CRM 2013 Beta: New Looks

It is very exciting to be able to test the CRM 2013 beta version before product release in October 2013. In this post I would like to share with you some of the new Dynamics features introduced by Microsoft. To start with, let’s take a look at the brand new UI look.Note: CRM 2013 is not due to be released until October 2013. The information provided in this blog might differ from the final product. 

New Looks

I like the new and uncluttered UI look of CRM 2013. Once I got pass my moment of panic at the loss of the familiar “left navigation” menu and top ribbon bar of CRM 2011, I find that navigating around CRM 2013 provides me with a better usage experience with much fewer pop-up windows. Certainly when I have CRM 2011 and CRM 2013 side by side on my monitors, the forms and homepage of CRM 2011 look rather overwhelmingly colourful and full of buttons.

One of the most obvious change to the overall experience is the removal of the left navigation pane and the top ribbon in CRM 2011. This navigation bar is now on top of the screen and will be hidden once a user selects a tile. This obviously saves on screen space.

CRM 2011 "My Active Account" subgrid view

CRM 2013 "My Active Account" subgrid view

However, the old forms from CRM 2011 have not completely gone from CRM 2013 beta. If you dig a little deeper, there are some entities which have not been “refreshed” (as Microsoft calls it). That is, they are still displayed in the legacy form with ribbons buttons on top. E.g. Service records. Let’s hope this will be fixed in the final CRM 2013 release in October 2013.


Subgrid Navigation

Without the left hand navigation, how does one now get to the related entity subgrid on the form? E.g. in CRM 2011, you can get to the related opportunity subgrid on an account form by choosing the left navigation menu “Opportunities” link.


You now navigate on drop down arrow next to the name of the account record from the top in CRM 2013!


It’ll keep the account header on the top for you and shows the opportunity subgrid in-page below the account title.


Browser Button Actions

A nice and intuitive improvement in CRM 2013 is the ability to now use the “Back” and “Forward” browser buttons to navigate around the system. Starting from the Sales Dashboard page,


I navigate to the Sales Account list to see my active account records. I can then use the “back” browser button to take me back to the previous Sales Dashboard page.


The Slimmed-Down and In-Page Experience

From the Active Account list I can click on an individual account record (e.g. “Sumerset Ltd”) and the account is displayed in-page with no windows pop-up.



Very much in line with the nicely slimmed down UI experience, in CRM 2013 when a user lands on a record, there are still action buttons e.g. Deactivate, Assign on the top, but now you only see 5 buttons. All the rest of the buttons are now hidden in the “more menu…” drop down.


No Pop-up windows anymore? How to compare two records side by side?

With no pop-up windows when you open a record, how does a user compare two accounts? No problem! There are little “pop-up” icons you can click to pop up certain records!


Interesting and very useful to note is that if you pop up this single record in a new window, CRM automatically refreshes the original browser (in the background) to take you back to an overall view of the records. This allows you to then select another account record and compare with the account shown in the pop-up window.


That’s it for the first post in this series for CRM 2013 beta release. I like many of the above new features in Microsoft included in CRM 2013 so far. What about you?


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