Dynamics CRM 2016 has a great new feature called “Document Templates”, which allows Users to use entity relationships to merge data and generate documents in Word and Excel. Although the relationship can only go one level deep, it is a vast improvement from older versions of CRM, which only allowed entities to be associated to an email or mail merge.
Document Templates allowed Antero to replace all custom SSRS reports for our client. These were custom reports created to generate Quotes and required a developer to make any changes requested by our client. In replacing these reports with Document Templates using Microsoft Word, we are now able to make changes quickly and without the need of costly developer fees.
In creating these templates, I found that they can be time-consuming if you are not prepared. I suggest you be familiar with the entities, relationships and schemas before adding fields to your template. There were many times when I added a field to a form, only to find it was either the wrong relationship or the wrong schema. Only after you upload your template back to CRM and run it, do you realize you chose the wrong field. This requires that you delete the template from CRM, make your changes in the template, then upload it again to CRM.
If you only have a few templates, this isn’t a problem. But when you need to create 10+ templates, you can imagine the time it would take to continuously upload and run these templates in CRM to assure the fields are populating with the correct data.
I would suggest creating a matrix of the entities, relationships and schemas you will be using prior to creating the template. This way, you know in advance what you need in order to easily and quickly create templates.
For more information on Document Templates, please visit https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics/crm-customer-center/using-word-templates-in-dynamics-365.aspx
Note: Document Templates are only available in Dynamics CRM 2016. If you are not on this version, please contact us to discuss how we can assist you in upgrading your CRM and in using this new feature.