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Word Templates

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Word templates provide users with a means to easily generate standardised documents about records that are rich with Common Data Service (CDS) data and leverage the full formatting power of Microsoft Word.

Organisational templates can be created for users to support simple document generation and users with appropriate permissions can create their own templates and share the templates with other users.

A common scenario is to use a document template to handle a lightweight reporting need.

When you want to create, upload or download a template, you can do so from the admin area. However, users with security privileges can also create them directly from the view or the form.

A screenshot of the context drop-down menu, showing the options “Create Word Template”, “Upload Template”, “Download Template”, “Word Templates: Account Summary”, and “Personal Word Templates: View All My Templates”

Word templates are generated as a specific document, from a template of the target entity. Templates are entity-specific and can include data from related entities. Entity relationships are selected and brought in at the time the template is generated.

Word templates are a unique reporting toolset in that one-to-many(1:N), many-to-one(N:1), and many-to-many (N:N) relationships can be leveraged, and lists of child records are easily displayed.

A screenshot of the Select Entity screen, allowing for a 1:N Relationship, N:1 Relationship, or N:N Relationship choices

After selecting the needed relationships, the template is downloaded as a Microsoft Word file with the entity information included as XML data.

To add data fields to the template, you will need to enable the developer tab in Word so that you can access the XML data pane. To do this navigate to file-> select options and click to open the customise ribbon menu.

Customise Ribbon screen, showing where to add the “Developer” options needed for easier template creation”>

Security

Permissions for templates are controlled by a user’s security role. Privileges for organisational document templates can be granted as organisational or none. Privileges for personal document templates can be given at a user or organisation level or none.

By default, organisational Word templates are visible to all security roles, however, access can be limited to specific security roles. Personal templates can be shared with specific users or teams by the owner of the template.

A screenshot of Enable Security Roles: Account Summary, with the option to enable it only for the Sales Manager role selected

By creating a document with data from CDS, that data can now be shared with external stakeholders. Whenever exporting data, it is important to remember that the data is now leaving the security model and you no longer have control of who sees the document and its data.

Using a Template

Users can use Word templates from a few different places within the user interface.

A user can use a template while viewing a record by selecting the template from the command bar of the open record.

A screenshot of a New Account in Dynamics 365, with the Word Templates button highlighted

You can use a template on a selected record from the entity view. Note that if you do not see templates as an option from a view, you likely do not have a record selected.

A screenshot of showing a selected account in the Entity view, with the extended context drop-down opened and the Word Templates option highlighted

You can also use a Word template from a workflow. In the workflow definition, select Perform Action. From there select the SetWordTemplate item. As this uses a global action, you will need to drill into the definition to set the properties.

A detailed discussion on this is beyond the scope of this course but can be found in the course for Power platform automation.

Additional Considerations

  • For performance reasons templates are limited to 100 related records for each relationship. For example, an account template that lists related contacts would be limited to 100 contacts, even if more related contacts exist in the system.
  • If you have frequent accidental edits that cause Word to freeze or degrade its performance, turn off the autocorrect options.
  • Lists of records created from a custom template may not appear in the same order in Word documents as the order in the apps. Records are listed in the order of the time and date they were created.
  • Word templates can be created in 2013, and 2016 versions of Microsoft Word, the 2010 version of Word can be used to generate documents but not to create templates.

In the next step you’ll have the ‘Build a Word Template’ Hands-on Lab for this week where you’ll be tasked with creating a Word document template which draws information from the Common Data Service (CDS).

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