Best Practices for Fields in Microsoft Dynamics 365

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Dynamics makes it easy to extend its out of box standard field set to meet your company's needs. You can add your own custom fields to the out of box entities as you need, but you'll want to be sure to follow these best practices!

No Duplicates

The system will not allow you to create two fields with the same field name however, you can create two fields with the same display name. Even though you CAN, doesn't mean you should. You definitely want to avoid making this mistake. Not only can it cause confusion to administrators and users when seeing two fields with the same name, but it causes issues with import/export.

If you have two fields in a view with the same display name, you ARE able to export the view from Dynamics to Excel. If you manipulate the data in Excel and attempt to re-import your changes, you will receive an error. This is because the import process doesn't know which field is supposed to map to which.

What Am I?

When creating new fields, always use the description field. The description field on the field will translate to a tooltip on the form that users will see. You may think that a field is self-explanatory based on its name, but consider a new user starting at your company trying to learn your business and the system.

Option Sets

Quite a few releases ago, Dynamics introduced Global Option Sets, which changed everything! Very rarely, when creating new option sets, do we create a single option set attached to the entity. Now we create a global option set and attach it to the field we create on the entity. Sometimes it's difficult to think ahead and know what relationships you'll be creating 5 years from now. Global option sets give you the flexibility to add option set fields to your relationship mappings.

Sometimes option set values become obsolete. If you need to remove an option set value and there are records that have used this value, those records will not retain the selected value if you delete the value from the option set. Before you delete any option set values, be sure to perform an advanced find and update any existing records using the value.

If you've ever attempted to create dependent option sets, you've probably learned that in order to use option set fields, you need to write some pretty complex JavaScript. And it's hard to account for every possible scenario when writing the code.  If you ever have a need to create "dependent option set fields", use custom entities and create a lookup field.

When you need to create a single option set but hide values from different sets of users, it's best to use a custom entity and create a lookup field for this as well. You can apply security to the custom entity and add users to the appropriate teams as needed so that they only see the records they need to see.


For Calculated and Rollup fields, always consider how many you will need as there is a limit to how many can be created. Beringer has a very powerful set of calculation workflow plugins that give you more flexibility when needing to create calculated and rollup fields. With our custom workflow plugin, there are no limits to how many calculated fields you can have. You simply create a Simple read-only field and use our plugins to perform the desired calculation.

Since the field is not a system calculated or rollup field, daily process no longer have to run to keep the field up-to-date. The workflow is triggered when needed, and the calculation/rollup occurs immediately. There is no delay and there is also no daily system processing time needed. Click here to learn more!

There is a limit to how many fields you can create on a single entity. Believe it or not, we've hit that limit once. Since Dynamics is SQL based, it's a SQL table limit based on columns and bytes. Click here if you want to learn more about this.

Contact Us!

Please contact us today if you have questions about Best Practices or if you would like assistance in setting up and testing any of the functionality mentioned in this blog or any of my previous blogs.

Beringer Technology Group, a leading Microsoft Gold Certified Partner specializing in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and CRM for Distribution. We also provide expert Managed IT ServicesBackup and Disaster RecoveryCloud Based Computing and Unified Communication Solutions.

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