App for Outlook, Dynamics 365

When customizing the App for Outlook – be aware of this

I ran into something the other day and by writing about this perhaps it saves time for someone who might run into the same thing. I recently learned that now we are able to customize the App for Outlook. There are some default values in the app that must be there in order for the app to function properly though. In this blog post I will highlight those default values and let you know what to do if the tracking panel suddenly goes missing.

The tracking panel is what you should get by default when opening the App for Outlook – in Swedish 🙂

In the App for Outlook documentation there is a section which describes the possibilities you have for customizing the app, such as changing the information that is displayed about a contact when you have tracked an email, customize which entities that should appear in the quick create menu and customizing the regarding lookup to include or exclude entities etc.

The documentation describes that some of the customizations are done under the customization area on the entities themselves, but you are also able to open the app in the App Designer. Yes, the App for Outlook in fact is a Model Driven App, which can be found under customizations and can also be included in a solution.

The App for Outlook – it is a Model Driven App!

However, doing customizations to this app requires that you have read all the documentation carefully. Do not jump in there with your citizen happy hacking mode turned on. Or you might end up with the tracking panel missing. E.g. according to the documentation customizations to App for Outlook sitemap are not supported at this time. Although it is very tempting to modify it in order to display a custom menu for the end user using the app.

I am not exactly sure how the tracking panel went missing in one of our environments, but I do know that it took a while to figure out how to get it back. It is written in the documentation, but still I want to point out that there are certain default values that are not to be touched in case anyone missed that.

In our case when opening Outlook and clicking on the Dynamics button, the search page was opened instead of the tracking panel and the tracking panel could not be found, i.e. it looked like below.

App for Outlook – search page

How to get the tracking panel back

The solution was to make sure the necessary values was there, by following these few steps:

Go to the App for Outlook Dashboard, found under the customizations area among the other system Dashboards. Select Enable Security Roles and choose Display for everyone and Enabled for fallback. In our case the Enable for fallback alternative was not checked for some reason.

App for Outlook Dashboard
Make sure Display to everyone and Enabled for fallback is checked

Then open the App for Outlook in the App designer. It then looks like below.

App for Outlook – opened in the App Designer

Now you need to open the sitemap. In there you need to make sure you have the yellow marked components. In our case, somehow all those components were missing. As I have already mentioned, I am not exactly sure how these default values and default components went missing in our case, but anyway, in that specific environment we had to add those components manually to get them back.

You really need those components marked in yellow

You need to make sure that the App for Outlook sitemap has Dashboard as the first sub area and that the default dashboard is App for Outlook Dashboard.

Make sure the Default Dashboard is the App for Outlook Dashboard

As already pointed out a few times our tracking panel went missing somehow mysteriously. We had made a change to it in the development environment, exported it and imported it to the test environment and it was working fine for a while. Then suddenly it got messed up…. In the development environment it still had the default values and it was only in our test environment it was messy, even more strange. Well, anyway we got it back by performing the steps I have just described.

Now, for all of you citizen developers (or developers doing some citizen developing for that matter), if your tracking panel goes missing, you know what to do.

You can also read about it here:

Limitations when customizing Dynamics 365 App for Outlook

Happy citizen hacking! But go easy with the App for Outlook though.

2 thoughts on “When customizing the App for Outlook – be aware of this”

  1. Hi Carina,

    This post saved my ass today – so thank you for that 🙂 The tracking panel also somehow went missing in my environments.

    I did notice in the Solution History, that AppforOutlookPatch 1.2.305.0 was deployed on 2019-16-06. There might be a correlation with the suddenly missing tracking panel and the patch. So I have created a Flow to notify me when a new App for Outlook Patch is deployed in my environment.

    Like

    1. Hi Niels,
      I am happy to hear that. Interesting with the patches, let us hope it includes some corrections that prevents the tracking panel from disappearing. 🙂 Very clever with the Flow!

      Like

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