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HSD’s Senior Technical Consultant – Kamran Dilmir talks about reference panels which are used to improve user experience in Dynamics 365 CE forms. This is a very efficient way to design forms in CRM.

With the progress of Unified Interface in Dynamics 365, we have seen that the D365 product team is working to ensure consistent experiences using Dynamics 365 across different browsers, devices and screens. This leads to improvement and provision of the best user experience. Therefore, the continuous evolution of using a responsive interface to make dynamics 365 Forms portable to reflow records, whether being viewed on a large screen or compact these on a mobile device. This post is only about one of these user experience improvements – the Reference Panel that was introduced with the Dynamics 365 V9. 

Prior to Dynamics 365 V9, developers experienced clients usually coming up with some requirements where they wanted to see the maximum amount of information on one form without the user navigating away from the form. This was the case for information about related entities. In order to achieve this functionality, developers usually design forms by adding maximum information in one form, adding sub-grids to show data from related entities. It makes the form bigger which ends up adding a scroll bar in the form. Although they can add related entities in different tabs and these tabs can be expended and collapsed as per the user’s need, it can be annoying to scroll up and down through the form in order to check the sub grids and their data.

Here we can use reference panel, which is introduced in D365 V9, to improve the user experience where it allows the user to view different sub grids and quick view forms in one place without scrolling through the form.

One reference panel can be added to the form and all the components added to this container are embedded in it. Each one of them has its own tab within the panel. The end user needs to click on a tab to see the data. This makes the form prettier and performant.

Here we take an example of the account form, where many quick view forms and sub grids exist inside the account. They all added in a container called reference panel.

In the form editor, we can add reference panel as shown in below image.

The following screen shows how reference panel renders and looks on the form. Every sub-grid or quick view forms added to the reference panel can be open by clicking the related icon encircled in red. This keeps the related entities information (sub-grid or quick view forms) under one area and keeps the form compact.

The following image shows how the sub-grids looks when they rendered in the reference panel.

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