Monday, 26 February 2018

Allowing users to see a lookup field as a dropdown field in Dynamics Portals

21:53 Posted by Elaiza Benitez , , , No comments
End user experience for Dynamics Portals is key for making Dynamics Portals feel less like Dynamics 365 and more like an actual portal. Errr, does this makes sense? Hopefully it does.

One of the end user experiences that can be changed in a supported manner is the display of a Lookup field in Dynamics Portals. When you configure an Entity Form or a Web Form Step that has a Lookup field, it behaves like the following.

Not a problem but put yourself in a Dynamics Portals end users' shoes:

If I only see eight values, why can't I just select it in two clicks? 
Why do I have to see this pop up window and then select the value from this list? 
Oh... what does this search field do?

Exactly. By default since there is a Lookup field on the Entity Form or Web Form Step, it will behave similar to the Dynamics 365 out-of-the-box functionality of a Lookup field. As a Dynamics 365 user you would be familiar with this layout. As a Dynamics Portals end user this would be unfamiliar.

The Lookup functionality for Dynamics Portals is valid when there's a large volume of records/information for an end user to select but when there is only a few to select from, it's over kill to display the Lookup. Keep it simple for the end user.

What can you do to make this end user experience better? Take a look at my vlog to learn more.

Web Form Metadata

Yeah, it's my favourite. You would have guessed it from my previous vlogs as I've shared a couple of tricks with Web Form Metadata.

To make a Dynamics 365 lookup field appear as a dropdown field for a Dynamics Portals Entity Form or Web Form Step,
  • Create a Metadata record
  • Set the Type to Attribute
  • Select the Dynamics 365 lookup field
In the Control Style section, there is a field called "Style." In this field there is an option you can select called "Render Lookup as Dropdown."

Select this option and away you go.


If you are using Filtered Lookups in your Dynamics Portals Entity Form or Web Form Step I'm afraid this option is not valid. The field in Dynamics Portals will display all values instead of conforming to the Dynamics 365 behaviour of Filtered Lookups.


By using Web Form Metadata you can change how an end user interacts with a Dynamics 365 lookup field by displaying it as as a dropdown field in Dynamics Portals. You're keeping the end user experience simple in the scenario where there isn't a large volume of values (records) to select.

Hope you enjoyed this tip.

Till next time.


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