Setting Custom Help Content in Dynamics CRM 2015

With the release of Dynamics CRM 2015, Microsoft has introduced a new feature to customise help content.

You can access custom help content simply by clicking the ‘?’ Help button to view contextually defined help topics at a specific entity level as an alternative to default global help.

This allows database administrators to assist users with personalised help topics covering your own CRM customizations and bespoke database development.

This is especially useful if your system is highly customized.

For example, you can use the help content on a specific entity which will enable users to understand its use and main processes.

CRM help content provides compact information in a web page that users can following to learn more about the processes that support this entity.

On most standard entities Dynamics CRM already offers contextual help.

Upon clicking the help icon on an account record a new window opens showing content on the CRM Customer Center to create or edit an account as well as links to other related topics:

CRM help content is compact information in a webpage.

We can override out of box help content by specifying the URL which can include a page on an internal SharePoint site.

CRM help content can be used two ways:

1. Global
2. Entity Level help

Customizing both is simple and easy to configure.

Global Help Content

Let’s assume we’ve created our own bespoke HTML Page with name 'new_global' that reflects our branding and CRM help topics.

We want to make this our new CRM help content that users will be directed to when they click the help button.

Navigate to CRM Settings -> Administration -> System Settings

On the General tab there is a Custom Help section where the Custom Help URL can be inserted as shown below.

Click ‘Yes’ to use custom Help for customizable entities which will enable a new URL to be entered which will be your custom help content.

We’ve also selected yes to Append Parameters to URL.

This is an optional advanced setting that will enable CRM to pass parameters which can be used to contextually modify the help content by a Javascript developer.

Once saved, when the user clicks the Help button they will be presented with our bespoke new global help page.

The above Help content is just a sample landing page to demonstrate how this can be related to your own business.

Entity Level Help

For more personalisation, contextual content custom help can be set for individual entities.

First, follow the steps shown above to define global help then navigate in CRM to: Settings -> Customization -> Customize the System -> Select Entity.

In this example we will specify a new help page for the Account Entity.

As shown below we’ve ticked the option to enforce custom Help and inserted the new URL that users will be directed to when they click Help from an account record.

The warning message confirms that custom help must first be set for on the general tab before an entity specific help URL can be applied.

To confirm just save and publish this.

CRM users will now be directed to this page from the List page of an account or directly from an account record when they click the Help button.

This process can be repeated for other entities to direct CRM user to the Help URL's that are specific to these.

For any CRM entities where a Help URL hasn't been set the user will be directed to the Global Custom Help URL that has been defined.

Advanced Help Content Customization

In the earlier setting we opted to add parameters to the URL. As a result a further string is been added to the URL.

In this scenario the typename parameter appears.

This is the logical name for an entity from where the help content is opened from. In this example the typename references ‘account’.

Other parameters are:

  • entrypoint: The type of page that the help was opened from including a form or a hierarchy chart. This parameter can’t be included if the help content is opened from the list view.
  • formid: GUID value of a form or Hierarchical chart. Again, you can’t see this parameters if it is opened from a list view.
  • userlcid : This is the language code identifier that is used by the current user.

The advantage of using parameters is that it allows developers to apply even greater control to display the Help content which is contextual to where it is opened from.

For example, if the Help button is opened from the list view of an entity it will display X content. When the button is clicked from a form of the same it will display Y content.

With the help of parameters we can define from where the help content is opened from? We can retrieve the parameter using the script and display the content.

In the example below CRM has included parameters which confirm the help entrypoint was a CRM account form:

This is a more advanced customisation and as stated it will require a developer who knows JavaScript to design the different content in webpage based on these parameters.

Contact Preact to learn more about configuring help and applying other customisations to your CRM database.