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Multi-Select Option Set in Dynamics 365

What Are Multi-Select Option Set in Dynamics 365 Sets (aka Choice Columns) Useful For?

Multi-select option sets, now called choice columns, simplify data entry and reporting for certain kinds of data.

Before this functionality was added natively to Dynamics 365, many companies used custom JavaScript on the form. That’s no longer necessary.

For example, imagine you want to track hobbies for contacts. Previously, without using anything other than standard configuration, you may have had to enter this type of information as a long series of multiple two-option option sets (Yes/No).

Staying with our hobbies example, you would have had to include a separate Yes/No option set for each possible hobby a contact could have: Bicycling, Motorcycling, Skiing, etc. As this list of hobbies expanded, the number of Yes/No fields would become very cumbersome for data entry and reporting.

The multi-select option set (aka, choice column) solves this problem.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 v9 New Features – Multi-Select Option Set in Dynamics 365 or Multi-Select Picklist attributes

  • Simple to create
    • Create Multi Select Option Set field, via new data type
  • Easy to configure
    • Use form designer or view configuration to add Multi Select   Option Set field to the form and grid
  • Platform Support
    • Extensible with familiar tools and a strong ecosystem
  • End User
    • Intuitive and easy to use UI Control
  • New Attribute Type and new UI Control
  • Leverage existing and New Option Set for Creation.
  • Supported in
    • Web Client
    • Advanced Find and FetchXML queries
    • Platform and Client SDK
    • Not In Query in advanced find
  • Customizers can now add multi-select fields to forms, quick view and quick create forms, and read-only and editable grids.
  • When you add a Multi-Select Option Set field, you can specify multiple values for the field that users can select, up to 150.

Multi-Select Option Set in Dynamics 365 aka (Choices) CRM Solutions

Multi-select option sets, now known as choice columns, in Dynamics 365 CRM solutions can streamline data entry. They allow users to pick multiple values from a list for any data that can be captured within a set of options.

Microsoft has changed the interface and naming for multi-select option sets, now calling them choice columns, and placing the controls within the Power Platform.

New Interface and Naming: Multi-Select Option Sets vs Choice Columns

Choice columns are the new name for multi-select option set in Dynamics 365. This change is part of Microsoft’s overall modernization of Dynamics, putting more controls into Power Apps.

Multi-select option sets created in the past will still work fine, and will be automatically controllable as “choice columns” if you ever need to edit them. There’s no need to “migrate” old fields to the new interface.

Option sets, including multi-select ones, were also sometimes referred to as “picklists” in the old interface. You may still see that naming in some cases. option sets, picklists, and choices are all different words for the same feature in Dynamics 365.

There was also another previous naming for this functionality, where a “choice” allowed only 1 selection, and a “choices” column allowed multiple selections. Both are now called a “choice.”

Global vs Local Choice in D365

The difference between global and local choice has to do with whether any extra options added to the choice column will be reflected everywhere.

For a global choice column, if the choice column is applied to more than one table (like leads and contacts), and if your user adds an extra option to the column on one of the tables, that extra option is also added to that column in all the other tables. For a local choice column, any added option only applies to the table where the user added it.

For example, if you have a column for “hobbies” on both contacts and leads, and you want users to be able to enter new options within that field, and have those new options apply to both contacts and leads, you want a global choice.

Global choices are much easier to maintain and report on. Generally, if you’re considering applying a local choice column to two different tables, you should consider making it two separate choice columns instead.

Limitations of Multi-Select Option Set in Dynamics 365 (and Multiple-Choice Columns) or Dynamics 365 multi select option set limitations

While multi-select option sets and choice columns do streamline data entry, there are several limitations on them. These limitations do not apply to single-choice columns.

Multi-Select Option Set in Dynamics 365
Multi-Select Option Set in Dynamics 365
  • Processes/Workflows: Multi-select options sets and choice columns can be used as trigger events for processes/workflows, but they cannot be updated within the process/workflow logic, nor can they be used in a conditional statement to perform some other branching logic condition. Ask your internal developer or partner if you can fulfill any such need via Power Automate Flows instead.
  • Business Rules: Multi-select option sets and choice columns cannot be updated within the business rule logic, nor can they be used in a conditional statement to perform some other branching logic condition. However, your Dynamics Partner or developer may be able to use JavaScript to give you the same functionality, such as exposing or hiding fields based on multi-select option sets.
  • Import Values for New Records: You can import multi-select field values and choice columns to existing records, but you can’t import them for new records.
    The workaround is to import your new records without the multi-select/choice values, and then do a second import to add the multi-select/choice values.

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