Add Existing Contact Revisited

One of the features that went missing in Dynamics CRM 2013 SP1 was the “Add Existing Contact” button on the associated view of contacts on an Account form.  The feature allowed users to associated an already existing contact in the system to the account they were viewing.  This was an alternative to locating a particular contact and associating the record to an Account via the form.


If found that you used and needed this feature back, the crew at “Dynamics CRM Tip of the Day” have a step by step process to bring this feature back using the Ribbon Workbench.

Tip #186: Bring back the “Add Exisiting” contact button

I recently upgraded a customer from Dynamics CRM 4.0 to CRM Online.  As they got used to the new features and layout of CRM, they asked about this missing feature.

Follow the “Tip of the Day” steps, I re-enabled the “Add Existing Contact” button, again showing off my ingenuity and brilliance in all things CRM.


However, a couple of things when off the rails.

First off, if they choose a contact that already belonged to an Account, they got the error “This record cannot be added because it already has a parent record.”  I am not sure when (CRM 2011?) but in CRM 4.0 you are able to re-assign contacts using this method.  I get that you might want to prevent users from doing this.  However, in my customer’s industry, moving employers is quite common so they need to be able to switch contacts around easily.

The other annoyance is the “+” on a related subgrid now didn’t just open the contact quick create form, it opened a look of existing contacts, and the user had to scroll to the bottom of the list to find the “add new” button.


It looks like Microsoft engineers tried to incorporate the “Add Existing” and the “New” button in one step, and it turned out, well, awkward.

So, the goal was this.

Make adding new contact records simple as it is in CRM 2013+ “out of the box”

Provide an “Add existing Contact” button.

Make it allow the user to change the Contact’s account if they happen to be assigned to one.

The solution is a simple Dialog.

I created a Dialog that can be launched from the account form that has 3 simple steps

  • Open up a lookup for Contacts
  • Clear out the contact’s existing account
  • Assign the contact to the account from which you are launching the dialog


The first step is get the contact.  I first created a page section to prompt the user to choose the contact via a lookup.

Note that I used Reference Entity “Account” and reference field “Primary Contact” to get the data and style of lookup I wanted.  This is yet another unfortunate awkwardness of CRM.  A good explanation is this blog article:


I also added a confirmation Y/N, because we might be moving them from an existing account, it gives the user a second to think about it.

If the confirmation is set to yes, we move forward with the work.

I first clear out the existing contact’s account:







Then the next step is to assign the account







Then activate the dialog and users can then add existing contacts.  I shut off the “tip of the day” method so the “+” in the sub-grids go back to the “out of the box” process of starting the contact quick form with one click.

The other thing I did was added the dialog to a menu button (again, a Ribbon Workbench process)  Steps can be found here:


Now a user can add existing contacts much like they did in versions past!






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