Dynamics CRM Power Pane

Dynamics CRM Power Pane is a very useful tool for Dynamics CRM. This tool is distributed as an extension for Google Chrome and you can download it in Chrome Store. (Google Chrome is one of officially supported browsers. I have been using Google Chrome with Dynamics CRM 2016 on premise for about 7 months and in my experience, it works perfectly.) Dynamics CRM Power Pane has several interesting and useful function.

It is very easy to use. After adding the extension into your Chrome you will see a new orange lightning icon in the left up corner. After clicking on the icon, you will see a menu like on the picture.

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Let’s go briefly through the available actions. To perform these action you need to open some record in CRM. I test all actions on Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 on premise.

Record Actions

The first group of actions is called Record Actions. The Entity Name action returns a schema name of the current entity. As you know the schema name can be different than Display Name. Custom entities have always different names because of a prefix.

The Record Id shows a record Unique Id. The Unique Id is the primary key in an entity database table. The Id is also needed when you word with CRM SDK or CRM Web API. The Id cannot be shown on the entity form in a standard way.

The Record Url shows the unique URL of the records. You can send it to another user to directly open the entity form with the current record. CRM has an Email a link button which generates a new email with record Name and URL. However, this link includes actual Form Id and the record will be opened in the same form as you use. This has two basic problems. The other user may not have the privilege to see the same form as you do and CRM shows him an error (for example HRM department can have its own Contact form which is not accessible to another department). Also, the user could be used to using another form and he would have to change his default form manually because CRM always uses the last active form to open a record. So, in fact, this link would change user preference.

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Form Actions

The second group is called Form Actions. You should be very careful about using the first one – Enable All Fields. This is extremely powerful action because it allows you to disobey Business Rules and Javascript form restriction. CRM has no other field protection so you can change fields values and then save the records. This actions should be used by CRM admins only. Business Rules are usually set up to follow some business logic or to ensure high quality of stored data. If you don’t follow these rules you could create incorrect or incomplete records.

The Show Hidden Fields shows fields which were hidden by Javascript or Business rules. It does not show fields which are not placed on the form.

The Disable Field Requirement allows you to save records with blank required fields (this affects both standard required fields and business rule required fields). This is another very dangerous action. You could create records with missing key information and such records are useless in most cases. They could also create problems with data reporting etc.

The Schema Names as Label actions shows schema names instead of Display Names on the form. This is very practical. You don’t have to open entity form to get a correct schema name of the fields. The Schema Names as Description has a similar effect – it shows the Schema Name as a Display Name tooltip. The last action refreshes form without a refreshing entire web page.

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As you can see, Dynamics CRM Power Pane can make life easier for CRM consultants and admins. But I would not recommend to giving this tool to all users. They could create a chaos or other problems with your data. On the other hand, the tool can cause no data protection issue because all fields with active Field Security are well protected.

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