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Sunday, April 11, 2010

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…”.

UpdateIcones 
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)

UpdateIcones2

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.

DTIconMaker

  • 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.

DTPublish

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.

DTSavedIcons

The final result:

CustomEntities2

Some resources

Free icons:

http://www.famfamfam.com/

http://www.freeiconsweb.com/

http://www.iconfinder.com/free_icons

http://www.iconspedia.com/

Other icons:

www.iconexperience.com

http://www.777icons.com

http://www.iconarchive.com/

9 comments:

Michael Dodd said...

Thanks for the listing of free icons!

The icon maker tool is pretty fantastic, but I always struggle finding the appropriate (free) icon for a client's custom entity. I submitted a suggestion on the Dynamics "Connect" site to include a number of free icons in the next version of CRM. If anyone else struggles with same issue, I encourage you to vote for that idea.

Anonymous said...

Does this application only work with On-Premise installations?

Tanguy said...

Yes it does

If you need to use it against IFD deployment, you need to use it on the server directly

Anonymous said...

Any word on the 2011 version of this tool

Tanguy said...

This is a Microsoft tool that won't be updated.

Indeed, the icon can be updated directly through interface using web resources

Anonymous said...

I've taken to using SnagIt to change the size and file type of my custom (AKA "borrowed") icons.
With 2011, they just won't look right unless the Icon images are .png with transparency. Luckily, SnagIt does a pretty good job at changing these icons for you (re-size, save to .png, set transparency)

Guvenem said...

We use icons from
www.sibcode.com in our iPhone apps.

I also found some good icons here:
www.aha-soft.com

Happy developing.

Matt said...

I did this today and ever since all my other icons have gone missing from the CRM. The only icons that are now visible are the new ones I created and added via this tool. (see the custom image Product in the image below)

Any ideas?

See image here http://i244.photobucket.com/albums/gg14/chimpsinties/Temp/Clipboard01.jpg

Tanguy said...

Hi Matt,

I never faced this problem...

Are you sure nothing was changed other than applying new icon to a custom entity?

The tool clearly can't apply such a mess in system icons...