How to Update Existing Word Templates in Dynamics 365 CRM

By - February 2, 2018

With the introduction of word templates in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016, it allowed for easier reporting and the ability to really customize that data pulled out of CRM. However, if you’ve searched the internet like I have, there is not a lot of information on how to update an existing template. If you have an existing word template in Dynamics 365 CRM, and the template needs updated, let’s say with new fields added in CRM, you don’t need to know how to update XML to make the updates. It’s much simpler than that.

These steps will apply to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 on-premise or online and Microsoft Dynamics 365 on-premise or online environments. These steps will also apply to an existing word document you wish to create a word template with by adding the Custom XML part.

To generate the Custom XML Part of the data you want to add to an existing template:

  1. In your CRM environment, navigate to the Templates area under Settings
  2. Click on Document Templates
  3. Click + New to create a new Word Template
  4. Select the primary entity you will be pulling data from to use in the word template
    1. If you’re updating an existing template, make sure to choose the same primary entity as the exiting
    2. If you’re creating a new word template for an already created word document, select the necessary primary entity the word template will be ran from.
  5. If necessary, select any necessary relationships that you’d like pull from the related entities of the primary entity
  6. Download the template and save on your local PC
  7. In Windows Explorer, navigate to the location the template was saved
    – I recommend creating a folder and putting the document in this folder. You’ll see why in the next couple of steps
  8. Rename the file and replace the file extension from .docx to .zip
  9. Right click on the file and use a compression tool such as 7-Zip or WinZip to extract the file in the folder the file resides in
  10. You should now see the extracted files like the example
  11. Take note of this file location
  12. On your PC, navigate to and open the word template that needs updated
  13. You will need to enable the Developer tab in Word to bring in the Custom XML Part. If you have already enabled the Developer tab in Word, skip to step 18. If you have not, continue with the below steps to enable
  14. In Word, navigate to File > Options > Customize Ribbon.
  15. Check the box next to Developer
  16. Click ok
  17. You should now see the Developer tab in the ribbon
  18. Click on the Developer tab > XML Mapping Pane
  19. The XML Mapping pane should appear
  20. Click the drop down under Custom XML Part
  21. Click Add new part…

  22. Navigate to the file location from Step 10 and open the customXml folder
  23. Select the xml file. If you have two, select the one that is larger in size and click open.
  24. In the Custom XML Part drop down, you should now see two parts that start with urn. One is the original one from when the template was created, the other is the new one with the latest fields and/or relationships.
  25. Add the updates to the word template and save the document
  26. Upload the updated template to CRM and test your updates

Hopefully this helps others out there, like me, who weren’t able to find much on this topic.

To learn more about how you can take advantage of this and other Dynamics 365 features, visit RSM’s Microsoft Dynamics 365 resource. To make sure you stay up to date with the Microsoft Dynamics Community, subscribe to our Microsoft Dynamics Community Newsletter.

For more information on Microsoft Dynamics 365, contact us.

By: Chris Carley


Craig Day February 26, 2019 at 7:00 pm

Thanks so much! This was a huge help for me.

Just an additional consideration: If you are trying to add more relationships based on the same entity, you should the new relationships plus all the existing ones, then use that XML part in your document. Otherwise, if you add the XML part with just the new relationships, any fields that are mapped to your previous XML part may break. This seems to be because the new XML part has an identical name as the old one if they are from the same entity.

Mat April 16, 2019 at 2:13 pm

We have 60+ word templates and we need to change the options in a hard coded drop down list. I scripted a powershell script to step through the word templates, change the file extension to zip, export the files, change the document xml file, rezip. I tested a random sample and they all opened up in Word fine however when we try to open them up through Dynamics they fail with an error that the file format is bad. Has anyone else seen this and know what to do.

Kaushik Patel October 20, 2019 at 8:58 pm

Great information..


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