Multitasking isn’t necessarily the most efficient working method for us humans with only a very limited capacity for concurrent threads in our CPU. The reality however is that the days of an information worker are filled with a never ending dance of switching between apps and windows. With large Full-HD monitors (and soon 40 inch 4K screens) it would simply be a waste of space not to have several applications, documents or web pages open simultaneously, to make it easier to combine information from different sources to get our jobs done.
CRM 2013 has been redesigned for a single window UI paradigm that kills the need for most popup windows while working in the end user areas of the application. This works great when searching for information related to a particular account, opportunity etc. but there are situations when you need to work with the data in more detail, to compare the contents of multiple records, for example. At times like these you can find yourself wishing you had those multiple CRM windows you could switch between.
Instead of having to manually open several different sessions of CRM in your browser, you can leverage the built-in navigation paths for popping records open in a new window. In a list view you can right-click on a record to reveal the menu that offers this feature:
If you’ve already clicked open the record you want to continue working with while navigating onto a different part of the application, you’ll find an icon in the top right corner of the form that will allow you to pop the current record open onto a new browser window:
Great, so there are ways to have the individual records open simultaneously. Now, as a person who mainly works with CRM system customization and configuration instead of the data, I often find myself wishing to have two different parts of the application open at any given time: the end user records and the solution management interface. This way I can more easily pinpoint the views, fields, form components etc. from the end user UI that I want to manipulate in the customization UI. Ever since CRM 2013 arrived it has therefore become a routine for me to open two copies of the CRM organization in separate browser tabs, usually by copy-pasting the URL from the first tab onto a brand new one and hitting enter.
When working with CRM Online organizations I noticed that if you access CRM via the Office 365 Admin portal as a system administrator, you’re by default taken to the CRM Settings area instead of your home page as defined in the Default Pane and Default Tab of your personal settings. The reason is that the URL gets appended with a few additional parameters and ends up looking like this: https://orgname.crm4.dynamics.com/main.aspx?Origin=Portal&page=Settings&area=nav_administration. While I almost never want to go to that Administration page directly, it did give me an idea for a little productivity tweak that I can use for shaving off a few clicks from my average working day.
As we can see from the URL, there are parameters for variables called “page” and “area”. The last one looks like a sitemap subarea ID (you can review these via several config tools, such as the Sitemap Editor found in XrmToolbox), so the first one must be the sitemap area ID then. Hmm, I wonder if I changed the link to point to the Solutions subarea ID instead, would that take me to the list of solutions that I so frequently need to access? Let’s try https://orgname.crm4.dynamics.com/main.aspx?Origin=Portal&page=Settings&area=nav_solution and see what happens:
Once we paste the scripts into the URL fields of bookmarks on our browser and add them to the toolbar, there’s now a powerful set of quick access buttons to take us to the frequently visited areas of the CRM application in any CRM 2013 organization that we have currently open in the active browser tab.
Last but not least, if you have any thoughts on how the CRM 2013 navigation options should be developed further in upcoming releases, be sure to review these links to feature suggestions on Microsoft Connect and cast your vote for the ones that you feel would help your organization’s users to be more productive when working with Dynamics CRM. Thank you.