One common request when creating a Dynamics CRM solution for a client is to change the names of entities to keep them in sync with the industry vertical or the company, in question. While it may be common practice, there is no best practice. Taking this into consideration, a pet peeve of mine is when I see a name-changing process not carried through to the end.

All too often, I am asked to review previous versions of solutions and I am met with an entity that has been renamed, but not carried through properly. Although viewed as a simple process, it is actually the opposite. Simply changing the display name on an entity is not the end action. Your solutions will not be “matured” unless you change all the required areas as well. There are many areas that you need to consider:

1. Entity messages. This is a common area that is overlooked when renaming an entity. For example, if you rename “Opportunity”, you must go through all the solution’s messages and rename the word “Opportunity” each time. Otherwise, when a condition is meant to display a user message, it will have the incorrect entity name, and cause confusion to the users.

2. Entity views. All the view names must be changed, otherwise, the view selection will not correspond to the entity name when selecting how the record lists are displayed.

3. Dashboards. It is important to check the entity’s dependencies to see which Dashboards involve it. You must change the display names on the dashboard to properly represent the new entity name.

4. Field names on related entity forms. Be mindful of the entity’s dependencies to see which other entities involve this entity. You must change the display names on the fields to properly represent the new entity name.

5. Ribbon mouse-over messages. As an example, if you rename the “Opportunity” entity, you must visit the lead entity ribbon and fix the mouse over a message to qualify the lead. The message states to qualify the lead to an opportunity.

6. Reports. Visit any reports referencing the entity, and revise them with the new terminology, including any instances of the display name on the actual report.

7. Option sets. One good example of this is if you are required to change the name on “Account” to say “Company.” The Marketing List has an option set named “Targeted At”, and under this “Account” is the first option. To finish and polish your solution, update this with the corrected terminology. Some of these changes can be completed with a tool such as the Ribbon Editor, and some can be completed by exporting the translations, making the changes in the XML, and then reimporting the entity.

One thing to note is that renaming an entity does not change the entity name in the following places:

  • References to entity names in Online Help.
  • Platform error messages and messages that are displayed in Trace or the event log. The entity names used in these messages cannot be edited or changed.
  • Changing any entity name is not as simple a process as it would seem. Keep this in mind while configuring your solutions and making estimates.