The Microsoft Dynamics stack, its underlying Dataverse, and the related Power Platform are rich and robust, even overwhelming at times, especially to anyone early in their careers.
On my journey from user to system administrator to consultant, I needed help from those who had preceded me. This blog introduces my contribution to our present and future user community for what I hope will become your valuable resource.
I call this series: XrmToolBox Tool Tour.
In each subsequent installment, I’ll visit the functionality and uses of individual tools. But, before the Tour gets underway, what is XrmToolBox?
What Is XrmToolBox?
A cadre of developers came to the rescue to address those moments when every admin needs “something more” to complete an assigned task or solve a problem that the apps don’t do out-of-the-box.
First, in 2008, Tanguy Touzard developed and released a tool to update in bulk the attribute to show a field in the advanced find list, and he offered it on his website free of charge. Then, as he and his friends developed more, he created a repository for them all in 2012 and released XrmToolBox.
The name may appear odd if you’re new to our world and more familiar with the abbreviation CRM (Customer Relationship Management). These early programs evolved in complexity and functions until practitioners coined xRM in the early 2000s. This new abbreviation stood for either eXtreme Relationship Management or the variable “x” represented any relationship an organization managed.
Tanguy seized upon this moniker for his tool. The stylized name uses camel-casing used in code, referring to capitals appearing within a string of letters like humps on a camel to improve readability.
There are 255 tools so far, and they’re all free—and will continue to be in the spirit of his original generosity. They gladly accept donations to support continued development, but they’re neither required nor expected.
How Do You Use XrmToolBox?
The application works by connecting to the Microsoft Dataverse, the foundational data service leveraged by Dynamics 365 and Power Platform. You can then select any tool you choose to customize or configure the connected environment.
To get started, visit XrmToolBox and click the “Download latest version” button. If you’re using an on-premises deployment, you may need to find an earlier release to work with your version. If that’s the case for you, click “See other releases” below the download button.
The site also contains detailed prerequisites and installation instructions. In addition to these initial instructions, the site provides documentation targeted at users, developers, and IT administrators.
The initial installation contains a set of 36 tools, mainly from Tanguy himself, to get you started. You’ll be able to search for and install others from within the app.
When Do You Use XrmToolBox?
The more familiar you become with the available tools, the more often you’ll find uses for them. So if you hear yourself asking, “How do I (fill in the blank),” you should open XrmToolBox before clicking one more button.
But I wonder why you didn’t have it open already?
I’ll admit, it was later in my career before I created the habit. I urge you to skip the pain and learn from my sluggish start. You may even consider adding the app to your computer’s startup routine.
What Issues to Expect Using XrmToolBox?
Occasionally, you may see an error when trying to install or update a tool. If you do, there are instructions for resetting your installation.
However, in recent versions, I have found that the issue rarely lies with XrmToolBox, but an early release of a new tool. If that’s the case for you, you can easily remove the offending tool from the app or by deleting its DLL (.dll) file from the XrmToolBox app folder.
Even in those moments of frustration, please be kind and remember that you received this gift for free, and the developers are human, too. They appreciate a note to let them know of bugs, and GitHub provides a platform for your feedback.
Apple & Macs
If you’re a Mac or Chrome OS user, I’m sorry to disappoint you; this is a Windows application only.
Lack of Tool-specific Documentation
That’s where I come in. This series will offer those details as I share my lessons learned through trial and error and directed testing.
I ask for your patience with me on this journey. I’ll create the blogs as I can and start with some of the popular tools around the C5 office that we use regularly and on current projects. If you have a tool you’d like featured, let me know.
Also, if you find an error in my notes, I want to know that. I’m always glad for the suggestions and feedback.
Bulk Workflow Execution
Attribute Usage Inspector (Coming Soon)
Bulk Data Updater (Coming Soon)
Option Set Editor (Coming Soon)
Personal User Views Migration (Coming Soon)
Solution Components Mover (Coming Soon)
View Layout Replicator (Coming Soon)