SmartList Tips – favorites

Today’s #TipTuesday topic is still related to SmartLists, the subject I’ve been writing a few of these about the past few Tuesdays! My topic is SmartList Favorites, which will be a bit shorter than the others as there is only so much one can write about it!

PS, unrelated side note: being Canadian, it’s killing me inside that I have to keep typing “favorites” instead of “favourites” but I know for SEO and all that stuff if users are searching for the proper term with respect to SmartLists they will be looking for the US spelling. You win some, you lose some, eh? 😉

What are favorites?

If you have read the previous tips, the first one in this mini-series was covering the basics and terminology. The visual depiction of that is here:

SmartList terms

Favorites are the non-yellow folder level beneath a single SmartList object. Favorites that have an asterisk (*) after the name are defaults that are shipped with Dynamics GP. Anything else is a favorite created by someone else, not system created. “Shipped with” = I’m dating myself…. LOL

How do you create a Favorite?

You will want to save a list as a Favorite if it is something that you want to re-use again in the future, or that is my typical advice. If I have to add or remove columns or filter the data somehow, I don’t want to have to do that over and over again. That is the situation where a Favorite makes sense.

Here’s my working example: a list of Balance Sheet accounts with the Created Date as an added column.

Next, I want to click on the toolbar, on Favorites to save this.

In the Add or Remove Favorites window, give the Favorite a name. I called mine Balance Sheet Accounts. Next, choose who it should be visible to. The options are System, Company, User Class, or User ID. The definitions of each are below, with the caveat that the user I’m referring to must already have access to this SmartList Object and the company(ies) in Dynamics GP Security first (I’m not going to repeat that below for the sake of brevity). If they can’t see the Object, they can’t see the favorites underneath it!

One side note in case it’s not obvious: by default, SmartLists only show data from the company database to which you are logged in. If custom SmartLists have been created, it’s possible someone could have built a multi-company SmartList so some of what I say about companies is not factoring that in to the equation.

  • System = It’s visible to any user in any Dynamics GP company (in this system database in case you have different environments).
  • Company = It’s visible to any user in *the company you are in* only. I’m in “Test Company” so I wouldn’t see this listed if I switched over to Fabrikam Ltd.
  • User Class = It’s visible to your User Class in any company in your GP environment. This is becoming a less and less used field these days, ever since Dynamics GP changed to role-based security. However, if your organization uses this, it could be handy if there are logical groupings to the User Classes. You may be able to ask your GP Admin(s) to assign users to classes to take advantage. The example is if you have a User Class called Finance, anyone in that User Class could then see this favorite.
  • User ID = this is only visible to your User ID in any company you are in.

The default Visible To choice is System unless an Admin has set a different default in System Preferences (a new option in GP 2015 R2). My recommendation is to set it to User unless what you’re setting up is relevant to others in your organization. Before GP 2015 R2, the majority of users would not change the default hence the default was System. What results is a lot of clutter.

Assign To is disabled in my example but if this was a SmartList Designer-built SmartList, I could also assign a specific favorite to a Navigation List.

Last step, click the Add button which is actually a tiny drop-down list. The choices are Add favorite or Add favorite and reminder. I won’t cover reminders based on favorites here but I did write this up in a previous tip, which you can read about here. “Add favorite” is the choice most will want to make, which adds it to the list of favorites under this SmartList object.

TIP: you do not have to create a NEW favorite to set up a Reminder. See the post above on how to do it from an existing Favorite.

How to Modify or Remove Favorites

The next question typically is: how to I update a Favorite? Well, the short answer is it depends. What you are saving when you create a favorite is not the data, but settings to retrieve that data. What I mean is you’re saving the columns you want, and the filtering you want, but the data will change the next time you open it if a new G/L Account was added (in my example above). So, there’s nothing to “save” there, just click on the Favorite name (single click only!) and it “runs” that list to show you the results.

If you want to change the criteria slightly, or edit the columns and that is what you want to be the default the next time you run this Favorite, then yes, you want to modify it before you close your SmartList. Any changes you make are lost unless you actually modify it.

To modify a SmartList, click on Favorites on the toolbar, and click on the Modify button. That will “overwrite” the previous Favorite with the new settings. If you want to “save as” – give it a new name and click on Add then Add favorite to add another favorite based on the previous.

Lastly, if you want to clean up the favorites and remove some, the process is similar: click on Favorites on the toolbar (while you’re on a favorite), click on Remove.

BEWARE: if the favorite is set to System (visible to), you are removing it for everyone! This is yet another reason why I recommend not saving favorites as Visible To System because anyone could alter or delete it entirely.

My rule of thumb: if I didn’t create the favorite, I don’t delete the favorite.

Some other quick tips

Here are some common questions about Favorites I’ve heard over the years:

  • Can the system favorites be deleted?
    • Yes, anyone who can see them can delete them
  • Can the visibility of favorites be changed?
    • Yes, by following the Modify tips above. If the only change you want to make is to visibility, click on Favorites, change Visible To, and click Modify.
  • How do I prevent someone from deleting or changing my favorite?
    • Use the Visible To settings to restrict the favorite to either just your User ID or perhaps User Class if you’re comfortable with who is in that group of users!
  • Can I copy SmartList favorites between companies?
    • Kind of but not really. If I had a SmartList that applies to one company but not all, and I wanted to tweak it for another I’d be tempted to do something like the following:
      • Set the SmartList favorite to “System” temporarily
      • Go to each company where you want that (or something similar to that list, if you have to customize it to the company)
      • Click on that Favorite, then click on Favorites, give it a new name, set Visible to = Company and add a new one (Add > Add favorite).
      • When you’re done or on the last company, you can modify the “System” one back to “Company” so you only see one in each company.
  • I have a different chart of accounts in every company, how can I set up generic favorites that will work in most of them?
    • Ideally there is some consistency between the companies even if the chart of accounts are different, for saving favorites that could apply to multiple companies. It could be using a field like Main Account Segment to filter on, even if that is a different segment in different companies (as long as in the Account Format, the correct segment is identified as the “main” segment). It could be you may filter or search on categories if account numbering is very different, and get comparable lists across companies.

That’s all I’ve got for this one today… next up will be Searching in SmartLists!

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