Within this review I will cover the following thee books from Murray Fife:
- 50 tips & tricks for Dynamics AX 2012 (volume 1),
- Another 50 tips & tricks for Dynamics AX 2012 (volume 2), and
- 50 more tips and tricks for Dynamics AX 2012 (volume 3).
Even though the books are not explicitly differentiated by volumes, I will use this differentiation in the following for simplicity. On first sight, it might seem odd trying to review three different books at once. Yet, because all three books follow the same structure, this approach is made. The aforementioned structure is made of the following common chapters:
- Desktop client tips,
- Functional tricks,
- Office tricks,
- Reporting tips (only volume 1 and volume 2),
- Workflow tricks (only volume 2 and volume 3),
- System administration tips.
As one can identify, the only difference between the books is in chapter 4 and chapter 5. In the following, I will give a brief summary of each chapter before concluding with a brief summary.
Chapter 1: Desktop client tips
The first chapter in each volume focuses on tricks that are mainly for users that are new to Dynamics AX. A major focus in this chapter is made on searching and filtering data and on how to organize and work with the desktop client in a ‘smart’ way. Examples: Adding fields to summary tabs, configuring the status bar, identifying records with attachments, setting forms to automatically open in edit mode, converting records into templates, processing multiple records at once, using shortcuts, etc. While long-time Dynamics AX users might already be familiar with most of the tricks described in this chapter, I am convinced that even they can find the one or the other trick they have not seen or used before.
Chapter 2: Functional tricks
Within this chapter, Murray describes many tricks from various Dynamics AX modules. From a finance & controlling perspective, the following tricks seem to be the most useful:
- How to add approval workflows to general ledger journals,
- How to use print management to automatically email documents to customers and vendors,
- How to do price updates
- How to mark deleted sales orders as voided,
(This section can be found in the last volume and is one of my favorites as it shows you the setup required to analyze your ‘lost sales’)
- How to block users from using particular journal names,
- How to enable change management for purchase orders,
(Here I need to make a qualification. That is, while Murray nicely describes how this feature works, no hint can be found on the fact that change management for purchase orders currently does not support inter-company trading relationships)
- How to control price adjustments on sales orders,
- How to create filtered alters,
- How to configure notes to print on standard forms.
Chapter 3: Office tricks
Whether or not you will find this chapter on office tricks helpful or not depends on the extent to which you use the MS office products in your daily work. If you use the MS Office products extensively – especially MS Word and MS Excel – you will find the office tricks in the first volume very helpful. The other volumes do not contain that many office tricks. Yet, in volume 2 you can find some interesting hints on the MS Outlook integration that I find worth reading.
Chapter 4: Reporting tips
The first and second volume include a chapter on reporting tricks. Within this chapter you will be able to find many tips on using Power-View/-Pivot/-BI to analyze your Dynamics AX data. Especially those of you that have to prepare (financial) reports will find these tips very useful. Yet, be aware that some setups required for using those features might not be available in your company’s Dynamics AX system. Another remark that I would like to make is that the reporting tips chapter is probably not the best starting point for those of you who just started or plan to start working with Dynamics AX.
Chapter 5: Workflow tricks
The second and last volume include a chapter on workflow tricks. If you are involved in setting up Dynamics AX you might find the tricks that you can find here helpful. Yet, despite the fact that everyday work of many Dynamics AX users is heavily influenced by workflows, the tricks described in this chapter are probably not the ones I would start with.
Chapter 6: System administration tips
The system administration tips chapter is primarily focusing on Dynamics AX users with a technical background that have enhanced user rights. Many tricks, such as e.g. copying data from one partition to another one, restricting user access rights through roles, copying data between companies via the import export framework, etc., do only have an indirect influence on the daily work of most finance & controlling users. However, the sections on how to use alerts and the new Dynamics AX task recorder can be useful for every Dynamics AX user.
In summary, all three books include numerous valuable tips and tricks that might help you in your daily work with Dynamics AX. Especially people who are new to Dynamics AX will find the first chapter on desktop client tricks helpful. A major advantage of all books is that you can just pick and read through the sections that are of interest to you. This fact makes the books very valuable for those of you that are busy and need to grasp things quickly. The only minor disadvantage that I could find is that the explanations in the one or other section could be a bit more detailed. This remark does, however, not influence my overall positive impression of the books.