Import, update, and export solutions in Dynamics CRM 2013

How often you import, update, or export solutions may depend on the size of your organization, your internal development practices, and whether you are developing a solution that is to be distributed as a managed solution.

  • If you have a small organization with few customizations, and you’re the only customizer, you may never export or import solutions except to periodically export the default solution to create a backup or if you choose to use or buy a managed solution provided by someone else.
  • Some organizations will have an outside company create customizations for them. In this case, they’ll export any customizations that they currently have and send them to the outside company. That company will develop and test customizations and send them back to the organization to be imported.
  • Large organizations may have several teams of people customizing the system. They may have a separate organization just for development and customizations. These organizations frequently also have a separate test organizations and a UAT (User Acceptance Testing) organizations in addition to a production organization which everyone in the organization actually uses. These organizations depend on exporting and importing customizations from one organization to the next in the process of creating, testing, and verifying the solutions.

The strategy you choose should depend on your needs. Some important things to keep in mind:

  • You can’t export your default solution as a managed solution.
  • We don’t support importing a default solution taken from an on-premise deployment into a CRM Online organization or a default solution taken from a CRM Online organization into an on-premises deployment. We do support importing custom solutions between these deployment types, but not default solutions.
  • Custom solutions developed using Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 can be imported into Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online organizations.
  • Custom solutions developed using future versions of Microsoft Dynamics CRM cannot be installed into earlier versions without first being ‘down-leveled’ to match the earlier version.
  • When you export a managed solution, you can’t import it back into the organization it was imported from.
  • Only export a solution as a managed solution when you intend to distribute it.
  • Never import an unmanaged solution unless you are sure you want to accept all the customizations in it and allow any of those customizations to overwrite any customizations you previously created.
  • Solutions can’t delete anything. Importing an unmanaged solution might overwrite existing customizations, but it can’t entirely remove them. For example, if you create a custom field for an entity, and then import a solution containing the definition of that entity that doesn’t have the custom field, the custom field you created will still be there. Also, any changes defined within the solution you imported will be there.
  • You can’t import a custom entity with the same name as an existing entity. Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows duplicate display names, though.
  • You must have the System Administrator security role to import security roles, organization settings, sdk message processing steps, and plug-in assemblies.
  • If you import customizations that include a language that is not installed on your system, any labels defined in the customizations will default to the base language of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM system the customizations were imported from.
  • All imported security roles will be attached to the root business unit.
  • If an imported security role originated from the same CRM system, any changes applied to the security role will be merged. All privileges on system entities for the security role will be replaced by privileges defined by the security role that is being imported.

1. Import Solutions:

You can import solutions manually using the steps below. Only import solutions that you’ve obtained from a trusted source. Customizations might include code that can send data to external sources.
IUESolutions1
1. Navigate to Settings -> Solutions.
2. In the solutions list menu choose Import.
3. In the Import Solution dialog, Select Solution Package step browse to the compressed (.zip or .cab) file that contains the solution you want to import.
4. Click Next
5. You can view information about the solution before you click Import.
6. You may need to wait a few moments while the solution import completes. If it is successful, you can view the results and click Close.
If you have imported any changes that require publishing, you must publish customizations before they will be available.

If the import isn’t successful, you will see a report showing any errors or warnings that were captured. You can click Download Log File to capture details about what caused the import to fail. The most common cause for a solution import to fail is that the solution did not contain some required solution components.

When you download the log file, you will find an XML file that you can open using Microsoft Office Excel and view the contents.

2. Update Solutions:

There are times when you may wish to install an update to an existing managed solution. The procedure is similar to installing a new managed solution, except you will get some different options. If you are updating a solution you got from someone else, you should get guidance from the solution publisher about which options you should choose.

1. Navigate to Settings -> Solutions.
2. In the solutions list menu choose Import.
3. In the Import Solution dialog, Select Solution Package step browse to the compressed (.zip or .cab) file that contains the solution you want to update.
4. Click Next
5. You can view information about the solution before you click Next. This page will display a yellow bar saying This solution package contains an update for a solution that is already installed.
 IUESolutions2
6. You will have the following options:

  • Maintain customizations (recommended): Selecting this option will maintain any unmanaged customizations performed on components but also implies that some of the updates included in this solution will not take effect.
  • Overwrite Customizations: Selecting this option overwrites any unmanaged customizations previously performed on components included in this solution. All updates included in this solution will take effect.

Choose the appropriate option and then click Next.
7. You may need to wait a few moments while the solution import completes. If it is successful, you can view the results and click Close.
 If you have imported any changes that require publishing, you must publish customizations before they will be available.

Solution publishers may ask you to export your existing unmanaged customizations, update their managed solution using the option to overwrite customizations, and then re-import your unmanaged customizations. This will help ensure that the changes they are expecting are applied while preserving your customizations.

3. Export Solutions:

We recommend that you export your unmanaged customizations periodically so that you have a backup in case anything happens. You cannot export managed solutions.

1.    Navigate to Settings -> Solutions.
2.    In the list select the solution you want to export and click Export.
3.    In the Publish Customizations step you will be reminded that only published customizations are exported and you will have the option to Publish All Customizations before you click Next.
4.    If your solution contains any missing required components you will see the Missing Required Components step. You can disregard this warning only if you intend to import this as an unmanaged solution back into the original organization. Otherwise, follow the instructions in the dialog to cancel the export and add the required components.
5.    In the Export System Settings (Advanced) step you can choose certain system settings to include in your solution. If your solution depends on any of the groups of system settings, select them and click Next. See Settings options for solution export for details about the settings that will be included with each option.
6.    In the Package Type step, you must choose whether to export the solution as an Unmanaged or Managed solution.
7. Click Export to download the solution file.

The exact behavior for downloading files varies between browsers.

 4. Settings options for solution export: The following table shows the options available when you export a solution, based on your selection following system settings will be applied when solution is imported.

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Group Setting Description
Auto-numbering Campaign Prefix Prefix used for campaign numbering.
Case Prefix Prefix to use for all cases throughout Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Contract Prefix Prefix to use for all contracts throughout CRM.
Invoice Prefix Prefix to use for all invoice numbers throughout CRM.
Article Prefix Prefix to use for all articles in CRM.
Order Prefix Prefix to use for all orders throughout CRM.
Unique String Length Number of characters appended to invoice, quote, and order numbers.
Calendar Calendar Type Calendar type for the system. Set to Gregorian US by default
Date Format Code Information about how the date is displayed throughout Microsoft CRM.
Date Separator Character used to separate the month, the day, and the year in dates throughout CRM.
Max Appointment Duration Maximum number of days an appointment can last.
Show Week Number Information that specifies whether to display the week number in calendar displays throughout CRM.
Time Format Code Information that specifies how the time is displayed throughout CRM.
Week Start Day Code Designated first day of the week throughout CRM.
Customization Is Application Mode Enabled Indicates whether loading of CRM in a browser window that does not have address, tool, and menu bars is enabled.
Allow Unresolved Address E-mail Send Indicates whether users are allowed to send e-mail to unresolved parties (parties must still have an email address).
Ignore Internal E-mail Indicates whether incoming e-mail sent by internal CRM users or queues should be tracked.
Max Tracking Number Maximum tracking number before recycling takes place
Render Secure Frame For E-mail Flag to render the body of e-mail in the webform in an IFRAME with the security=’restricted’ attribute set. This is additional security but can cause a credentials prompt.
Tracking Prefix History list of tracking token prefixes.
Tracking Token Base Base number used to provide separate tracking token identifiers to users belonging to different deployments.
Tracking Token Digits Number of digits used to represent a tracking token identifier.
General Block Attachments Prevent upload or download of certain attachment types that are considered dangerous.
Currency Format Code Information about how currency symbols are placed throughout CRM.
Currency Symbol Currency Symbol
Full Name Display Order Order in which names are to be displayed throughout CRM.
Is Get Started Pane Content Enabled Get Started Pane was removed with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.
Presence Enabled Information on whether IM presence is enabled.
Negative Format Information that specifies how negative numbers are displayed throughout CRM.
Number Format Specification of how numbers are displayed throughout CRM.
Pricing Decimal Precision Number of decimal places that can be used for prices.
Share To Previous Owner On Assign Information that specifies whether to share to previous owner on assign.
Marketing Allow Automatic Response Creation Indicates whether automatic response creation is allowed
Allow Automatic Unsubscribe Indicates whether automatic unsubscribe is allowed.
Allow Automatic Unsubscribe Acknowledgement Indicates whether automatic unsubscribe acknowledgement email is allowed to send.
Allow Marketing E-mail Execution Indicates whether marketing e-
Outlook Synchronization Allow Address Book Synchronization Indicates whether background address book synchronization in Microsoft Office Outlook is allowed.
Allow Offline Scheduled Synchronization Indicates whether background offline synchronization in Microsoft Office Outlook is allowed.
Allow Scheduled Synchronization Indicates whether scheduled synchronizations to Outlook are allowed.
E-mail Send Polling Frequency Normal polling frequency used for sending email in Outlook.
Min Address Synchronization Frequency Normal polling frequency used for address book synchronization in Outlook.
Min Offline Synchronization Frequency Normal polling frequency used for background offline synchronization in Outlook.
Min Synchronization Frequency Minimum allowed time between scheduled Outlooksynchronizations.
Auto-Tag Max Cycles Maximum number of aggressive polling cycles executed for e-mail auto-tagging when a new email is received.
Auto-Tag Interval Normal polling frequency used for email receive auto-tagging in outlook.
Relationship Roles Relationship Role Settings Relationship roles is a feature that was deprecated in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 and replaced with the Connections feature. People who upgraded from Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 could continue using Relationship Roles with Microsoft
ISV Config Service Calendar Appearance Configuration In Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 ISV Config provided all the capabilities to create custom buttons and form navigation capabilities. In Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 all these capabilities were moved to other areas leaving behind only the ability to define visual styles for service calendars.
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4 thoughts on “Import, update, and export solutions in Dynamics CRM 2013

  1. Thanks for the blog. i have a question and I hope you can answer it.

    I work on a unmanaged solution where is do all my customisation. One od my colleagues worked on the application customisation area and did some changes. My question is if the made by my colleague is published then will it overwrite the unmanaged solution too?

    Thanks in Advance
    Venkat

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