Configure your workspace of choice as startup page – functional

Just recently, I shared a teaser on LinkedIn about a project I was working on. As a user of Microsoft Dynamics 365 F&O, you are limited to 6 different startup pages to be set up, where there is often a question for adding your own or other workspaces. A few weeks ago, I came across a question on the Dynamics Community where it was asked to add new options as initial page. I did look at the details, and provided a workaround. I didn’t stop thinking for another solution. With this post, I will share an utility for Microsoft Dynamics 365 F&O where it would be possible to add new workspaces in the list of options for users to be more flexible. Read the details and download the feature for free.

Problem statement, workaround and thoughts

A lot of people are not aware of an option to change the initial startup page of Microsoft Dynamics 365 F&O. It is possible to choose between 6 startup pages out of the box. You can manage this on the user options.

There are quite some questions if this list can be maintained by setup or via coding. After replying to the answer as mentioned in the introduction, I looked at the feasibility and decided to share an example to add options to the standard list provided by Microsoft. Before going to the details of the added feature which you can download below, first some notes about workarounds and some additional thougths.

Are there other options to let users start the application with a certain menu item? The answer is: “Yes!”. There are some workarounds by adding a URL to favorites in your web browser. You can also install a page as an app, which is described in my older blog: Two new features Chromium based Microsoft Edge and Microsoft Dynamics 365

These workarounds for sure will be helpful but do have some cons:

  • When you are using a lot of favorites, it might be a bit cumbersome to find the favorite for Dynamics 365.
  • Favorites can be deleted.
  • To get back to the start page, you have to use the favorites option again.
  • When you clock on “Finance and Operations” at the top-left, the application will load the standard startup page.
  • Not all users are aware how to maintain favorites or how to change a start page in the future.

I’m happy with all the interactions I got on my teaser. Using favorites was also mentioned here as a reply. In addition, some persons asked if this wouldn’t be something to be released as part of the standard product. I fully agree with that feedback. I only wonder why Microsoft restricted the options to what is available today. ISV providers do build additional workspaces which might be a candidate to be used as a startup page by individual users. The same is valid for workspaces as part of a customization. I would love to see a feature as part of the standard. I also loved to do some research and to create something to share for the community. For that reason, I now shared an utility on a personal title, but will also contact Microsoft to check how we can get the feature shared below or similar in a future release. For sure I keep in mind that Microsoft might have another view or would like to have the solution implemented in a different way.

Startup Pages feature

When I performed my study, I found out initially that the list with standard options is maintained in the kernel of the application. The feature I created, required extensions on other places than I initially would have expected. The technical details will be shared in a different blog. This post will only elaborate on the functional aspects of the Startup Pages feature. This feature will allow you to set up other workspaces as an option for the list of initial pages. Technically, it would be possible to use any form listed on the main menu as startup page.

I made my decision to limit my focus on workspaces only for several reasons.

  • Workspaces are designed to give an overview on work to be done as a dashboard
  • Limit scope of the (first) solution

Some users might eg only work with the All sales orders form. In that case, you would be able to customize the solution shared as part of this post.

Let’s now focus on the solution I’m sharing today. To add other workspaces to the standard list, you can open the workspace which you would like to add. On the action menu bar, you will notice a new menu group on the options tab.

If you want to add the workspace to the startup pages, click Add to startup pages. A drop-down dialog will appear.

When required, you can change the caption. In that case, the field Use workspace caption will be disabled. When you want to have the standard Dynamics 365 label for the workspace, you can enable the option Use workspace caption. When this is enabled, the label ID will be stored and the caption will then support other languages ​​for the same label. If you specify an own caption, this caption will be used for all user languages.

Click Add to have the workspace set up as option for the initial start pages.

The menu option Add to startup pages is not enabled if the workspace is already available as system option or if it has been setup. When you add the workspace to the startup pages and directly tries to add it again, the dialog will open with a warning and the Add button is not enabled.

The option to add the workspace as startup page is not working for all workspaces. Some workspaces do have a new design where there is no action menu bar available, like Business document management and Expense management.

Once you added workspaces, you can set up the page of preference in the user options.

When you have selected the new workspace, it will be directly active.

To review which pages were added to the standard list, from the workspace option, choose the menu item Manage startup pages. The next form will open.

The form will show both the system defined and organization added workspaces. When required, you can Delete workspaces which were added by the organization. You can’t delete the workspaces which are controlled by Microsoft as system startup page. When you delete a startup page while it is still set up as initial page for one or more users, while opening, these users will get the Default dashboard opened as the deleted page is not a valid startup page anymore.

When you choose another workspace, there is no menu path available to open the Default dashboard with available workspaces for the current user. For that reason, a menu option for this workspace is added to the list with option in the menu group Startup pages.

Are all users able to add workspaces as startup page? This depends on the security permissions. As part of the system user role, each user can maintain his own User options by default. To be able to manage the additional startup pages, they would need additional permissions. This solution currently enables the system administrator to add and delete the startup pages. There is a duty and privilege available called Maintain startup pages Which can be added to security roles as part of your implementation if other users should also have the permissions too.

This solution has been translated into all languages ​​supported by Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations with help of the Dynamics 365 Translation Service.

Download

Finally, we landed at the section with the download option. Feel free to use it at any project where you need it. If you have feedback or questions, please use the Contact form or leave a comment below. Despite I’m working for a global ISV (To-Increase), this solution is not related to my company. I’m sharing on personal title.

The download contains a deployable package which can be used for Microsoft Dynamics 365 F&O 10.0.24 and above. It also contains the source code in form of a model file and a project export. For installation, you can consult the standard documentation from Microsoft.

There is more…

The first release is just intended as a start. If you have feedback or additional ideas, please share them. There are some limitations mentioned above. Do you think this solution would require some more features? Which forms do you think that would make sense to have as a startup page? Did I miss a translation? I already thought of adding a data entity or having the option to add pages from the Manage startup pages form. Does this make sense? Please share all your ideas and thoughts. You can use the comments section below.

To get this or a similar feature in the standard, I created an idea on the Dynamics Experience website: Microsoft Idea – Have available startup pages in user options configurable or extensible (dynamics.com). Please vote for this idea. While voting, ensure you are logged in.

I’m working on another related post where I will share all the technical details how the list with options is extended. This post will be live soon as well.

I do hope you liked this post and will add value for you in your daily work as a professional. If you have related questions or feedback, don’t hesitate to use the Comment feature below.

That’s all for now. Till next time!

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