Five More Business Central Tips

Just over a year ago, we wrote a post issuing six business central tips. Today I am going to cover five more I’ve been meaning to write about: keyboard shortcuts, the ‘Edit in Excel’ function, the Teams integration with Business Central, field monitoring, and notifications. For many of these we have posted longer, more in-depth guides on their utility. So we hope this acts more as a spark for you to begin thinking about how these can help you, especially for those of you who missed the previous blogs. The links to these more detailed posts will be included.

Keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts are something most of us are guilty of not using enough. They speed up the vast majority of data inputting processes in Business Central. The biggest issue is not knowing what’s available and so never being aware of the option to use them! To keep this short, I am going to post 10 of the ones I see as most useful below.

10 valuable keyboard shortcuts in Business Central

  1. F9
    • Pressing this will let you post a document without having to manually click the ‘post’ action.
  2. Ctrl+alt+F1
    • This shortcut opens up the page inspection feature
  3. F8
    • Copy and paste value from line above. Where you have rows of data, if you want the field values in the line above
  4. Ctrl+A
    • Select all rows on a page. This saves you having to click ‘Select more’ and the ‘select all rows’ circle at the top
  5. Alt+D
    • If you’re on a record, you can press this function to open the dimensions subpage related to that specific record
  6. Alt+T
    • This opens up the ‘My Settings’ page
  7. Ctrl+F9
    • If you’re on an order, you can use this function to ‘release’ the document
  8. Fn lock (Shift)+F3
    • This opens up the filter pane on a list page
  9. Alt+N
    • This will either make a new record if you’re on an order page. For examples, purchase orders. If you’re on certain list pages, like G/L Budget, it will instead create a new line. However, having tested this on another list view page (Inventory Posting Setup), this isn’t always the case. In that example, it instead opened up a subpage
  10. Alt+Q
    • This action opens up the Business Central search bar. Formerly, you had to use F3 but this, at least on my device, searches the web page as opposed to the Business Central client

If you’d like to read Microsoft’s document listing keyboard shortcuts, click here. Alternatively, Erik Hougaard posted a great video showcasing Business Central keyboard shortcuts. Click on the video link below to watch that.

Edit in Excel

Typically, users would either manually edit data inside Business Central or migrate in an Excel file which is mapped to Business Central fields. Nowadays, users have the ability to edit Business Central data in Excel. It’s an extremely powerful feature, something which should be used with a lot care.

How to use it

To utilise this functionality, go to a page with a list view. For example, I will demonstrate below using the Customers page. If you click the ‘share’ action, there should be an ‘Edit in Excel’ option.

By clicking it, you should get an Excel file appear. Enable editing on the file.

You should see an empty template for the list you exported. Until you sign in, the records won’t appear.

After a few moments, you should see the data appear:

The panel on the right-hand side has the available options for the user:

The ‘New’ action adds a line to the bottom of the record list, allowing you to create and input a new record. The ‘Refresh’ action allows users to amend details in the Business Central client and Excel at the same time. For any changes made in the client, click ‘Refresh’ and it will amend the Excel sheet. The ‘Publish’ action saves your changes to the record. You can also filter the records by any of the fields and values displayed. The ‘design’ option allows users to remove displayed fields and add others on the end of their tables. Simply click on a cell beyond the last field in the table, then in the ‘Select entity data source’, choose an available field to add.

After clicking ‘Design’, click on the data source value and ‘edit’. You should see something like this:

By simply clicking on one of the ‘selected fields’ and then the ‘remove’ function above, you can remove fields.

Similarly, by highlighting a field in Available fields and clicking ‘Add’ and ‘Update’.

After you add a field, it’ll likely be blank. To get the values that are in Business Central to populate the records, click ‘Refresh’ after you click ‘Update’.

Invalid data in the Excel sheet

At this stage, you can amend the data as you like. Well, make sure the values that you enter in are valid. If they aren’t, Excel will not let you publish them. In the below example, I changed two values on the line. The first being the ‘Adatum Corporation’ name by adding a ‘-1’ at the end. The second was the Salesperson Code value. However, given I know there’s not a ‘JA’ Salesperson value set up in Business Central, I knew removing that would allow me to publish the changes.

Note how the line turns red when there’s an error.

The main danger when using this functionality is people sometimes clear out the data on the Excel sheet. Obviously, you still have to publish any changes you make, but it is inherently easier to make a potentially harmful error here than it would be elsewhere.

Teams integration

To start, you’ll need to download the Business Central application in Teams. Business Central’s recent integration with Teams provides a way to share Business Records to other Teams users. To simply view shared records, the recipient user will not need a Business Central license. If both users do have Business Central licenses, the recipient can make changes to the sent records. Having this ability in an accessible, simple-to-use product like Teams vastly improves the accessibility of Business Central records, as well as the efficiency of amending them.

As Business Central doesn’t have a ‘chat’ environment, this integration offers a way of sharing data. I also expect the utility the integration brings to only improve with further updates.

For more information, read our post on the integration between the two products.

Field monitoring

In Business Central, users can have the system automatically communicate an automated message to specific users. Field monitoring isn’t spoken about a whole lot, but is a relatively new tool offering similar to the Change Log. We posted a blog on field monitoring and the change log previously in more detail, click here to have a look. For a more brief explanation, read on. Whereas the change log recorded insertions, amendments or deletions to field values in the system, it doesn’t actively communicate them to users. Field monitoring, on the other hand, can send out emails.

To start, go to the Field Monitoring Setup page. You can input a value in the Notification Recipient field to determine who should receive emails. Using the Notification Email Account field, you specify who the email is from.

The next step is to determine what changes trigger a notification. You configure this on the Monitored Fields Worksheet. When you are happy with your configuration, return to the Field Monitoring Setup page and click ‘Start’. The recipient user will now receive email notifications for the changes listed in the Monitored Fields Worksheet.

You can also see any entries in the Monitored Field Log Entries page.

My Notifications

Following on from field monitoring, we are now going to look at what triggers a different type of notification. The My Notifications page has a list of lines, consisting of conditions. These come under the ‘Notification’ header and list scenarios which you can be notified for.

There are lots of things you can choose to be notified for. You can pick and choose from them. One key benefit of having them enabled is that it can be helpful for users to get used to get used to system initially. From my experience, I found disabling lots of these to be more advantageous as it saves a click to remove the pop-up.

Notifications are a user based feature, meaning you can’t apply them on behalf of others. Given the nature of what they do, I think this is beneficial as everyone learns at different rates. For some of these, like the one I will show in an example below, they give you shortcuts to accessing related records. This might be beneficial but equally, having it pop up each time might be inconvenient. It’s personal preference.

For some of these, you can define the criteria more specifically. For example, one notification is ‘Item availability is low’. You can configure what defines low availability. As you can see below, this ability to configure conditions isn’t applicable to all lines, only those with ‘(View filter details)’.

One benefit of the ability to add conditions is that they are specifically tailored to the notification and aren’t vague. For example, with the item availability situation, I can define for each individual item what constitutes low availability.

An example of a notification

To show you an example of what a notification in this context looks like, I am going to post a sales order completely.

From posting that order, I receive a notification asking whether I’d like to open the posted invoice. If this is what I’m looking for, it saves me navigating to the relevant page and record.

This isn’t to be confused with ‘Notifications’…

If you’re a user of Business Central, I’m sure you’re aware of the bell icon in your header:

This is unrelated to ‘My Notifications’. An easy mistake to make, I know! Unfortunately, this notification area isn’t used. This feature is standard throughout Microsoft products, and as of right now, is not utilised in Business Central.

Closing remarks

Thanks very much for reading! Hopefully these tips come in handy. To keep up to date with when we post blogs, follow us on LinkedIn by clicking here. To get in contact with us, click here.

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