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3rd Day of CRMas: Help me Dynamics CRM, You’re My Only Hope

Welcome to Day 3 of our 12 Days of CRMas. In this blog series, we are going to explore the best and brightest Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015's new features. Today we'll take a look at the new custom help capabilities.

A high level of flexibility is a powerful thing. In your CRM system it means you can leverage both existing functinality with a few tweaks, all the way to custom functionality that supports your organizational needs. However, with great power comes greater responsibility.

All of this flexibility means, unfortunately, when users click the help button, the out-of-the-box help can fall a little out of touch.

CRM 2015 offers a straightforward way to display custom help instead of the standard version. Below are a few ways it can help guide users and lead to amazing experiences in your application:

  • Tailor only what your organization needs – Custom help is enabled on an entity-by-entity basis. You use the standard Contact but a highly modified Opportunity? No problem! Leave the standard Contact help in place and redirect the Opportunity help to something more relevant to the user.
  • Context-specific awareness – Users need different help when looking at a list of Accounts vs. a specific Account. CRM provides this context to ensure the right help window is opened.
  • Offer role-specific help – A business developer often needs different help from someone in the call center. Role-based forms in conjunction with custom help will provide that personalized and relevant context.
  • Multi-language support – English-only might not cut it. The user's language code is passed along when opening the help page, so the appropriate language-specific experience is maintained.
  • Follow company brand standards – The custom help pages are HTML pages and can be designed to fall in line with correct logos, colors, and brand standards.

Step one is to create the help pages and put them in a hosted location. Remember, you can do this one entity at a time so no need to boil the ocean. Enabling help includes two main steps: one at the system level then one at the entity level. Navigate to Settings->Administration->System Settings.

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  • Set Use custom Help for customizable entities to Yes
  • Set the Global custom Help URL to the location hosting your main help page (the page that will be shown when clicking the help icon in the navigation bar)
  • Optionally set Append parameters to URL to Yes

Next navigate to Settings->Customizations->Customize the System

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For each entity that will use custom help:

  • Click on the entity
  • Choose Use custom Help
  • Set the URL for this entity's help