CRM 2011 Chart - Cases by Satisfaction RatingOne of Microsoft’s goals with Dynamics CRM 2011 was to deliver intelligent experiences across the enterprise. Some of the most important items that Microsoft included in the CRM 2011 toolbox for that are charts and dashboards – collectively referred to as visualizations. Visualizations not only provide a way to rapidly boil a lot of data down into a chart or graph; they also allow managers and users drill down on data and move from analysis to action very quickly. Visualizations can be created at the “system” level (for distribution across your enterprise), and users can create them at the “personal” level (for their own individual use, or to share selectively with colleagues).  In this entry, I’ll take a look at how to create personal Charts and Dashboards in 5 easy steps.


First a Few Assumptions

When creating personal charts and dashboards, you should generally have a pretty strong understanding of using views and filters.  In addition, if you create a particularly useful dashboard, you may want to share it with your peers – so understanding how to share items in CRM 2011 is also a good idea.  A colleague of mine has promised to blog on both of those topics soon, so if you’re not yet comfortable with those concepts, make sure you follow us to keep up with the latest posts on those topics.

Would You Like Your Blog with a Side Dish of Video?

I covered this same topic in a recent video posting.  If you’d like to get the overview in 4 minutes (or less) then check out the video.  Or you can read on to have step-by-step instructions.


How To: CRM 2011 Charts in 5 Steps

Creating a personal chart in Dynamics CRM has been designed to be a simple process. After you’ve created you first chart, you’ll find that creating charts feels familiar and natural. Here are the steps to take:

  1. First, call a high paid CRM consultant…

Only joking.

First of all, you’ll want to make sure that you’re on the list that you want to create a chart for. For example, if you want to create a pie chart of closed cases broken out by customer satisfaction, then start by navigating to the list of cases. Next, make sure that charts are currently displayed for the cases. To do this, click on the Charts tab in the ribbon menu, click on the Chart Pane button and choose either Right or Top.

Charts Menu in Dynamics CRM 2011

And here, at last, are the 5 steps:

  1. Click the Charts tab in the ribbon menu.
  2. Click the New Chart button.
  3. Select the type of chart that you want (such as a pie chart).
  4. Fill out the fields in the chart area to tell CRM how to construct the chart.
  5. Once your chart looks the way that you want, click Save and Close in the Ribbon menu.

Hover over the interactive image, below, for step-by-step instructions.


Just like that, you’ve created a chart that appears “in line” next to your list! Tell your boss you slaved away all night creating that chart and ask for a day off next week.

How To: CRM 2011 Dashboards in 5 Steps

Okay you got me, it doesn’t EXACTLY take 5 steps to create a dashboard. To create a dashboard you have to create a chart.  And to create a chart you need to go to the list and make charts visible next to it. And you might want to create a view to use for your chart. But c’mon, would you have really read a blog titled “how to create a dashboard in 73 simple steps?” BUT, assuming that you’ve come this far with me, then there really are only about 5 more steps left to put your newly created chart inside of a personal dashboard. 

  1. Navigate to the view of Dashboards and select a personal dashboard that you will modify. If you don’t have any personal dashboards, then find a system dashboard that you like and click the “Save As” button in the ribbon menu – now you can save it under a different name and it becomes a personal dashboard.
  2. Click the Edit button in the ribbon menu.
  3. In the Insert area of the ribbon menu, click the Chart button.
  4. Choose the record type, view and chart that you want to insert and click the OK button.
  5. Using drag-and-drop, move the chart to the desired location in the dashboard, then click save and close (clicking save and close is actually step #6, but for some unknown reason I wanted to keep the number of steps to 5 for both charts and dashboards).

Once you’ve done this a time or two, you should be able to create new charts and modify your dashboards in just a few minutes.

Pimp My Dashboards

Dashboard Including Map Charts Grid Iframe Web Resource Custom XML in Dynamics CRM 2011What else can you do with charts and dashboards?  Plenty. It’s very easy to add a grid to a dashboard, for example. You can also edit the “code” behind charts to customize them even further. And, dashboards include custom elements called Iframes and Web Resources. Using these more technical tools, you can create highly customized dashboards that deliver tailored intelligence to users across your enterprise.  The nearby illustration is just one example of what you can achieve when you start to pimp out your dashboards.