Understand the difference between personalization and customization in D365FO

Personalization versus Customization


Changing the user interface by, for example, adding or removing fields to meet your requirements may be achieved by using the built-in Personalization features of D365FO.


You have identified a gap in your requirements compared to the out-of-the-box capability of D365FO. The customization is the solution provided by the developer team.

What is personalization?

Changing the user interface by, for example, adding or removing fields to meet your requirements may be achieved by using the built-in Personalization features of D365FO.

The main goal of personalization is to deliver content and functionality that matches a specific role, user, or group of users’ needs, without customizing D365FO.

The 3 types of Personalization

  • System-wide options
    • Personalizations that are made on a setup page.
    • Examples include the color theme, user interface language, and time zone.
  • Implicit personalizations
    • Personalizations that are related to page usage.
    • For example, the system keeps track of the width of grid columns if you adjust them, and the expanded or collapsed state of FastTabs.
  • Explicit personalizations.
    • Personalizations that a user makes to the appearance of a page by changing the way that an element appears or acts on that page, often through an interactive personalization mode.
    • For example, the user might add, hide, or rearrange elements on the page.

Every personalization that a user makes is for that user only, regardless of the type of personalization or the legal entity that the user is currently interacting with.

The changes that one user makes to a page does not affect other users in the system.

Examples of personalization

System-wide options

The User options page contains several system-wide settings for the current user. To open the User options page, select the Settings button (the gear symbol) on the navigation bar, and then select User options. The User options page has four tabs that contain various user settings:

  • Visual – Select a color theme and the default size of elements on pages.
  • Preferences – Select default values that are used every time that you open the system. These values include the company, the initial page, and the default view/edit mode. (The view/edit mode determines whether a page is locked for viewing or opened for editing every time that you open it.) This tab also includes options for the language, the time zone, and date, time, and number formats. Finally, this tab includes several miscellaneous preferences that vary from release to release.
  • Account – Adjust your user name and other account-related options.
  • Workflow – Select workflow-related options.

D365FO System wide options User options

As you use D365FO, many of your selections are stored to make the system easier for you to use in the future.

You can view and manage the personal changes that you have made to pages in the system. On the Action Pane, select Usage data.

On the Personalization tab, you can view and manage the changes that you have made. On this tab, you can also reset feature callouts (that is, the pop-up windows that introduce new system features). You will then be alerted again about previously encountered features.

Note: If the Saved views feature is turned on, you can view and manage your personalizations by selecting Personalization on Action Pane on the User options page.

Implicit personalizations

Implicit personalizations are personalizations that you make just by interacting with controls that store their current visible state.

D365FO Implicit personalizations Customer record ACtionPane FastTabs FactBox

The above screen has been personalized:

  • ActionPane pinned
  • FastTab expanded
  • FactBox expanded

Other options (not all applicable to above screen):

    • Grid column widths
    • Grid column totals
    • QuickFilters
    • Column header filters
    • Navigation pane

Explicit personalizations

Explicit personalizations are personalizations that you explicitly make because you want to change the appearance or behavior of an element or page.

D365FO Explicit personalizations Customer list page SavedViews QuickFilter

The above screen is on the road to be personalized with a Saved view. (The asterisk indicates that it has not been saved yet))

What is customization?

The customization is the solution to a gap identified between your requirements and the out-of-the-box capability of D365FO.

After meeting with your team members and discussing with the customer, you decide to extend the functionality D365FO by, perhaps, creating new entities, user interfaces, tables, and more.

The developer team will then identify the entities that need to be extended and possibly create new entities to find a solution that address the gap.

Always try to avoid customization and extensions, and use personalization where possible. Customization and extensions can result in higher costs during implementation, as well as during the project lifecycle.

Wrapping up

It is worth noting that customization and extensions, as well as personalization, require work and maintenance over time.

However, where personalization could often be maintained in-house, working with customization and extensions is much more time and effort consuming. It would include development, project management, testing and more.

Fortunately, D365FO has an ever-increasing number of great tools for personalization.

Learn more


I demonstrated Personalization in webinar in April 2020, including the recent most tools, like Saved views, Counting, and Grouping.

Our next scheduled webinar is found here. If you want to be informed about future webinars, please sign up for our newsletter

Course on-demand

For a deeper understanding of Personalization, you could join our on-demand course Introduction to Microsoft Dynamics 365. Personalization is part of the section about Navigation and user interface.

D365FO Personalize the user interface

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