The "back door" to Item, Customer, and Vendor Templates in Dynamics 365 Business Central that is worth another look

July 22 2020

Are recent changes in how you work forcing you to take a second look at the tools and controls you use to ensure accuracy in master data setup? Do you find yourself constantly tracking down the source of entries posted to the wrong general ledger account because the posting groups are not properly defined on newly created Items, Customers or Vendors? Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Configuration Templates, if implemented properly, may provide the answer. 

Maybe you tried to use “Save as Template” and “Apply Template” but stopped because you found it lacking due to the limited number of fields in these templates. Well, let me share a little-known secret. There is a “back door” that allows you to turbo boost template functionality!

The setup I am going to show you 1) does not require a developer, 2) takes minimal setup, 3) does not require you to be super technical, and 4) is a change you can make today. Word of caution - since master data impacts multiple functional areas (sales, purchasing, finance, warehousing, etc.), I strongly recommend you coordinate your templates with everyone that uses these records.

Let’s set up an item template as an example.

1. Begin by determining how you might classify the different types of items in your system. For example, you may have items you purchase and make, inventory and non-inventory, or finally domestic and imported. I think you get the idea. Often how you classify your items may directly correlate to the Item Category or Service Item Group, or maybe it is more financial and correlates to the Inventory Posting Group, General Product Posting Group or a specific set of Dimensions assigned. Regardless, determine if more than one item classification exists, and thus, more than one item configuration template may be needed.

About Cynthia Priebe

Cynthia is a Senior Trainer and Consultant with New View Strategies, the go-to source for actionable training and process efficiency in Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. Cynthia is recognized for her ability to look at operational and reporting challenges with a fresh take and propose solutions using core features and functionality. Focused for the past 15 years on Dynamics NAV and now D365 Business Central, she adores helping clients and partners with solving problems and enhancing productivity. She is a regular presenter at industry conferences, a Dynamics Communities Academy instructor, Co-Leader of the BCUG/NAVUG Great Lakes Chapter, and a Dynamics Advanced Credentialed Professional. You can reach Cynthia on Twitter and on LinkedIn.

At New View Strategies, all our experts have “been there, done that” – we are experienced, former users who have walked in your shoes. We know how to improve the utilization of your Dynamics NAV / D365 BC system, thereby increasing cash flow, facilitating growth, and creating a better experience for your users. We can help with your business processes, drive real change via a custom class delivered at your site, or choose from over 40 online and in-person classes at https://newviewstrategies.com/training/

More about Cynthia Priebe

Comments

genns's picture

Thanks for sharing this valuable tool with the community!
One important thing that is worth mentioning...It's important that if you have multiple templates for a table, you want to be sure the same fields are set in each template.
Here's why:
Sometimes users apply the wrong template, realize their mistake, and then apply the correct template. If the first template puts a value in a field but the 2nd template expects to leave that field blank, then that field will be left with the "bad" value from the 1st template.

You can't currently use a template to blank a field, so I added a tiny mod so that when a template was applied, if a field had data in it, and the template was blank/zero, then the template would overwrite the data to blank/zero.
We also have a report which makes sure that every template has the same fields listed. That way we either set a value or we blank/zero the same fields--regardless of which template is selected. I highly recommend doing this too.
If you like this idea, please vote for it here:
https://experience.dynamics.com/ideas/idea/?ideaid=6a8cb0f5-b3cd-ea11-bf...

If you are in BC14 or earlier you can make the change yourself by commenting out row 21 in Codeunit 8617.


Cpriebe's picture

This is an excellent point Greg. Thank you for sharing!


sebastiendb9's picture

Hi Cynthia, this article/functionality was exactly what I was looking for!
However, since the activation of a preview-feature this functionality broke :-(

Please help me raise awareness, and let your post still be relevant:
https://experience.dynamics.com/ideas/idea/?ideaid=37bc53d5-dbdf-eb11-ba...

Maybe you could include the link in post?


Cpriebe's picture

Here is where the confusion could set in! We no longer go to Customer Templates, Item Templates or Vendor Templates. These list pages and their related tables (1381, 1382, 1383) are no longer used. Any additions or changes to templates through these pages will have no effect on the templates users select from customers, items or vendors. I would suggest disabling access to these tables through permissions so that these can no longer be selected. You must go to either Templates (to use the template card,) or Configuration Templates to open the “back door.” Both lists use the Config. Template Header (Table 8618) giving us one place to manage all templates regardless of master data source. My tests were done using Version: US Business Central 18.3 (Platform 18.0.27224.28437 + Application 18.3.27240.27381.)


Cpriebe's picture

Here is where the confusion could set in! We no longer go to Customer Templates, Item Templates or Vendor Templates. These list pages and their related tables (1381, 1382, 1383) are no longer used. Any additions or changes to templates through these pages will have no effect on the templates users select from customers, items or vendors. I would suggest disabling access to these tables through permissions so that these can no longer be selected. You must go to either Templates (to use the template card,) or Configuration Templates to open the “back door.” Both lists use the Config. Template Header (Table 8618) giving us one place to manage all templates regardless of master data source. My tests were done using Version: US Business Central 18.3 (Platform 18.0.27224.28437 + Application 18.3.27240.27381.)


sebastiendb9's picture

I'm sorry but this is simply not true in my BE Business Central 19.2 (Platform 19.0.32956.34472 + Application 19.2.32968.33612). Just like my first comment, this functionality is broken since they changed it with the preview feature and it is now generally available, but the problem isn't solved.
When creating a new item you get to chose an "Item Template" table 1382, you DO NOT get to chose a configuration template.

The functionality in this blog post doesn't work any more.

Please vote to fix it:
https://experience.dynamics.com/ideas/idea/?ideaid=37bc53d5-dbdf-eb11-ba...


dhoward911's picture

I created a template as you explained above. In the template I marked 4 fields as mandatory. After enabling the template, I added a new customer and it didn't require me to populate the fields that I had marked as mandatory. Does this Mandatory option not work or did I do something wrong?


Cpriebe's picture

So I think this setting is very misleading. Mandatory in the configuration template tool tip indicates that "Mandatory" specifies whether it is required that there be data in the field in the data template not the record you are creating using the template.


dhoward911's picture

When I go to add a customer, it shows me a list of all of the enabled templates. How do i add a customer if I don't want to use any of the templates?


Cpriebe's picture

In more recent versions of BC, you cannot add a master data record without a template if any templates are enabled. We could do this at one point by escaping from the template list page, but no longer.

What you can do is create a configuration template with no fields filled - "Blank Customer." Selecting this template will behave as if no template is selected.

Cynthia