Microsoft Dynamics CRM Ribbon Workbench

Scott Durrow’s Ribbon Workbench has been out for a few years now.  I recently had a project where I had an opportunity to use it.  I was quite impressed so thought I would share my experience and provide an example of its capability.

I obtained the tool from Scott’s site.  For those of you that have not visited the site, he has done a really great job of providing everything needed to get started including, getting started videos, a forum to post issues and lots of documentation.

The first step is to read and carefully follow the installation and setup instructions.   Spending a little extra time on this step will save you some potential pain and frustration later.  The first thing I did after installation was to create a solution file with the entities I planned to modify and exported the file for backup and recovery.  It is important to ensure you keep the backup file in a safe place so that you can restore it in the event something unexpected occurs.

In this example I am modifying the Opportunity entity so I created a solution with the Opportunity to open in the Ribbon Workbench.

To open the Ribbon Workbench you need to go to Settings Customization and select the Ribbon Workbench icon then select your solution file from the list of available options.


After loading the solution you can view the three areas of the entity available to work on; Home, Subgrid and Form. For this example I am working on the Form. I plan to move some custom buttons forward and remove some out-of-the-box buttons from the form.


Find the button you want to move, right click it and select the Customize Button option


This will result in placing a red checkmark on the button. Now you can select the button and drag it to the desired position.

Dragging button


Button’s new position on the form


Since you’ve already created a backup solution in the event you need to rollback changes, you can now publish your changes and when completed, open an entity record in CRM to check your work.  It is important to know that your changes are not saved until you publish them. 

Here’s a tip; if you’re having trouble getting the drag and drop feature to work as expected in Internet Explorer, try the Chrome browser to see if that works better. If not, you can file a support issue in the Workbench Ribbon forum.

Thank you Scott for a great toolset! It makes modifying the Microsoft Dynamics CRM command bar incredibly easier.

CRM Role Updater Codeplex

Those of us who deploy, administer or configure CRM know that updating Security Roles can be a time consuming process.  We also know that  It doesn’t take long for security role updates to become laborious, tedious and honestly, I make us wish we could spend our time doing other, more fun things in CRM.

So what’s a customizer to do?  You guessed it, my good friend and fellow MVP Tanguy to the rescue.  Tanguy created a nice Role Updater utility and made it available to the community for use.  I use it and love it so here’s a high level walk-through.

First,  you will need to download the utility and save it to a folder.  You can then open the folder and run the Role Updater application.


You’ll first receive a Welcome screen.  Here you will click on the Select your CRM 2011 Organization and create a New Connection:


Select the Create New Connection button and enter the information requested.  You can mouse over the fields to display information regarding the values needed for each field.


Your connection information will be saved for future use.

You will see a list of security roles available after the connection is made.  You can select All, one or hold the CNTRL key to select multiple.


You can now select Privileges you want to modify from the list on the right, choose the Level and select Next when you are finished.



It is that simple.  Once your updates are complete, in my case it took only a few seconds, you can continue configuring additional privileges or exit the tool.   Although it is not necessary, I generally like to spot check the roles to ensure updates were made as expected.

Let’s do a little calculation to discover how many clicks this tool save me.  In 99.9 % of my implementations, I recommend to the client that we remove the delete rights from all security roles for all entities and activities.  My recommendation is to use the Close / Cancel for Activities and Deactivate option to remove records from view rather than delete.  The reason is pretty obvious, deactivating or closing a record is recoverable, deleting is not.  Considering this change only, the tool saves me at least 20 clicks per security role.  If I have to change 10 roles, well, that’s 200 clicks.

This is a terrific time saver when implementing a new CRM system, a new Custom Entity or any time that you have multiple changes to Security Roles.  This is now my ‘Go To’ tool for Security Role changes.

Thanks again Tanguy for another great tool.



Have you visited CodePlex lately?

I dropped by CodePlex the other day and was amazed to find no less than 73 CRM 2011 related projects available.  The site has tools and utilities to fit needs from the simple to complex.

Here is a list of a few that I’ve used and pointed others to as well as some that fill a need that I often here people request

SiteMap Editor for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

SiteMap Editor for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 helps developer and customizers to configure the Site Map in a graphical way. You’ll no longer have to create solution, add component, export, update Xml and reimport the solution to update the SiteMap.

Metadata Document Generator for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

Metadata Document Generator makes it easier for Dynamics CRM 2011 integrators to generate documentation about entities and attributes metadata. You’ll no longer have to write “by hand” these awful tables full of metadata information. It’s developed in C#.

CRM 2011 Visual Ribbon Editor

Visual Ribbon Editor is a tool for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 that lets you edit CRM ribbons. This ribbon editor shows a preview of the CRM ribbon as you are editing it and allows you to add ribbon buttons and groups without needing to fully understand the ribbon XML schema.

Diagnostics Tool for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

Diagnostics Tool for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 helps CRM developers and administrators to enable trace and dev Errors on CRM server. It also generates an HTML report file with information about the CRM deployment.

View Layout Replicator for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

View Layout Replicator make it easier for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 customizers to copying the layout of a view and paste it to the layout of other views in the same entity

If you haven’t visited CodePlex lately, you might want to drop by and spend some time perusing the many useful tools.  If nothing else, add the site to your favorites and drop by monthly to discover what is new.


View Layout Replicator – Oh Ya!

I was working on customizing a CRM Online system today.  Part of the change was to adjust the various Views of several entities so I thought I would try out the View Replicator that was developed by one of our fav Dynamics CRM MVP’s, Tanguy, and is available on Codeplex.

Here’s a quick walkthrough of the tool.  I’m using the Account entity as my example.

First, I updated the Account entity’s view, “My Active Accounts”, to meet the design requirements and saved my changes.


Next, I opened the View Replicator and connected to the CRM Online Organization.  In order to connect to a CRM Organization, you need to complete a couple of fields in the Connection wizard:

First, give your connection a name and then, for CRM Online, select the Custom Authentication option and select the CRM Online checkbox.  Enter the login live id that you use to access CRM Online, enter your password and enter for the Server Name if your Online Organization is hosted in North America.  You will see the other Server Name options available when you select the Server Name field.


Next select the Get Orgs button and select the Organization from the list returned.


At this point  you will receive a prompt that asks you if you want to connect, select Yes and you should receive a message stating Connection Successful.


You are now ready to Load the Entity you want to customize.  You do this by selecting the Load Entity button.


and select the entity that you want to customize.  In this example, I want to replicate the My Active Accounts View so I selected Account as the Entity and My Active Accounts from the Source View option.


As you can see, the view displayed is exactly as I customized it.  You also get a nice view of the xml as well.  Now to replicate.  In order to replicate the My Active Accounts view to the other Account views, all I need to do is select the Views from the Target View list.


I selected all of the Views to meet the design requirements then selected Save Views and Publish from the top menu.  I then checked the CRM Online Organization to confirm that the changes were made.

How wonderful is that and what a time saver!  I just updated more than 10 views in a matter of minutes.  Not only is it a time saver, but refreshing as well because if you are like me, updating views one-by-one is tedious.

So give it a try, and while you’re at it, check out some of Tanguy’s other tools.  I’m sure you’ll like them.


CRM Industry Templates

CRM industry templates are available for use.    The current releases include:

CRM industry templates are designed to extend the CRM application in a way that adds value to the application.  Visit the MarketPlace to learn more about the Accelerators and obtain the downloads.