Overcoming Dynamics 365 Data Migration Blues (Importing Balances and Historical Data)

By AJ Ansari, NAV Product Manager

A key shortcoming with Microsoft’s current data migration tools for importing data from QuickBooks, Dynamics GP or Excel into Dynamics 365 for Financials is that they all focus on migration of Master records, and not on import of any transactional data.

Data Migration to Dynamics 365

Most customers at least want an opening balance for each G/L Account, and sometimes Net Change by G/L Account by month for the last 12 months (for comparative reporting), and to bring in opening Receivable balance for each Customer, Payable balance for each Vendor, and Inventory valuation and quantities.

These can be done by entering or importing data into the General Journal, Sales Journal, Purchase Journal, and Item Journal. BUT, with no RapidStart for Data Migration yet, and the fact that none of these Journals have an ‘Edit in Excel’ option out-of-the-box, getting transactional data in can be quite a hassle.

What I find curious is that there is an Edit in Excel button on the ribbon on the Batch selection screen for each journal, but not on the actual journals themselves (where it is needed).

So you either need to type all that data in, or you have to get creative. What we’ve done is created and published a Web Service for each of those Journal pages, and did a little reverse-engineering to be able to Publish data from Excel into Dynamics 365 for Financials like you can from an “Edit in Excel” list.

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With Project “Madeira” and Office 365 Outlook, 1+1=3

If you are not familiar with Project “Madeira” or would like to learn more about the Preview, please take a few minutes to read my post titled: Project “Madeira” Preview has arrived & here’s everything you need to know! 

24-Madeira OutlookLike Dynamics NAV, the Project “Madeira” Preview plays well with Microsoft Office, and especially Office 365.

From O365 Single-Sign On, to the ability to export data to Excel and Word, to copying and pasting rows from Excel, to integrating with OneNote, to sending e-mails, synchronizing contacts and getting Inbox / Task overview with Outlook, it’s all been there in Dynamics NAV for some versions now.

So how can Microsoft makes things better with Dynamics NAV and Office? Well, for one, there’s plenty of room for improvement with the Outlook integration. Dynamics CRM has excelled on this front for many years now, with the ability to track e-mails, manage contacts and opportunities, and much more without ever leaving Outlook.

While we didn’t exactly get the Dynamics CRM flavor of Outlook integration, what we are getting is quite significant, and in some ways, even exceeds what Dynamics CRM and other ERP systems are capable of today!

This functionality was initially demonstrated at the NAV Directions conference in Orlando,FL last year.

Right from an e-mail in Outlook for Office 365, you can launch a NAV function or see related information about the customer or vendor and their transactions. This brings a whole new level of integration between the ERP system and Outlook that will, no doubt, help with efficiency.

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Push or Pull; It’s Your Choice

By now almost all users of Dynamics NAV are aware that NAV is integrated with Microsoft Excel. It has been this way for a while and with the newest release of 2013, or if you prefer NAV 7, this is even more true. There are more reports that can be sent to Excel and nearly every list page can push data out to Excel as well. But what if you had the need for users to be in an Excel worksheet and pull the data from NAV by using lookup list?  What if you required the user to input a certain value in an Excel field but needed NAV data validation when doing so?

Below is an easy “How-to” article to create endless Excel worksheets, using valid data from NAV tables.

Some simple but useful examples of worksheets that can be created using this information would be time entry, contact cross reference, and employee benefit tracking.



Neat little NAV tricks

If you use the NAV Classic Client, you’ve probably noticed that you can close an open window simply by hitting the Escape key instead of clicking the X icon. But did you know that you could very easily disable that?

In the Classic Client, go to Tools > Options, and change the value of Close Forms on Esc to No.

While you’re in the Options window, take a look at some other options that you can easily change to affect NAV behavior. Here are couple that may interest even the novice user:

  • Status Bar: Hide the Status Bar that appears at the bottom of the Classic Client by setting it to No (the client will need to be restarted before this takes effect)
  • Max. no. of XML records to send: The default value is set to 5,000. This is the maximum number of records that can be sent to Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Word from NAV using the built-in Send-to functionality in the NAV Toolbar. This can be changed as needed. Changing this value only affects the Classic Client; to read how this can be changed for the RoleTailored Client in NAV 2009 R2, read this blog post from the MSDN NAV Blog:

But wait, there’s more!

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Freeze Panes in NAV 2009 RTC à la Microsoft Excel

I was doing an NAV demo this morning for a prospect who had used the product a long time ago (way before Microsoft had acquired Navision), and inevitably we spent a few minutes talking about the evolution of the product and the many new features added over the years.

While showing her a List style page, we scrolled left and right a couple times and it segued nicely into an opportunity to show a new-to-NAV feature: Freeze Pane.

No doubt some of you may already know about it, but I think there are users out there who aren’t aware of this NAV 2009 RTC feature.

On any Page or Subform that contains columns, right-click on the Column Header (or click the Customize icon on the top-right of the page) and click on Choose Columns.

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