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How to modify an existing Dynamics 365 Business Central Data Exchange Definition

by Holly Armitage
Senior Business Applications Consultant, Western Computer

Editor's Note: Holly will be speaking on “Working with Data Exchange Definitions” at the upcoming Directions North America 2023 conference on Tuesday, April 18 in Regency 3 at 9:30 a.m.

Dynamics 365 Business Central offers a variety of pre-configured Data Exchange Definitions which allow users to exchange data in specific tables with data in external files. The most common uses of Data Exchange Definitions are exporting positive pay files, exporting EFT payment files and importing bank statement files.

The existing Data Exchange Definitions can be easily modified to fit a different financial institution’s requirements. In this article, we will explain how to start with a pre-configured DED and modify it to suit your financial institution's requirements.

Data Exchange Definitions have three FastTabs: General, Line Definitions and Column Definitions. The General FastTab holds the Codeunits which are groups of AL code used to implement business logic. There are different Codeunits for each type of Data Exchange Definition like there are different transportation methods to go from point A to point B. A bicycle has different components than a car, but each can transfer a person to their destination. Similarly, a positive pay file has different components than an EFT file, but they both contain data about payments.


The overall file structure is determined in the Line Definitions FastTab depending on the Line Types selected. There can be as few as a single Detail Line Type to multiple Header, Detail and Footer Line Types. For each Line Type, Column Definitions are created to specify the type and format of the data being handled.


Column Definitions determine the order of fields in the file and can denote static text, a set length of a field filled with a padding character and/or data which is assigned in the Field Mapping page. Data format is also controlled in the Column Definitions FastTab. When the Data Type is Decimal or Date, a Data Formatting Culture is required. Selecting Right or Left Justification can affect where a space is left if the data in that field has fewer characters than the field length and no padding character is required.

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About Holly Armitage

Holly Armitage is a Senior Business Applications Consultant at Greenville, S.C.-based Kopis.

More about Holly Armitage
Submitted by Martin Howard on Mon, 03/04/2024 - 06:30 Permalink


Your article makes very interesting reading. However, I have a particular problem with creating an export payment file for a UK bank. The issue is that the structure of the output file does not follow a horizontal type path, but a vertical path.

E.G. First line is $FN:1, Second Line is Batch Total, Third Line is Paying Currency, etc.

The Data Exchange Definition seems to work primarily with horizontal data exports and this is true for most UK banks. However, our bank (HSBC) uses the vertical structure I have outlined.

Any ideas would be most welcomed.

Best wishes

Martin Howard