Learning to use the new grid control features in Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations will make you and your team faster at many common tasks. Microsoft added these features in October 2020.
Here’s an overview of what you can do now with grid control:
- Enable Grid Control
- Count Rows with Grid Footer
- Calculate Totals
- Mathematical Expressions
- Group Data
- Enter Data Faster
- Paste From Excel
Note: Even though most customers, commentators, and consultants still call it Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations or D365FO, Microsoft now technically licenses it as Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management.
How to Enable Grid Control
Your system administrator can enable grid control in the Feature management workspace.
- Click on the workspace from your home screen, or in the left-hand sidebar under the Workspaces option.
- Search in “all” for “grid.”
- Select the feature named “new grid control” from those search results, and then click “enable” in the bottom right.
Once grid control is enabled, and you’ve made changes, you still need save it. Click the “Standard view” button in the top-left corner, and select “Save As” in the dropdown.
In the past, the F&O system automatically saved your grid control settings. It does not do so any longer.
You can also read Microsoft’s documentation here.
Count Rows with Grid Footer
Microsoft has introduced a grid footer that will display the number of rows for a list grid as well as column totals for numeric columns.
To have the footer visible, click on the ellipse at the top right of the grid and select Show footer.
Once Show Footer is enabled, a footer will appear at the bottom of the list grid, including a count of the rows in the grid.
This number will recalculate if the number of rows changes due to a filter.
You can calculate totals by right clicking in the grid and selecting Total this column. Then the totals will be shown in the grid footer.
We must select which columns we wish to total. In my example below, I have totaled the quantity and cost price columns in a movement journal with nearly 60 lines:
Like the row count, column totals will dynamically recalculate if you apply a filter.
Calculating totals this way is a major time-saver for a frequently requested task. Be honest – if you had a nickel for every time you received a request to calculate totals, what year would you have retired?
Now you can create math expressions within the Finance & Operations grid, much like in Excel. For instance, try entering this equation: (=50*.95).
Then press tab. New value 47.50
This functionality is similar to what we had in AX 2012. I’m very happy to see it return in Finance & Operations.
All mathematical equations must start with = so the system recognizes that it is a mathematical equation.
A list of supported math symbols can be found here.
This feature is particularly helpful for end users. Oftentimes we need to perform ad-hoc analysis of purchases or sales.
With large purchases or sales, and lots of lines, we want to make sure we get everything right! Before we had this feature, we would squint and study, or export to Excel and use pivot tables.
Now we can utilize Group by this column. Let’s use an easy example – let’s say you simply want to make sure you didn’t duplicate any lines.
Right click in the Product Number column and select Group by this column, and you can quickly see that we have indeed entered a duplicate line.
That’s a simple scenario, but I don’t think we need a complex scenario to understand the benefit this feature brings.
Enter Data Faster
Before this functionality was added, Finance & Operations users could only enter data on one line at a time. Before switching to a new row, users had to wait for the system to catch up and successfully validate any changes.
Well, Microsoft has introduced new system behavior to allow users to enter data more quickly by typing “ahead” of the system. We now have a new column for the row status added to the right of the row selection in edit mode. It will indicate one of the following statuses:
- Blank – saved successfully
- Process pending – not saved yet
- Invalid state – you entered something wrong – read warning or error message and go fix it. Validation is stopped until fixed.
- Paused – something stopped validation (see above). Once fixed, validation will continue.
Paste From Excel
You can now paste values from Excel into D365FO. Note that you can only paste values, not formulas.
In this example, I have a PO with multiple lines. Each line has a quantity of 1. I have an Excel sheet open with all my quantity details that I have copied:
I now start with my first line and paste into my Finance & Operations grid:
How cool is that?
As with any new feature, you should enable and test grid control in a non-production environment prior to enabling in a production environment. New features may conflict with other features or customizations.
For more time-saving Finance & Operations tips, try these articles:
If you want to talk to a partner for Finance & Operations training, implementation, and support, or if you have any questions about Dynamics 365, please contact us.
Do you have questions about all the different terms in D365FO? Check our glossary of the most commonly asked-about terms, with definitions and examples.