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How to Set Up Duplicate Detection in Microsoft Dynamics 365

Learn how to set up effective duplicate detection rules to keep your data clean and organized.
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Tired of data clutter and frustrated with duplicate entries? This video can guide you on setting up duplicate detection in Microsoft Dynamics 365 customer relationship management (CRM) applications, like Dynamics 365 Sales and Dynamics 365 Customer Service.

We’ll dive deep into the built-in duplicate detection rules, showing how they identify potential duplicates in your CRM data. However, the real power lies in customization. Learn how to tailor these rules to your specific needs, whether it’s preventing duplicate email addresses across contacts and leads, confirming unique company accounts, or crafting entirely new rules to fit your business processes.

No coding required! We’ll walk you through the step-by-step process, from accessing the settings to crafting your own criteria. Discover how to:

  • Uncover the existing duplicate detection rules and understand their logic.
  • Modify existing rules to fine-tune their effectiveness.
  • Craft your own custom rules to address specific data hygiene needs.
  • Discover the power of these rules in action through practical demonstrations.

By the end of this video, you’ll be better equipped to keep your CRM data clean and consistent. Click play to get started!

Duplicate Detection Rules Video Transcript


Today we’re going to talk a little bit about duplicate detection in Microsoft Dynamics CRM applications.


Now, if you’ve ever played around in Microsoft Dynamics before, you’ll notice that there are a couple of tables where we have duplicate detection rules set up outside of the box.


So, the first thing I want to do is show you what that looks like, how the system detects duplicates, and then we’ll talk a little bit more about how we can update those settings to create our own duplicate detection rules or even modify some of the existing ones.


To begin with, I’m here on my contacts table in my demo environment and you can see that we have about 13 contacts in here, all with very basic email addresses,


I’m going to come in, create a new contact record. I’m going to call it my “Duplicate Test.” I’m going to pick an account. Then, I’ll put in an email address that I know, right now, is a duplicate of another contact record.


Now as soon as I try and save this particular contact, we’re going to have a pop-up window that’s going to let us know that a possible duplicate was found that already exists within the CRM environment.


In this case, it’s finding a duplicate based off the email address, and as a user, I have a few different options here right now. I can select these records and I can merge them together. That’s going to take the information that I’ve already entered into my current record and the information in the existing one, and it will allow me to pick what to do to merge those together.


Or, I can uncheck this and I can choose “Ignore and save.” That will ignore the possible duplicate detection and allow me to save this record.


Finally, I can hit “Cancel” if I don’t want to go through with saving this record and I want to go ahead and just open my other contact record right here.


So right now, I’m going to “Ignore and save.”


The questions come down to: how exactly are these rules set up, and how can we modify or update them?


In order to do that, we’re going to go into our Advanced Settings menu, and you’ll need System Administrator privilege to do this.


I’m going to click on the gear icon in the top right and go to Advanced Settings. Once I’m in the Advanced Settings menu, I’m going to click the dropdown and then go to Data Management. Then, finally, you can see we have Duplicate Detection Rules.


When I click on this, we’re going to see a list of rules that come out of the box with every CRM environment to check for duplicates. A lot of these are pretty straightforward.


Accounts with the same account name, contacts with the same phone number … Here’s the one that we triggered just before: contacts with the same email address and leads with the same email address.


You can see all of these are listed as published, which means they are currently active and running. Then, you can see what are called the base record type and the matching record type, all of which are the same.


In this case, we’re checking for accounts from the account table to the account table or the contact table to the contact table.


Now I can open any of these, so I’m going to open my contacts with the same email address. Drag this over quick, and what we’re going to see is our criteria.


So we’re running from the contact to the contact where we have an email that’s an exact match.


Now if I wanted to modify this, let’s say that I don’t care if two contacts have the same email address. I just don’t want two contacts for the same company to have the same email address. I can make that change to this existing duplicate detection rule.


I’m going to go up top and click on “Unpublish.” This is going to essentially turn off the rule and allow me to edit it.


So now we can take the email field as an exact match. Now we’re going to look for the account field on the contact, and we’re going to say that the account field needs to be an exact match as well. I can now save this and publish the rule to turn it back on.


It may take a moment or two for this rule to apply, but what’s going to happen now is after we go back into our contact record, and let’s say we make another change here to the record, I’m going to put in a job title and hit save. You’ll see we no longer trigger the duplicate detection rule. That’s because when we come in here, even though we have two people with the exact same email address, they have different accounts or company names on the contact.


Let’s do one final test here. If I open this record again and switch it over to … let’s see … Coho Winery as my account and hit save. Now, our duplicate detection rule is catching it because we have not only a duplicate account but also a duplicate account email with this particular record.


Finally, of course, what you can do, if we go back to our rules, is you can create your own rules that will kick on as well. I can come in here and let’s say I have a requirement for my business that I don’t want anyone to create a lead record if we have a contact with a matching email address. Right? Because if they’re already a contact, we don’t need to have them in here as a lead.


So I can create my own rule. I call it “Lead and Contact Matching Email.” I set my base record type as lead. That’s the record that we’re checking as we create it. Our matching record type is going to be a contact. Now, I can set my criteria. On the lead, I can find the email address. On our matching record field, which is the contact, it is email address. We want to see if they are an exact match. It’s as simple as that.


If I save this and then publish this rule to turn it on, we now have a duplicate detection rule and I’m going to go back into my environment.


I’m going to go to my leads table. I’m going to create a new lead, and for email address, I’m going to put in one that I know is a duplicate. Now, I’ll attempt to save this lead, and here we go. We can see that we found actually two duplicates based off this email address—the one that we created, our contact the “Duplicate Test,” as well as our other contact that was in here. The CRM system is prompting us to “Ignore and save,” “Merge,” or “Cancel.”


That’s the basics of how duplicate detection works. There are some other rules that you can do with table keys that will force unique values between tables, but we’ll save that for another video. Hopefully this was helpful for everyone to explain how duplicate detection works and how you can create or modify your own rules.


If you have any questions or would like assistance on how to set up duplicate detection in Microsoft Dynamics 365, please don’t hesitate to contact us, Business Technology Solutions at FORVIS. Thanks so much.

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