If you have a lot of data that doesn’t quite fit into one of Dynamics CRM 2011’s existing entities, you may decide to create your own custom entity and fields to house that data of yours. If you take this route, don’t waste your time building the entity and creating all of your fields ahead of time! Instead, you can use CRM 2011’s Import Data Wizard, which allows you to create entities and fields on the fly as you import the data for this new entity.
After selecting the file you want to import in the Import Data Wizard, you will reach the Map Record Types step of the Wizard – here, you can select to “Create New” Dynamics CRM Record Type, which will prompt you for more information to create the new entity within the Wizard. Next, you’ll reach the Map Fields step – here, you can dynamically create new fields for each column in your import file (or ignore fields that you don’t want to bring into CRM). While doing so, it even defaults the Field Name to match the column header from your import file, so all you really have to do is select the type of field that it is. And if that wasn’t enough – if you select “Option Set” as the field type, the Wizard will automatically create values for your option set based on the unique values in that column of your data file! The only thing left to do at this point is to set any additional options on your new entity as necessary and configure the entity form that will be used to manage the data – both of which can be done through the usual customizations window.
So if you find yourself needing to create a new entity along with having to import your data into this new entity, save yourself some time by combining both steps into one using this helpful trick in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Import Data Wizard.
Rahim Jiwani is an Implementation Lead at WebSan Solutions Inc, a Microsoft Dynamics GP Silver Partner & 2012 Microsoft Impact Awards Finalist. Rahim can be reached at