10 things you may not know about Immersive Excel

David Mochrie, 02 August 2016

A new feature in Dynamics CRM 2015 Update 1 was ‘Immersive Excel’. This allows you to export data in a view from CRM to Excel Online, edit the data there, and then save those changes back to CRM. You never leave CRM, the Excel Online window opening up right there within CRM. It’s a really quick way of editing multiple records for the same entity very quickly.

It’s only available in Dynamics CRM Online.

To do it, just select ‘Export to Excel’ from the command bar of a view and select ‘Open in Excel Online’:


This presents the data in a spreadsheet:


You then make your changes and select ‘Save changed to CRM’. Your changes will be visible in CRM a minutes or so later, depending on the number of rows in the spreadsheet.

Since it’s been around for a while now, I decided to take a closer look at Immersive Excel and test its limits. A few things I found surprised me, so I decided to share them. Some of these things you may know already, and others may be new to you.

1)    Can you add records using Immersive Excel?

Yes, you can. Just add them to the bottom of the list (or the top or middle for that matter), and when you save the changes to CRM they import, assuming of course they don't error.

2)    Can you delete records using Immersive Excel?

No, you can't. If you delete a row from the spreadsheet, it doesn't delete from CRM.

3)    Can you export to Excel Online from any view, system or personal?

Yes, you can export a system or personal view. However, you can't export to Excel Online from an advanced find, you have to save the view first.

4)    Does immersive Excel respect duplicate detection rules?

Yes. In fact, there seems to be no way to turn it off, as there is with normal imports.

5)    Can you export just some of the records in a view using Immersive Excel?

No, you can’t. If you select one or multiple records in a view and then use immersive Excel, CRM exports all the records in the view to Excel, not just the records you selected. This seems a little counterintuitive.

6)    Can you add/change/delete a value in a read only field using Immersive Excel?

Yes, you can. Again, this surprised me.

7)    What if you delete a value from a required field using Immersive Excel?

It lets you do it, and saves the record back to CRM. Again, a surprising outcome. I expected it to error on import at least.

8)    What if you have a field from a parent entity in your view? Can you change data for that too using Immersive Excel?

No you can’t. It lets you change it in Excel Online, and the import doesn’t error, but it then doesn’t change in CRM. I tried it by adding the parent account's main phone to a contact view, and changing that main phone in Excel Online. It didn’t change in CRM.

9)    Are there any entities you can't use Immersive Excel for?

You can't re-import activities if it is a view of different types of activities that you exported, e.g. the 'My Activities' view. The option to re-import is not there when you export to Excel Online. However if you go to a view of a specific type of activity, such as tasks, you can re-import those.
There is the odd entity you can't use it for, such as Competitors and Quick Campaigns (although funnily enough you can use it for Campaigns). However it seems that almost all entities can use it.

10)    Can you change inactive records using Immersive Excel?

Yes you can. Again, surprising to me, and could potentially be abused.

So, there you have it. A few things to consider when using Immersive Excel.