A new feature in Dynamics CRM 2015 Update 1 was ‘Immersive Excel’. This allows you to export data in a view from CRM to Excel Online, edit the data there, and then save those changes back to CRM. You never leave CRM, the Excel Online window opening up right there within CRM. It’s a really quick way of editing multiple records for the same entity very quickly.
It’s only available in Dynamics CRM Online.
To do it, just select ‘Export to Excel’ from the command bar of a view and select ‘Open in Excel Online’:
This presents the data in a spreadsheet:
You then make your changes and select ‘Save changed to CRM’. Your changes will be visible in CRM a minutes or so later, depending on the number of rows in the spreadsheet.
Since it’s been around for a while now, I decided to take a closer look at Immersive Excel and test its limits. A few things I found surprised me, so I decided to share them. Some of these things you may know already, and others may be new to you.
Yes, you can. Just add them to the bottom of the list (or the top or middle for that matter), and when you save the changes to CRM they import, assuming of course they don't error.
No, you can't. If you delete a row from the spreadsheet, it doesn't delete from CRM.
Yes, you can export a system or personal view. However, you can't export to Excel Online from an advanced find, you have to save the view first.
Yes. In fact, there seems to be no way to turn it off, as there is with normal imports.
No, you can’t. If you select one or multiple records in a view and then use immersive Excel, CRM exports all the records in the view to Excel, not just the records you selected. This seems a little counterintuitive.
Yes, you can. Again, this surprised me.
It lets you do it, and saves the record back to CRM. Again, a surprising outcome. I expected it to error on import at least.
No you can’t. It lets you change it in Excel Online, and the import doesn’t error, but it then doesn’t change in CRM. I tried it by adding the parent account's main phone to a contact view, and changing that main phone in Excel Online. It didn’t change in CRM.
You can't re-import activities if it is a view of different types of activities that you exported, e.g. the 'My Activities' view. The option to re-import is not there when you export to Excel Online. However if you go to a view of a specific type of activity, such as tasks, you can re-import those.
There is the odd entity you can't use it for, such as Competitors and Quick Campaigns (although funnily enough you can use it for Campaigns). However it seems that almost all entities can use it.
Yes you can. Again, surprising to me, and could potentially be abused.
So, there you have it. A few things to consider when using Immersive Excel.