How to Export and Import Solutions Between Dynamics 365 Instances
By Ben Ward
In this example, I will be exporting and importing a solution consisting of my custom Time and Expense entities previously created.
Exporting the Solution
Login to the destination instance of Dynamics 365 (where the customization resides and to be exported from). Go to Settings > Customizations > Solutions.
Click on New in the top ribbon. Complete the required fields located on the form.
Note: If you have not exported a solution before, you may need to create a new publisher record for yourself. To create a publisher record, click on the lookup button on the Publisher field and click on New.
Once the new solution has been created, click on Add Existing in the top ribbon and click on Entity. From Select Solution Components dialog, select all the entities that make up the solution you are looking to export. In this example, I know that the following entities are part of my custom Time and Expense solution:
· Time entity
· Expense entity
· Time and Expense Date Range entity
· Events entity
· Event Participation entity
If you do not know this information, don’t worry. Dynamics 365 will produce a prompt displaying any missing dependencies later. I will purposely leave out the Event Participation entity to display the missing components prompt from Dynamics 365.
Go ahead a select all the entities that are a part of the solution to export and click OK.
The next screens will show all the assets that are a part of each entity selected on the previous prompt. In this example, I will export all the assets for each of the entities selected. To ensure all assets are included in the export, the Add All Assets box needs to be checked. Once ready, click Next:
Repeat the previous step for each of the entities selected and click Finish on the last entity prompt.
Dynamics 365 will then check the status of the solution and provide a list of missing components that were not added to the solution package. In this example, the icon asset was missing. Make sure ‘Yes, include required components’ is selected and click OK. The wizard will close and display the full solution which is now ready to be exported. To export the solution, click Export Solution in the top ribbon.
On the Publish Customizations screen, click Publish All Customizations (if any of the customizations to be exported have not been published yet) and click Next.
On the next prompt, Dynamics 365 will check to see if there are any missing components prior to exporting. In the previous steps, I purposely did not select the Events Participation required entity, and Dynamics 365 is informing me that this entity is required. To add the missing required entity, click Cancel on the prompt, select the related entity for the missing component (in this example the related entity is the Events entity) and click on Add Required Components in the top ribbon. The missing entity will appear in the list of components to export.
Click on Export Solution again and click Next.
On the Export System Settings (Advanced) prompt, you can “Select the following features if you want their system settings to be applied when the solution is imported. Note that the system settings are not removed if the solution is deleted. Consult your system administrator before including system settings in your solution.” In this example I will not export any of my system settings along with export and just click Next.
On the next prompt, I will select the Package Type to be Unmanaged and click Next.
The next prompt will ask for the target source version. I will select 8.2, and click Export.
The solution will download to your default download location.
Importing the Solution
Login to the destination Dynamics 365 instance and go to Settings > Customization > Solutions and click on Import in the top ribbon.
Click on Choose File and select the recently exported and downloaded solution, then click Next.
The correct solution information should be displayed. If this is correct, click Next.
Under Import Options, check Enable any SDK message processing steps included in this solution and click on Import.
The solution will begin importing into the target Dynamics 365 instance.
Once the solution has been imported, a notification should appear at the top of the prompt to display the status of the import. Click on Publish All Customizations.
Once the solution has been published, click on Close, refresh the browser and navigate to the corresponding section of the CRM where the newly imported solution will now reside. If the new solution appears, test out the functionality and you should be good to go!