Spotlight on Dynamics 365 Multi-Select Fields

The release of Dynamics 365 v9 sees the long-awaited introduction of multi-select field lists.

Drop down selection lists have been available since CRM v4 but until now the native functionality didn't support multi-select option sets.

In this post, we'll focus on the new field type to share an example of how this works and highlight some limitations in the current v9.0 release.

Upon configuring a new field type this is shown as a 'MultiSelect Option Set'.

In this example, an 'Account Type' field has been configured with 5 multi-select options:

Previous versions of Dynamics only enabled a single selection from an option set field but using this new control, users have greater flexibility to make multiple selection.

If you already have a global option set defined in Dynamics this can now be published in the format of multi-select field type.

Switching to the account form, the expanded account type field is shown below:

In this example, only 5 options are configured so it's a quick process to scroll through and select a couple of options. 

For instances where there is a long list, the text search option will be a time saving option enabling users to filter the pick list based on these search terms.

As well as auto-complete to find matches, results are set to 'contains'. In this example, typing 'cer' immediately matches the 'Influencer' option:

As shown above, a select all option will add all the items from multi-select list but this is subject to a maximum of 150 values being selected. An error will be returned if attempting to select more than 150 items.

Consistent with the regular option set field type, it isn't possible to add new options on the fly as these must be configured in the settings areas.

In the example below, a user has selected options that confirm an account is both a customer as well as an influencer:

Shown in a list view, each selected option set is displayed, subject to the column width limit:

Due to the nature of this field, a sorting option isn't available in comparison to the single entry values shown in a list view. Also, on an editable grid, the 'group by' option will not pick up multi-select fields.

Within an advanced find, a query can be applied to filter Dynamics 365 views. In this example, we'll narrow the view to only show accounts that are both a customer and an influencer:

The new field type can also be exported as a FetchXML queries to use this data in external queries.

Other examples for using a multi-select option set on an account could be to define worldwide regions that a business operates, services that it offers, or perhaps its certifications.

At contact level, multi-select fields could be used to track data such as skills, subjects, qualifications or languages spoken. 

In the v9.0 release that we have used for this post it doesn't currently enable multi-select options as part of a Dynamics 365 business process flow, nor work in a business rule, or within an automated workflow which would prevents a default option(s) from being set.

We're looking forward to see what v9.x brings as existing Dynamics 365 customers will be upgraded to this release rather than v9.0. We'll be sure to update this post with news about further developments to multi-select option sets!

The examples we have shown in this post have featured the refreshed web user interface for D365 Version 9 but this new feature will also work with the new Unified User Interface (UUI).

RELATED: What's New in Dynamics 365 v9


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