Microsoft has continued its focus on improving the user experience in its new release of the software by incorporating a number of new features for users and administrators to make configuring, using and administering views easier and more powerful. Based on some recent demos we’ve done for clients, I’m putting together a few blog posts to examine some of these improvements. The first of these posts will look at the newest features that users will encounter as they become familiar with CRM 2011. Let’s start with the basics of navigating to views.

The sitemap provides several new ways to quickly access views:

  1. Quick navigation to views: Users can go directly to a selected view from the sitemap links (the main navigational links in the UI). To navigate to a desired view, hover over a sitemap link until the triangular carat appears, and then select the view, as shown below:

    sitemap-link-to-views
     
  2. Cached views: When a user selects a view of a given entity, then navigates to another part of the application, when the user returns to the original entity, CRM 2011 remembers the last view they were working with in that session, regardless of the default view, and displays that. For example, if you browse to Contacts and select the “Inactive Contacts” view, then click on Accounts, the next time you click back to Contacts, the last view you were using is displayed, in this case the “Inactive Contacts” view. A small improvement, but a timesaver nonetheless, saving users a click in many cases.
  3. MRU – Most Recently Used: The main navigation of CRM 2011 now incorporates an MRU list that displays not only the last views the user was working with, but also the last individual records. If you are updating a set of records and moving through the application, the MRU list can quickly get you back to where you were moments before. You can also “pin” your favorite views and records to the MRU list so they are readily accessible every time you access CRM:

    MRU
    TIP: You can access the MRU list even fast by using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + 7.
     
  4. Filtering: You can filter views, much like filtering a table in Excel, in order to narrow down the records returned in a given list view. To filter a view, click the filter icon on the main view ribbon, or on the View tab (as shown below) and then select one or more filter options from the dropdown that appears in the column header. You can filter on more than one column, and you can create custom filters as well.

    filtering-views

    The “Custom Filter” dialog:
    custom-filter
     

In the next post, we’ll take a look at how to work with saved views in CRM 2011.