Getting Started

9 steps to get started with reporting

The items in this article cover the basics for getting started analyzing data and using reports in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Each section has links to relevant videos, articles, or Help topics.

On This Page

1. Learn by watching

2. Know your options

3. You can only see the data you have permission to see

4. If you need a report, ask for it

5. Understand what you have permission to do

6. Tips for running reports

7. Tips for using the Report Wizard

8. If you come up with a good report, share it

9. Features you may not know about ...

1. Learn by watching

Watch the video Video: Create and run reports to learn how you can create and run existing or new reports to analyze customer data by using the Report Wizard.

2. Know your options

There are three ways to analyze data stored in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The following list shows when to use each approach:

  • Export data to Microsoft Office Excel.

    Use this approach when you need Excel features to summarize or aggregate data, or want to use a PivotTable to view your data in different perspectives. You can also add it to Microsoft Dynamics CRM as a report. Each time you open it, the data can dynamically update.

  • Use a default report or a report created by other users.

    Microsoft Dynamics CRM includes many default reports, and may include custom reports set up specifically for your organization. Many of these reports offer filtering, grouping, and sorting options to help you collect and display the information you need.

  • Create your own report.

    If you have appropriate permission, creating your own report using the Report Wizard is an easy way to get the information you need. The wizard lets you summarize and display data from two types of records at once.

    This approach offers some advantages over exporting data to Excel:

    • It can create tables and charts that let you click an item to go to a specific record in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
    • Data can be grouped by time intervals or by any field, and summarized by sum, average, maximum, minimum, or percentage.
    • You can select to show records with the most or least of one criteria, such as the 5 products with the fewest associated orders.
  • Advanced users can also create more complex reports. This is typically done by an experienced report designer, because it requires setting up a report development environment and knowledge of Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services. For more information, see the article Report Customizations or see Create a Custom Fetch-Based Reporting Services Report.

3. You can only see the data you have permission to see

By default, all the reports in Microsoft Dynamics CRM are visible to all users, but each person who runs a report only sees data that they have permission to view.

For example, a salesperson might have permission to see his own opportunities, but not opportunities that belong to other salespeople, whereas a sales manager might have permission to view the opportunities of all salespeople who report to her. So when the salesperson runs the Sales Pipeline report, he will see his own opportunities, but when a sales manager runs the same report, she will see opportunities for all her direct reports.

4. If you need a report, ask for it

If you don't have permission to create reports, consider asking your manager or system customizer if a specific report you need can be added.

Some of the types of reports that can be added are:

  • Reports created by using the Report Wizard.
  • A copy of an existing report, with different default filter criteria.
  • Snapshots of Microsoft Dynamics CRM reports taken at a specific date or time.
  • Excel spreadsheets that dynamically refresh data.
  • Links to Web pages such as a Windows SharePoint Services site.

If you need more complex reports, you must find someone familiar with Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services. A good place to start is at Microsoft Dynamics Partner Solutions.

5. Understand what you have permission to do

Running and creating reports are controlled by the permissions in your security role. Here are some of the different things permissions can control:

  • Who can create a report with the Report Wizard.
  • Who can share a report they create with specific other people or teams, or with everyone in the organization.

By default, only some managers and the system customizer and administrator can create reports.

To figure out which tasks you can do, follow the steps in Help, a video, or an article to do a task. If a menu item is missing, you don't have permission. For example, if there is no New button in the Reports area, you don't have permission to create your own report. To explore permissions more, view your user profile to see the permissions in the security role associated with your Microsoft Dynamics CRM account. For more information, see the following help topic: Report Permissions.

6. Tips for running reports

Run a report from wherever you are. You don't need to go to the Reports area to run most reports. Many reports are meant to be run on specific records, so from wherever you are in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, in the Data group, click Run Report, and then click a report that makes sense for the data that you are viewing.

Click on a hotspot to go to the record. Slide your mouse across the data in a report—you'll see the cursor change when you're over a hotspot. Click to go to the record in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Click on a chart to see the table used to create the report. Most charts are set up so you can see the underlying data for a section by clicking the section. Or, click Show All to see the data for all the chart sections.

Understand how to change filtering criteria. A filter defines which records to include in a report. Most reports have a default filter. Some reports always prompt you to enter filtering criteria before the report displays. For other reports, you must click Edit Filter to change the criteria.

7. Tips for using the Report Wizard

Here are some tips to help you create your first reports:

  • Know what the Report Wizard can and can't do:


    Not Possible

    • Display and group data from two record types.
    • Display a table of results that you can click to see the original record in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
    • Display a chart that you can click to see the supporting table.
    • Summarize numeric data by showing average, minimum, maximum, or percent of total.
    • Display and group data from more than two record types.
    • Count the number of records.


  • When you create a report, it is added to list of reports in Microsoft Dynamics CRM; however, only you can see it. This means you have time to experiment and get it right before you share it with other people.
  • When you first click New, you see a properties page for the report. You must click Report Wizard to start the wizard and actually create a report.
  • When you finish defining what goes in the report, save the report, and preview it. If it isn't exactly what you need, run through the wizard again to make any changes.
  • By default, a new report only shows up in the Reports area. To have it show up on the forms or lists for specific record types, explicitly set this in the Categorization section of the report properties page, rather than in the Report Wizard.

8. If you come up with a good report, share it

Any new report you create with the Report Wizard is added as viewable only by you. There are two options to make it available to others:

  • To share the report with specific users or teams, in the Collaborate group, click Share.
  • To make the report viewable by everyone in the organization, in the Records group, click Edit, and then on the Administration tab, set Viewable By to Organization.

9. Features you may not know about ...

Know the possibilities, so you can get just what you need from Microsoft Dynamics CRM. These will probably require action by a manager or system customizer, but most are quick tasks to complete:

  • Schedule reports. You can schedule a report to run at a specific time so that you have a snapshot at a specific moment in time. This is handy for reports summarizing the end of a fiscal period, such as a week or a quarter.
  • Save a copy of a report with a different default filter. If the same report is used differently by people in two different groups, copy and rename the report and change the filter criteria so that each group has a custom-made report to use.
  • Create your own categories for reports. The report categories can be customized at your organization, and then reports can be resorted into the new categories. You might want to have one category of reports for each department. For more information, see the help topic System Settings Dialog Box - Reporting Tab.
  • Create reports based on processes. You can use reports to track how people are doing at using predefined processes in your organization. For example, if you have a workflow related to lead qualification stages, you could see how long each lead is sitting at each stage. For more information, see this Microsoft Dynamics CRM team blog entry Report on Processes Not Just Data.

Related Links

Applies To:

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

(For CRM Online, CRM 2013, and CRM 2015, see CRM Help & Training.)