2015 Update 1: Export to Excel Redesigned

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Update 1 (code-named Carina), available for CRM Online only, brings a lot of great new functionalities, in this post the full redesign of the export functionality is presented.

This redesign is mostly due to issues the previous implementation had. Overall some of these issues have been in Microsoft Connect feedback site (more on this site on a later post, ;)) for around 3 years now and in the top #10 of the requested features/fixes of all time.

What was wrong and how was it fixed?

So many things were fixed, but I believe the best is to explain in a table, as per below:



Fix/Redesign Applied

1 If exported as a static worksheet, the excel file could not be used for re-import to bulk update records. This was because the export did not contain the records GUIDs, and also the format extracted was .xls which was not a supported format for import. Now the export always brings the GUIDs, and the user can bulk edit and re-import if required.
2 The export for re-import file format was XML (spreadsheet 2003). This was not only pretty locked down (e.g.: no access to sheets area) as it was also buggy (e.g. ever tried to select a column to resize it? Excel crashed always). Now the format is .xlsx, and pretty much a regular excel file, the data comes pre-formatted as an excel table.
3 Formatting…Formatting…Formatting, so many issues here, e.g.:

  • Numeric Data exported as text.
  • Leading zeros disappeared.
Field format is now respected:

  • Text stays as Text.
  • Number as Number.
  • Currency in one Column.

Full details on how the mapping fully works can be found in section “Field Types Mapping”.

4 The alerts below would always be presented:


Not anymore.
5 Composite Fields previously had some limitations, e.g.: contact’s “Full Name” would always export as 3 different columns “First Name”… Now: “Full Name” exports the name in one single column, users can optionally select individual fields (e.g. “Last Name”) to get one of the 3 fields that compose the “Full Name”.

More examples can be found in the table below:

6 Previously the user had 2 download/export types:

  • Export static data, clicking on this would pop-up a dialogue (export would be in .xls format):

  • Export for re-import, only this one would have the record’s GUIDs that allowed re-import (export would be in xml format):

One-click Download: Clicking on the export to excel exports the excel immediately now (no export wizard is presented), with the following configuration:

  • Downloads all pages of the selected view.
  • Data is converted as an excel table.
  • File in .xlsx format.
  • Always Importable: GUIDs are also exported, i.e.: .xlsx is now supported for re-import (hurray).
  • Sheets selection presented (sheet name equal to view name when exported).
  • Column width scaled as configured in the view definition by default.


7 Download Limits

  • 10.000 records (a user would have to tweak this to have more, this was not recommended/supported):

Source: DynamicsCRMPros

  • Up to 100.000 records now.
  • Up to 32MB in size.

8 Upload Limits

  • Previous limit was 8MB

Source: CRM Help & Training

9 Everything goes:

  • All fields in all rows would of the updated in bulk, even if the user have not changed them in the excel file.
  • If changes to other fields were done in the interim from other locations (e.g.: Web interface; Outlook client) they would be reverted back to what the excel had.
Updates are now on a field by field basis. As with Outlook sync, now the bulk update feature only changes the fields that where actually changed in the excel:

  • leaving as they are.
  • This is also good for auditing, as now its clearer what changes where actually intended to be done.


Field Types Mapping

The table below presents in more detail the mapping that occurs between a CRM field type and an Excel field type:

One-Click Download

The image below summarises the actions that occur in the new “One-Click Download” feature:

Microsoft has a nice video on this here What-If Analysis using Excel with CRM Online 2015 Update 1.

Stay tuned, more posts to come on 2015’s Update 1 and its new functionalities.

9 thoughts on “2015 Update 1: Export to Excel Redesigned

  1. Dear Joaquim,
    Have you noticed any misbehaviour when creating an Dynamic table export, and when refreshing it ruins all formatting and in my case alse Nordic characters exported in the dynamic list?


  2. Ron says:


    I assume you’ve also noticed MS currently leaves out column A,B and C. Is there a way to have the export starting at column A again?

    Kind regards,


  3. Joaquim,

    I really love your post above – I wrote earlier on that formatting is ruined and Nordic characters are exported as ??. This has been fixed in CRM Online update 7.1.1 – but a few errors still exists in my opinion – I hope they are fixed in the future (cant post them on connect since it is errors and not product ideas):
    1) If I dynamic export a picklist that “looks like” a date, this excel column is on first dynamic update converted to a date (and not a text field as expected (i.e. 15-2 is converted 15-02-2016 / company size “2-5” is converted to 02-05-2016)

    2) Exported related columns have e new extra bracket in the column header – i.e. export a list of contacts and include the related account postal code – this will generate a column header with 2 times Account: Address 1: Postal Code (Account) (Account). These extra columns ruins old existing dynamic pivot table reports

    BR, Henrik


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