How to use Dynamics CRM (2011) plugin for Excel withough Microsoft Outlook. RRS feed

  • Question

  • Our compnay was recently acquired an dis moving away from Microsoft Excahnge/Outlook as an email platform.   I am a heavy user of Excel and rely on the export of data (dynamic pivottables) from Microsoft CRM.

    I recall that installation of this feature/add-on is through an Outlook Add-in.  How can I get teh same functionality without access to an Outlook client?

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015 6:55 PM

All replies

  • So you really need the plugin to act as a bridge between CRM and Outlook.  That said, there are alternatives.

    1. It's possible to work around this by saving a dynamics Excel and then enable dynamics content.  This isn't perfect, but should work for some of your use cases.

    2. Install PowerPivot and the other Power tools for Excel, then connect to CRM directly from the PowerPivot data tools.  This will act more like a BI tool, which means you will have more overhead, but also more control.  You won't be able to do updates to CRM, but you can report.

    3. Learn SQL Reporting.  Harder, but extremely powerful.

    I recommend number two for the best leverage of what you know, and what you'll need.

    Also, When CRM 2016 comes out, take this as a recommendation to update CRM, as it will give you in-browser Excel with all the power of having direct access.

    The postings on this site are solely my own and do not represent or constitute Hitachi Solutions' positions, views, strategies or opinions.

    • Proposed as answer by Wayne Walton Tuesday, October 13, 2015 8:14 PM
    Tuesday, October 13, 2015 8:14 PM
  • Thanks for the response Wayne.  I have never understood the "bridge between CRM and Outlook" you referenced.   I just don;t get why I need this plugin within Outlook to use Excel and CRM functionality.  But I assume I am not bright enough to get it after researching for so long!  :)

    CORRECTION TO ABOVE STATEMENT - I do understand that many people access CRM through the Outlook interface.   Our company doesn;t do that....we access CRM through a web browser.    In addition, we are not access the Azure version of CRM...we have it hosted on premise.

    That said...option 2 will take time to rebuild all of the datasources that CRM export does so nicely!  But it may be the best long term option.   Short term then, I want to explore the first option.    I don't get the "enable dynamics content" portion.  Sounds like that is something that needs to be done in Excel.  Can you shoot me a link to reference for more detail?

    Thanks in advance...John

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015 9:49 PM
  • The Outlook plugin for CRM is technically an Office plugin for CRM.  It directly integrates for Outlook, Word, and Excel. Outlook is simply the most obvious integration.  So that plugin is creating a data connection to CRM for Office on the back-end of what you do. You need that data connection for what you're doing in Excel.

    Your second-best option is the PowerPivot tools for Excel. Look here for more info: http://blogs.microsoft.co.il/rdt/2013/01/18/powerpivot-amp-microsoft-dynamics-crm-2011-part-2/

    The postings on this site are solely my own and do not represent or constitute Hitachi Solutions' positions, views, strategies or opinions.

    Wednesday, October 14, 2015 5:05 PM
  • Thanks for the clarifications.   And I appreciate the link reference. 

    I have been struggling since yesterday to get the connection (suggested in the article you referenced) to authenticate and I am working that internally with IT.  I have also tried PowerQuery which allows me to specify the authentication parameters easier than allowed can through PowerPivot.  Still no luck.

    Our CRM instance was once hosted by Microsoft (like most installations would be), but we have since moved to an on-premise version, so I don't know if the data connection string that I am retrieving per the article is even valid or not!  Looking for our IT dept. to help me with that!

    Thanks again for your feedback and assistance!


    Wednesday, October 14, 2015 7:19 PM