Working with Account & Contact Hierarchies in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015


Dynamics CRM 2015 features a new way to visualise the relationships that exist between connected records.

Hierarchy visualisations provide a clear display of these structures by helping CRM users to navigate and understand each level.

In this introductory post to hierarchies we’ve highlighted how this new function can be practically applied to account and contact records in Microsoft Dynamics.

CRM has long enabled users to define parent and child account relationships but these lacked any inbuilt views that provided a graphical overlay.

In CRM 2015, Dynamics enables trees to be easily configured allowing users to easily follow the structures that exist between parent and child records.

As the example below shows this is a useful option when CRM is tracking multiple accounts that belong to the same group of companies:



To pop-out any record in the hierarchy click the new window icon:

Or, select an account tile by clicking the tick in the bottom right corner of any tile and select edit from the menu ribbon.

You can see if a record is associated with a hierarchy from a grid list as these records are prefixed with the icon shown below:



The same icon appears on individual records into top right corner of the form and it is also shown on the ribbon:



Clicking this icon from a grid list, or on a record form, opens the hierarchy view showing the position of the selected CRM record in the structure.

A hierarchy visualization can also be used to define the management structure of an organisation reflecting the lines of responsibility and influential contacts who work in each department.

The example below spans up to 3 hierarchy levels of contacts from the managing director at the top level, through senior executives to selected team departmental personnel:

The CRM hierarchy view will only fit a maximum of 4 tiles horizontally into the view, these are shown alphabetically by default.

If a hierarchy level has more than 4 records the view will show the number of the additional records either side of the present display enabling users to scroll left or right to browse through these members.


The left pane can also be used to navigate these hierarchies especially if they involve numerous contacts or more complex structures:

In the example shown below, only the top two hierarchy levels are shown, a CRM user would need to click the arrow below to expand each lower vertical branch, or use the navigation panel (above).

Only one of these lower level branches will be shown at a time. Here, the marketing team is expanded:


By clicking the arrow that appears under the sales director tile the view switches to expand the sales team structure:

Clicking one of the tiles at this child level in the hierarchy narrows the visualization to this branch:

Read more about hierarchies functionality for Dynamics CRM:

How to Create CRM Hierarchies
Product Family Hierarchies Explained
Hierarchy Security Profiles