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Microsoft Dynamics GP 2016 Cookbook

By Mark Polino , Ian Grieve
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  1. Free Chapter
    Personalizing Dynamics GP
About this book
The latest release of Dynamics GP 2016 offers a powerful, adaptable, and cloud enabled enterprise accounting software solution. The new version has experienced changes in serviced-based architecture, workflow, existing functionalities, and the introduction of plenty of new features. This book will help you get the most out of Dynamics GP quickly and effectively. This book picks up where implementation training leaves off. Whether you are new or experienced, you will find useful recipes to improve the way you use and work with Dynamics GP. The book starts with recipes designed to enhance the usefulness of Microsoft Dynamics GP by personalizing the look and feel of the application. Most of the recipes are designed to give you tips for a typical installation of Dynamics GP, including core financials and distribution modules. The book then moves through recipes that include automating Dynamics GP to allow users or administrators to focus on value adding tasks, connecting Dynamics GP to Microsoft Office, exposing hidden features in Dynamics GP, PowerBI, and much more!
Publication date:
August 2016
Publisher
Packt
Pages
376
ISBN
9781786463401

 

Chapter 1. Personalizing Dynamics GP

In this chapter we are going to cover the following topics:

  • Personalizing the home page by selecting the right role

  • Improving visibility by setting required fields to bold and red

  • Further personalizing the home page by customizing the layout

  • Speeding access to data with Quick Links

  • Rearranging navigation to make it easier

  • Managing personal reports with My Reports

  • Viewing open items with Task List

  • Accessing accounts faster with Favorites in lookups

  • Cleaning up the mess by fixing Auto Complete errors

 

Introduction


This chapter explores recipes designed to enhance the usefulness of Microsoft Dynamics GP by personalizing the look and feel of the application. These recipes provide the first few steps in harnessing the full power of Dynamics GP. They are designed to improve productivity now, so don't wait to put them to use.

In almost all cases, the recipes in this chapter do not require an administrator and are available to the average user. The ability of each user to tailor these items to their own needs is what makes them so powerful.

By personalizing Dynamics GP, users get the opportunity to fine-tune the system to the way that they work. There is something incredibly satisfying about tailoring a system to make it more efficient, and we'll cover some of these personalizing options here.

While the nature of these recipes makes them useful right away, it is strongly recommended that these items be attempted in a test environment first.

 

Personalizing the home page by selecting the right role


Since version 2010 of Dynamics GP, Microsoft has placed a strong emphasis on user roles in both the organization and the software. Selecting the right role in the system presents many of the best Home Page options by default.

A role is usually selected by default when a user is created, and it's often wrong because at setup the focus is placed on job titles and not on the tasks the user performs. Additionally, user's roles evolve and change over time. Fortunately, changing a user's role is easy, so we'll look at how to do it in this recipe.

How to do it...

To change a user's Home Page role, complete the following steps:

  1. In Home Page, click on the Customize this Page link in the upper-right corner.

  2. Click on the Change Role button in the bottom-right corner.

    Changing the role resets any customizations that a user has made to their Quick Links or Business Analyzer settings in the home page; the user is prompted with a warning that their customizations will be lost and is given the choice of cancelling the change of role.

  3. Click on OK to indicate an understanding of the consequences of changing a role.

  4. Select Your Industry at the top. Changing an industry simply adds or removes the available role options immediately below. Selecting Other as the industry provides all of the role options.

  5. On the left-hand side, select the role that's closest to a user's responsibilities. As a role is highlighted, a description of that role's tasks is included on the right-hand side. Click on OK to accept the role:

See also

  • Managing personal reports with My Reports

  • Further personalizing the home page by customizing the layout

  • The Speeding up Navigation lists by disabling Business Analyzer recipe in Chapter 11, Maintaining Dynamics GP

 

Improving visibility by setting required fields to bold and red


Microsoft Dynamics GP provides an option for each user to identify the required fields on any form. By activating this setting, users can get a definitive visual cue indicating the minimum required fields on any form. This recipe shows you how to turn Required Fields bold red and what the end result looks like in both the desktop and in the web client (which was introduced in Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 R2).

Getting ready

Prior to changing the appearance of required fields, the Show Required Fields feature needs to be turned on—first in the desktop client and then in the web client as well. To activate this feature in either the desktop client or the web client, perform the following steps:

  1. Select Help (the white question mark on a blue background in the upper-right corner) from the main home page of Dynamics GP.

  2. Ensure that Show Required Fields has a check mark next to it. If it does not, click on the Show Required Fields item to turn this option on.

How to do it...

To improve the visibility of the required fields, follow these steps:

  1. The shortcut bar is the vertical bar on the top-left side of the screen when the Home button is selected on the left-hand side. From the shortcut bar, click on User Preferences, and then click on the Display button to open the User Display Preferences window; if you don't have User Preferences in the shortcut bar, click on the Microsoft Dynamics GP menu and then click on User Preferences.

  2. In the bottom-right corner, under the Required Fields heading, set Font Color equal to Red and Font Style equal to Bold:

  3. Click on Apply to accept the changes and close the window, and then click on OK to close User Preferences. Now, any windows that allow data entry will show their required fields in the desktop client in bold red, as shown in the following screenshot:

How it works...

Dynamics GP contains identifiers behind the scenes to mark fields as required. Dynamics GP uses these identifiers to change the color of the field name. Highlighting the required fields provides a quick visual cue in order to ensure that at least the minimum amount of data is entered prior to saving a form. This will save hours of time by preventing annoying messages indicating that the required fields have not been completed, especially since there is no indicator as to what field is missing.

There's more...

By default, activating Show Required Fields simply sets the required fields to black and regular. That is, it doesn't distinguish them at all. This is important because if Show Required Fields is off completely, Dynamics GP will prompt users to turn it on but that won't appear to have any effect.

There are some areas in Dynamics GP where required fields are not marked in red and bold despite this feature being properly applied. In almost all cases, these required fields occur in the grid section of a transaction entry form. This area of a form has a heading at the top and a grid that allows multiple entries under one heading. The nature of the programming behind the grid format prevents Dynamics GP from properly highlighting these fields, and unfortunately, there is no way to force a field inside the grid to reflect the Show Required Fields setting.

When a user receives a warning that a required field is missing but all the required fields appear to be correctly filled in, they should examine the fields in the grid for missing information. The most common culprits are the Unit of Measure and Site ID fields.

Modifier with VBA

With the available Modifier with VBA utility for Dynamics GP, an administrator or developer can make additional fields required, and in most cases, Dynamics GP will properly apply the red and bold formatting automatically. More information on Modifier with VBA is available from the manuals in Dynamics GP or from an authorized Microsoft Dynamics partner.

 

Further personalizing the home page by customizing the layout


The customization possible on the home page has been enhanced further in Microsoft Dynamics GP from the options that were available in Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010.

A default two-column layout will be loaded when the Home Page role is selected, but it can be customized by the user:

How to do it...

To change a user's Home Page role, complete the following steps:

  1. On the home page, click on the Customize this Page link in the upper-right corner.

  2. The content being displayed can be amended in the top Mark content to display section. To disable a piece of content, such as Connect, unmark the checkbox and click on OK, and this section will be removed from the home page.

  3. The expansion buttons, represented by a horizontal blue arrow, allow additional criteria to be defined.

  4. Business Analyzer has an additional option, Show All, which will show all of the selected Business Analyzer reports on the home page.

  5. Power BI also has an additional option, Show All, which will show all of the selected Power BI reports on the home page.

  6. The three available Column Layout fields can be selected by marking the required radio button.

  7. The final customization option available is the Column Stack option, which controls the display of home page sections when one is maximized by moving the remaining small windows to the top, bottom, right, or left.

  8. A section is maximized by clicking on the Maximize/Multicolumn Mode button (a square containing four arrows pointing outward from the center):

  9. Once the desired customization options have been selected, click on the OK button.

There's more...

In Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010, sections on the home page were reorganized within the Customize this page… window. In both Microsoft Dynamics GP Desktop Client and Web Client, reorganization is accomplished on the home page itself using the mouse to drag and drop the section in the same way as you would drag and drop a window.

The home page will automatically shuffle the other sections around as the selected one is being moved. When placed in the required position, release the mouse button and the section will drop into place:

See also

  • Managing personal reports with My Reports

  • The Speeding up Navigation lists by disabling Business Analyzer recipe in Chapter 11, Maintaining Dynamics GP

 

Speeding up access to data with Quick Links


Like the shortcut bar, Quick Links provides fast access to data both inside and outside Dynamics GP. Although there is some overlap with shortcuts, Quick Links provide some unique features. For starters, related Quick Links are provided based on the user's home page role. Additionally, Quick Links also provide fast access to navigation lists, something that shortcuts can't do. In this recipe, we'll select an included navigation list and then add it as a Quick Link.

Getting ready

Navigation lists provide another way to work with data in Dynamics GP, and they can't be added to Shortcut bar. For our Quick Links example, we will look at adding a navigation list as a Quick Link.

How to do it...

To add a navigation list as a Quick Link, perform the following steps:

  1. Click on the Home button on the navigation bar to the left. On the main home screen, find the section labeled Quick Links.

  2. Place the cursor in the Quick Links box and a pencil will appear in the upper-right corner. Click on the small pencil icon and go to Add | Dynamics GP Navigation List:

  3. Click on the plus (+) sign next to Sales to expand these lists.

  4. Click on the plus (+) sign next to Accounts and select Customers. Click on OK to finish.

  5. In the open Quick Links Details box, find and select the Customers link. Click on the Move Up button repeatedly until Customers is at the top of the list and then click on OK:

How it works...

This process put the Customers Quick Link at the top of the Quick Links area. Now, clicking on the Customers Quick Link will immediately open that navigation list. Without this Quick Link, a user would need to select Sales from the home page and find the Customer link every time they need to add a customer. Simply selecting a Quick Link is a much faster way to get deep into Dynamics GP.

See also

  • Personalizing the home page by selecting the right role

 

Rearranging navigation to make it easier


The Navigation pane on the left-hand side of Dynamics GP is full of useful functions. Sometimes, it is too full! For many users, it's beneficial to rearrange items on the Navigation pane to better suit their role. We'll look at how to do that in this recipe.

Getting ready

Most users quickly discover that left-clicking and dragging the separator above the Home button on the left-hand side allows them to shrink and expand the space available for Navigation pane buttons. This expands the room for lists and shortcuts above the separator bar, by transforming the large buttons into smaller, less intuitive icons. However, there is so much more that can be done to personalize Navigation pane.

How to do it...

Cleaning up the Navigation pane can provide faster and simpler navigation options. Let's see how by completing the following steps:

  1. In the Navigation pane, select the bottom-right corner of the pane and click on Navigation Pane Options.

  2. From here, select Purchasing and move it to the top using the Move Up and Move Down buttons on the right-hand side.

  3. Then, select the Sales module and uncheck the Sales selection. Click on OK:

Now, the Purchasing choice has been moved to the top, where a user can have easy access to it, and the Sales option not (required for this user) has been removed.

How it works...

In our example, a heavy user of the Purchasing module now has the Navigation pane button immediately below the Home button and easily accessible. The Sales button, which wouldn't be used by a typical Purchasing employee, has been removed in order to clean up the interface.

 

Managing personal reports with My Reports


My Reports is a section of the Dynamics GP home page designed to provide fast access to reporting options in Dynamics GP. Similar to the Quick Links functionality, My Reports provides single-click access to reports, replacing multiple clicks and drill-downs with a direct connection.

In Dynamics GP, every prebuilt report (also known as a Report Writer report) requires an option. An option is simply a named group of settings for a particular report. For example, a user may have a Receivables Aged Trial Balance report with date and selection criteria designed for month-end reporting. The report name is always Receivables Aged Trial Balance, but the option name to describe these particular month-end settings might be Month End.

The My Reports feature provides one-click access to reports with saved options. In this recipe, we'll look at how to add a report to My Reports.

How to do it...

To add a report to My Reports, we will need to complete the following steps:

  1. Select the Sales button from the Navigation pane on the left-hand side. In the list on the left-hand side, select Report List.

  2. In the center section, scroll down to the report named Aged Trial Balance with the Option demo and check the box to the left.

  3. Demo is a prebuilt, saved report option. Report options are saved report settings for items such as dates and restrictions.

  4. Click on the Add to button to add this to the My Reports section of the home page. Accept the default name for the report by clicking on OK:

  5. Click on the Home button in Navigation pane to return to the home page. The Aged Trial Balance–demo report now appears on the home page under My Reports:

  6. Clicking on the Aged Trial Balance–demo link under My Reports now runs the report automatically.

There's more...

Other features and options are available in order to assist with managing reporting in Dynamics GP.

Reports without options

Reports without options cannot be added to the My Reports section of the home page. Consequently, users need to create and save report options to make them available to the home page.

Better dates in report options

A technique to set up report dates for automatic reporting is covered in detail in the the Controlling reporting dates with beginning and ending periods recipe in Chapter 3, Automating Dynamics GP.

See also

  • Personalizing the home page by selecting the right role

  • Speeding access to data with Quick Links

  • Viewing open items with Task List

  • The Controlling reporting dates with beginning and ending periods recipe in Chapter 3, Automating Dynamics GP

 

Viewing open items with Task List


Dynamics GP provides a Task List feature to manage items to be accomplished within the system. While not quite as powerful as, say, Outlook's tasks, Task List in Dynamics GP can provide direct links to the appropriate window, web page, or external file required to accomplish the task. Even Outlook can't provide a direct link to the right window in Dynamics GP. In addition, tasks can be assigned to other users in the system in order to better delegate the workload. Let's take a look at how to use Task List in Dynamics GP in this recipe.

Getting ready

Open tasks are displayed on the home page in Dynamics GP under the To Do heading.

To get started, select New Task from the home page to view the complete task list. Yes, it's not particularly intuitive, but that is how it works:

How to do it...

As an example, we'll look at how to add a month-end bank reconciliation task by completing the following steps:

  1. To create a new task, select New Task from the home page in the To Do section to open the complete task list.

  2. Select New Task in the Task List window. In the Task section, enter Reconcile Bank Statement. Set the due date to 5th of the next month, and set the status to Pending:

  3. In the Task Assigned To: box, select a user to assign this task to. In the Link To: box, select Microsoft Dynamics GP window.

  4. To attach the Reconcile Bank Statement window, click on the blue arrow next to Name:.

  5. In the new Add Command box that opens, select Transactions on the left-hand side and then click on the plus (+) sign next to Financial on the right-hand side.

  6. In the right-hand side pane, select Reconcile Bank Statement and click on OK:

  7. Click on Save to save the task. If the task was assigned to another user, it will now appear in their task list.

How it works...

The new task now appears in the Tasks area on the home page. Checking the box next to a task marks it as complete and sets the user who completed the task as well as the date on which it was completed:

There's more...

Tasks can be repeated, which means that they work great for regular processes, such as month-end or quarter-end tasks.

Recurring tasks

To set a task as recurring, perform the following steps:

  1. Select the Recurrence button during the task creation or double-click on an existing task and select Recurrence.

  2. From the previous example, select the Reconcile Bank Statement task and double-click on that line.

  3. Click on the Recurrence button. Set Recurrence Pattern to Monthly on the First Thursday of every 1 month.

    This means the task will recur on the first Thursday of each month.

  4. Leave Range of Recurrence set to No End Date and click on OK.

  5. Now, this task will repeat each month on the first Thursday of the month. If a company's bank changes the statement cut-off date to some other time during the month, these settings can be changed easily:

See also

  • The Using Reminders to remember important events recipe in Chapter 3, Automating Dynamics GP

 

Accessing accounts faster with Favorites in lookups


In larger organizations, it is common for users to only work with a subset of the chart of accounts. Often, these accounts are limited to a certain division or department. To find a set of accounts quickly, Dynamics GP provides a mechanism to look up a more limited set of accounts and save them as Favorites. This provides faster access when selecting accounts in transactions. In this recipe, we'll look at using Favorites in Lookups. Favorites are actually part of SmartLists, which are covered in detail in Chapter 4, Leveraging New and Updated Features in Dynamics GP.

This recipe showcases the power of integrating SmartLists into the application interface. It provides an unlimited number of ways to target account selection, including selections based on the department, company, account type, financial statement type, and more—all with just a few clicks.

Getting ready

To begin this recipe, we are required to set up a simple Account SmartList in order to set up the account limits:

  1. Select the Microsoft Dynamics GP menu and click on SmartList in order to open SmartLists.

  2. Click on the plus sign (+) next to Financial and select Accounts:

  3. Now, select the Search button. Click on the lookup icon (it looks like a magnifying glass) and select Account Number. Click on OK.

  4. Set the Filter set to begins with and enter 000. Click on OK to confirm:

  5. Select the Favorites button. In the Name box, enter Segment 000, click on Add, and add favorite:

This process creates a specialized list based on a segment in the chart of accounts and then saves it in order to make it available for account selection.

How to do it...

The favorites list only needs to be built once. After that, the real fun starts:

  1. First, select Financial from the Navigation pane on the left-hand side and select General from the Financial Area page.

  2. Click on the Account field in the middle and select the lookup button. Click on the arrow next to view and hover over Favorites.

  3. Select Segment 000, in the Account Favorites created earlier:

This presents a specialized list to users, giving them a more targeted list of accounts to select from when creating a transaction.

There's more...

There are more options than just this recipe in order to limit the selections from the chart of accounts.

Set as default view

Improved in Dynamics GP is the ability for a user to save a Favorite as the default view. Once a Favorite has been selected in the view, simply click on Set as Default View from the View menu. Default views are per-user and only available for the master record lookup and not transactions.

Restricted list

If users only need to restrict the available accounts occasionally, there is a temporary option. After selecting the lookup button and clicking on the arrow next to View, users can select Restricted List instead of Favorites. The Restricted List option provides a functionality similar to Favorites, but the search is not saved and Restricted Lists cannot be set as the default view.

Resetting

Selecting All Accounts resets the list, removing all restrictions.

Account security

Account security is a feature in Dynamics GP that limits a user's access to certain accounts in the chart. A user cannot even see an account that they don't have access to. This is another option to limit the selection of accounts available to a user, but it requires an administrator and a lot of thought to set up correctly. Setting up account security is less like a recipe and more like a seven-course meal, so it's not covered here.

Activating account security without proper setup makes it appear as if the chart of accounts has been deleted. Deactivating account security returns users' access to the chart but not before triggering a gut-wrenching fear that it's time to find a new job.

See also

  • Chapter 8, Harnessing the Power of SmartLists

 

Cleaning up the mess by fixing AutoComplete errors


Dynamics GP includes a fantastic feature known as AutoComplete, which remembers what a user has typed in a field and later makes data entry suggestions based on that information. This can significantly reduce repetitive data entry. However, if a user makes an error during data entry, such as a misspelled or incorrect word, that error will continue to be suggested over and over again.

There is a simple way to remove erroneous entries, and we'll look at how to do this in this recipe.

Getting ready

To demonstrate this feature, we first need to intentionally create an AutoComplete error.

  1. Select Sales from Navigation pane on the left-hand side.

  2. On the Area page for Sales, select Customer under Cards on the right-hand side to open up the Customer Maintenance window.

  3. Select Sales from the Navigation pane on the left-hand side.

  4. On the Area page for Sales, select Customer under Cards on the right-hand side in order to open up the Customer Maintenance window:

  5. With the Customer Maintenance window open, type MISPELL in the Customer ID field and click on Tab. Press the Clear button to remove this customer entry.

How to do it...

Now that we have an error, let's look at how to fix it:

  1. Back in the Customer ID field, type MIS. Dynamics GP will suggest MISPELL. Right-click on the suggested word, MISPELL, and select Remove From List:

  2. Now, typing MIS in the Customer ID field doesn't provide the MISPELL suggestion.

How it works...

AutoComplete is controlled in User Preferences, which is accessed via shortcut bar. The AutoComplete settings are defined for each user. This means that each user has a different set of AutoComplete entries, so removing an errant entry doesn't affect other users.

There's more...

To better manage AutoComplete, there are some other settings that can be adjusted on a per-user basis.

Removed unused entries

The AutoComplete cache of entries can grow quite large and unwieldy, leading to a significant number of entries to sort through and reducing the effectiveness of this feature. A consistent way to manage the size of the AutoComplete list is by letting AutoComplete remove unused entries automatically. To set this up, perform the following steps:

  1. Select User Preferences from shortcut bar and click on AutoComplete.

  2. In the Remove Unused Entries After field, enter 90 and click on OK.

  3. This means that any AutoComplete entries will be removed after 90 days without any use.

Reducing the number of AutoComplete entries

Another option to manage the size of the AutoComplete cache is to limit the maximum number of AutoComplete entries. To accomplish this, perform the following steps:

  1. Select User Preferences from shortcut bar and click on AutoComplete.

  2. For the Max. Number of Entries to Store per Field entry, the default is 10,000, which is a huge limit.

  3. This can safely be lowered to 1,000 by changing the number in the Max. Number of Entries to Store per Field box and entering 1,000.

Resetting AutoComplete

If significant changes are made to a system, users can get a fresh start by completely resetting their AutoComplete entries. This is accomplished via the Remove Entries button available by clicking on User Preference and then clicking on the AutoComplete button.

About the Authors
  • Mark Polino

    Mark Polino is CPA, with additional certifications in financial forensics (CFF) and information technology (CITP). He is a Microsoft MVP for Business Solutions and a GPUG All Star who has worked with Dynamics GP and its predecessors since 1999. He works as the Director of Client Services for Fastpath, and he runs the DynamicAccounting.net website dedicated to all things Dynamics GP. He is a regularly featured speaker at Dynamics GP related events. This is Mark's tenth book, and his seventh GP related book with Packt Publishing. His work includes eight technology-focused books and two novels. He is also the author of the best-selling Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 Cookbook, the spin off Lite edition, and a co-author for updated GP 2013 and 2016 editions, all from Packt Publishing.

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  • Ian Grieve

    Ian Grieve is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for Microsoft Dynamics GP. He is also a certified Dynamics CRM consultant, specializing in the delivery of Microsoft Dynamics GP. He is the ERP Practice Manager at Perfect Image Ltd., a Microsoft partner, and VAR in the North-East of England, where he is responsible for the delivery, by his team, of all Dynamics GP projects. Ian has worked with Microsoft Dynamics GP since 2003, and over the years, he has dealt with all aspects of the product's life cycle, ranging from presales, implementation, technical, and functional training post go-live support to subsequent upgrades and process reviews. Ian is the author of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Financial Management by Packt Publisihing and Microsoft Dynamics GP Workflow 2.0 and Implementing the Microsoft Dynamics GP Web Client by azurecurve Publishing. He is also the co-author of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Cookbook by Packt Publisihing. Additionally, he has produced the Microsoft Dynamics GP Techniques online learning course and was the technical reviewer for several books on Microsoft Dynamics CRM published by Packt Publishing, including Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Cookbook. In his spare time, Ian runs the azurecurve blog, Ramblings of a Dynamics GP Consultant (http://www.azurecurve.co.uk), which is dedicated to Microsoft Dynamics GP and related products. The most recent offshoot of running his blog is that Ian has started writing plugins to extend the functionality of the blogging platform, WordPress. A new site, azurecurve Development (http://development.azurecurve.co.uk), contains information about his plugins.

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Latest Reviews (2 reviews total)
This application is helping me in the improvement of my accounting services with new tools.
Neatly arranged topics. Came across many eye-openers, even for a (seasoned) consultant like me.