Sonntag, 27. März 2011

Updating custom entities icons

For all our projects, we are always customizing Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0. To achieve that, we create many custom entities and one of the worst aspect of that heavy customization is to have a lot of custom entities with the same icon. So, it is difficult to identify them just with their icon (like the screenshot below).CustomEntitiesStdIn order to customize further the application, it is a good thing to add different icon to each custom entity.
The standard approach
This approach consists of using the standard feature of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 to update custom entites icons. In the customization view, just click on the menu “More actions” and click on “Update icons…”.
You then need to provide a file for each required icons:
  • icon in web application (16x16 / gif / less that 10kb)
  • Shortcut icon in Outlook (32x32 / ico / less than 10kb)
  • Icon in entity form (66x48 / gif / less than 10kb)
As you can see, it has a lot of restriction and you need to create your own ico file, which is not always an easy thing. And let’s be realistic, everybody is not an artist and can create icons…
The best approach

The best approach, from my point of view, of course…
… is to use the Demonstration Tools provided by Microsoft (download here). This tool as many features but one of the best is “Icon Maker” feature.
  • The “Icon Maker” allows you to select a file for each of the three required icons or a file for the three of them.
  • It helps you to create the Entity Form icon with a background (which is the hardest icon to produce by your own).
  • You can use BMP, PNG and JPG image format, not only GIF
DTIconMaker2 Just select your image(s), adapt the Entity Form icon, and click on “Publish to CRM” button to select the entity to update.
If the icons are not beautiful enough for you, you can also save the three resulting icons to update them using your favorite drawning software.
The final result:
Some resources

Free icons:

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