The CRM Grid – A Microsoft CRM Blog

Greg Owens’ rose-tinted MS-CRM mumblings

Bulk removal of “Primary Contact” field – not as easy as you’d think!

The concept of “Primary Contact” does not fit well with our business model. As a result, the “type” of contact that was being populated in that field varied widely – anything from MD to chief bottlewasher had been placed in there.

Suffice to say, it was agreed with the business that the solution to this was to rename the field to “Customer Service Contact” and flush the old data in that field. No problem – a two-minute job. Or so I thought.

My intended approach was to conduct an Advanced Find, then use Bulk Edit to remove the value from the lookup. No such luck – the net effect was that the CRM Application concluded I had made no change, looked at me quizzically and sniggered when I clicked on save.

The second approach is one I’ve used before: combine an Advanced Find with a temporary Manual Workflow rule to update a number of records at once. Curiously, “Primary Contact” is NOT a field that is available for the Update Entity action in CRMv3. How frustrating – I didn’t much fancy spending extended “quality time” with my CRM system, then going through all those records and manually deleting them. And frankly the idea of donning my surgical gloves slicing into the MSCRM database wasn’t too appealing either.

The successful solution? I created a temporary Contact “I-Am-Not-A-Real-Person-Prentend-Im-Not-Here”. I then used Bulk Edit to assign the Primary Contact field to use this new Contact. Finally, I expunged my Contact record, leaving the Primary Contact field fresh, clean and ready start its new life as a “Customer Services Contact” field.

One thing can be said for v3 – it often forces you to think more innovatively!



  Rob wrote @


I noticed that you have posted a comment about filtering lookup lists in CRM3. I was wondering if you have found a way of doing this in R4?


  Greg Owens wrote @

Hi Rob

Apologies for the late reply, I didn’t get notification of your comment.

There are two solutions available to you. The first is a solution posted by the excellent Adi Katz on the MS CRM forums: Filtered Lookups in CRM4.

The other is a paid component by CRM genius Michael Hoehne: Filtered Lookup for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0.

Hope these links help. Thanks for browsing my blog.


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