice is to limit the number of Find columns by including only fields where a user is likely to know the information about a connected record. There is a system process that creates an index for selected fields except for large text fields. Quick Find Views can have their own filtering, which pre-filters data sets prior to searching – e.g., filter by Active Customers.

You can define the columns of data displayed in the search results view using Add View Columns:

Quick Find Views

The Quick Find view is associated with the Search tool present on entity view pages.

When a user enters a search term for a record (remember * for a ‘begins with’ wildcard), the data returned is based on the results found by the columns defined as Find Columns, and the results displayed are determined by the View Columns, as described earlier. Quick Find Views are also used by the Global Search feature.

Best practice: configure the quick find results to be similar to the “default” view for that entity so as not to be too jarring a change.

The Search Results view is the Quick Find view:

Quick Find Views cannot be deleted or deactivated, but they can be edited. You cannot create new Quick Find views.

Global Search (Categorized or Multi-entity)

The Global Search is available on the main Dynamics command bar.

When a search term is entered, a search is carried out against all entities enabled for Global search (see system settings for multi-entity or categorized search and for relevance search see the Entity Properties in Customization) and the search matching is against the Find Columns of the Quick Find Views for those enabled entities. When a match is found, the data displayed is the first three columns (left to right) of the Quick Find View for the matched entity.

Any entities can be enabled for Categorized search – enabled in the System Settings. However, only ten entities are included in the searches. If more than ten are selected a message will prevent. You can change the display order, left to right, of the results for Global Searches via System Settings and the General tab: see Set up Search and click Select.

Global Search (Relevance)

The Global Relevance Search is also available on the main Dynamics command bar. First it needs to be enabled in System settings. Note: This is not available in On-premises environments

When a search term is entered, a search is carried out against all entities enabled for Relevance search in the Entity Properties in Customization and the search matching is against the Find Columns of the Quick Find Views for those enabled entities.

The numbers in parenthesis indicate the number of selected fields in the Quick Find selections

When a match is found, the data displayed in a single list with the most relevant results first. Meaning if the user types in three words the results will first display records with all three words, highlighting each instance of the search term.

Advanced Find View

When using the Advanced Find search tool for locating data, the view used for displaying the results is determined by the entry point of initiating an Advanced Find search. If a user is already in a particular entity view and Advanced Find is launched, the entity that Advanced Find is associated with is that same entity. For example, the user has the My Active Contacts view displayed, the search entity will be set to Contact and the view set to the same view, My Active Contacts, as the access point.

If the user then changes the Look For entity to another, the Use Saved View sets to [new]. When the user then creates a query and executes it, the results loaded will be displayed using the Advanced Find View.

The primary Advanced Find View cannot be deleted or deactivated, but it can be edited. You cannot create new views of this type; however, you can of course create personal views using the Advanced Find tool.

There you have it… everything you ever wanted to know about views! But if you’re hungry for more information, check out our blog on relevance search configuration. Happy Dynamics 365’ing!

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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.