Data entities overview - Finance & Operations | Dynamics 365 (2023)

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The functionality noted in this article is currently available in both the stand-alone Dynamics 365 Human Resources and the merged Finance infrastructure. Navigation might be different than noted while we make updates. If you need to find a specific page, you can use Search.

This article defines and provides an overview of data entities. It includes information about the capabilities of data entities, the scenarios that they support, the categories that are used for them, and the methods for creating them.


A data entity is an abstraction from the physical implementation of database tables. For example, in normalized tables, a lot of the data for each customer might be stored in a customer table, and then the rest might be spread across a small set of related tables. In this case, the data entity for the customer concept appears as one de-normalized view, in which each row contains all the data from the customer table and its related tables. A data entity encapsulates a business concept into a format that makes development and integration easier. The abstracted nature of a data entity can simplify application development and customization. Later, the abstraction also insulates application code from the inevitable churn of the physical tables between versions. To summarize: Data entity provides conceptual abstraction and encapsulation (de-normalized view) of underlying table schemas to represent key data concepts and functionalities.


A data entity has the following capabilities:

  • It replaces diverging and fragmented concepts of AXD, Data Import/Export Framework (DIXF) entities, and aggregate queries with single concept.
  • It provides a single stack to capture business logic, and to enable scenarios such as import/export, integration, and programmability.
  • It becomes the primary mechanism for exporting and importing data packages for Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and demo data scenarios.
  • It can be exposed as OData services, and then used in tabular-style synchronous integration scenarios and Microsoft Office integrations.

(Video) Use data entities and data packages in Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations

Entity example

A consumer wants to access data that is related to a customer object, but this data is currently scattered across multiple normalized tables, such as DirParty, CustTable, LogisticPostalAddress, and LogisticElectronicAddress. Therefore, the process of reading and writing customer data is very tedious. Instead, the following customer entity can be designed to encapsulate the entire underlying physical schema into a single de-normalized view. This enables simpler read/write operations and also enables abstraction of any internal interaction between the tables.

Supported scenarios

Data entities support all the following scenarios.

Integration scenarios

Synchronous service (OData)

Data entities enable public application programming interfaces (APIs) on entities to be exposed, which enables synchronous services. Synchronous services are used for the following purposes:

  • Office integration
  • Third-party mobile apps
Asynchronous integration

Data entities also support asynchronous integration through a data management pipeline. This enables asynchronous and high-performing data insertion and extraction scenarios. Here are some examples:

  • Interactive file-based import/export
  • Recurring integrations (file, queue, and so on)

Business intelligence

  • Aggregate data
  • Standardized key performance indicators (KPIs)

Application Lifecycle Management

Besides integration and business intelligence (BI) scenarios, data entities also initially support two critical ALM scenarios. The following two progressive levels of an ALM scenario show the scope of coverage by data entities.

Configuration data provisioning

A system implementer will use both a guided data collection wizard and bulk data input mechanisms to bootstrap the initial deployment (or module) with configuration data through Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services (LCS). Configuration primarily targets to cover the following entity categories:

(Video) Data Entities in Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations

  • All of Parameter
  • Reference
  • System parameter
  • Number sequence
  • Currency
Data migration from legacy or external systems

After the initial deployment is up and running, the system implementer will migrate existing data assets of the customer into the application, especially the following assets:

  • Master data (for example, customers and vendors)
  • Subsets of documents (for example, sales orders)

Categories of entities

Entities are categorized based on their functions and the type of data that they serve. The following are five categories for data entities.


  • Functional or behavioral parameters.
  • Required to set up a deployment or a module for a specific build or customer.
  • Can include data that is specific to an industry or business. The data can also apply to a broader set of customers.
  • Tables that contain only one record, where the columns are values for settings. Examples of such tables exist for Account payable (AP), General ledger (GL), client performance options, workflows, and so on.


  • Simple reference data, of small quantity, which is required to operate a business process.
  • Data that is specific to an industry or a business process.
  • Examples include units, dimensions, and tax codes.


  • Data assets of the business. Generally, these are the "nouns" of the business, which typically fall into categories such as people, places, and concepts.
  • Complex reference data, of large quantity. Examples include customers, vendors, and projects.


  • Worksheet data that is converted into transactions later.
  • Documents that have complex structures, such a several line items for each header record. Examples include sales orders, purchase orders, open balances, and journals.
  • The operational data of the business.


  • The operational transaction data of the business.
  • Posted transactions. These are non idempotent items such as posted invoices and balances. Typically, these items are excluded during a full dataset copy to reduce the volume of data that is copied/migrated. Migrating completed transactions can also lead to further complexity in trying to preserve the referential integrity of related data in the new system. In general, transactions from a completed business process are not migrated in detail but in summary.
  • Examples include pending invoices.

Building an entity

There are multiple ways to create an entity. For example, you can use a wizard, or you can build an entity from a table.

Building an entity by using a wizard

The simplest way to build an entity is to use a wizard. This wizard lets you select a root data source and expand to other related data sources, and then select fields for the entity. To start the wizard, add a new item of type Data entity to your project. For step-by-step instructions for using the wizard to build an entity, see Build and consume data entities. The following table provides information about the properties that you set for an entity in the wizard.

Primary data sourceThe root data source (table or view) that is used to construct the entity. You can add more related data sources, based on this root data source.
Data entity nameThe name of the entity.
Entity categoryThe type of entity. Entity categories are similar to table groups for tables. The available categories include Parameter, Reference, Master, Document, and Transaction.
Public entity nameThe public resource name for the entity.
Public collection nameThe public resource set name.
Enable public APISelect this option to enable the entity for OData services.
Enable data management capabilitiesSelect this option to enable the entity for asynchronous integrations such as data import/export and connector integration.
Staging tableThe name of the staging table that will be generated for the entity. The staging table is used in asynchronous integrations and high-volume scenarios.
Adding data sources

When you build an entity, you start with a root data source. However, you can add additional data sources. You can either manually add new data sources, or select a surrogate foreign key field in the root data source to automatically expand the required data sources.


When you complete the wizard, it produces the following items:

  • Data entity
  • Staging table (optional, if data management was enabled)

Building an entity from a table

You can quickly create an entity from a table, and then customize the properties, data sources, and fields later. Right-click the table, and then select Addins > Create data entity.

Entity list refresh

Entities in an environment must be refreshed using the following guidelines.

(Video) D365FO Data entities 1: Data Entities from UI D365

  • When a new environment is deployed and the user navigates to the data management workspace, entity list refresh starts automatically.
  • When code packages are deployed to an environment where data management has already been used, entity list refresh must be manually started from Data management > Framework parameters > Entity settings > Refresh entity list.
  • When configuration keys are modified, entity list must be refreshed manually from Data management > Framework parameters > Entity settings > Refresh entity list.

Refreshing the entity list ensures all entities are available in the environment and that the entities have the latest metadata.

Configuration keys and data entities

Before you use data entities to import or export data, we recommended that you first determine the impact of configuration keys on the data entities that you are planning to use.

To learn more about configuration keys, see the License codes and configuration keys report.

Configuration key assignments

Configuration keys can be assigned to one or all of the following artifacts.

  • Data entities
  • Tables used as data sources
  • Table fields
  • Data entity fields

The following table summarizes how configuration key values, on the different artifacts that underlie an object, change the expected behavior of the object.

Configuration key setting on data entityConfiguration key setting on tableConfiguration key setting on table fieldConfiguration key on data entity fieldExpected behavior
DisabledNot evaluatedNot evaluatedNot evaluatedIf the configuration key for the data entity is disabled, the data entity will not be functional. It does not matter whether the configuration keys in the underlying tables and fields are enabled or disabled.
EnabledDisabledNot evaluatedNot evaluatedIf the configuration key for a data entity is enabled, the data management framework checks the configuration key on each of the underlying tables. If the configuration key for a table is disabled, that table will not be available in the data entity for functional use. If a table's configuration key is disabled, the table and data entity configuration key settings are not evaluated. If the primary table in the entity has its configuration key disabled, then the system will act as though the entity’s configuration key were disabled.
EnabledEnabledDisabledNot evaluatedIf the configuration key for a data entity is enabled, and the underlying tables configuration keys are enabled, the data management framework will check the configuration key on the fields in the tables. If the configuration key for a field is disabled, that field will not be available in the data entity for functional use even if the corresponding data entity field has the configuration key enabled.
EnabledEnabledEnabledDisabledIf the configuration key is enabled at all other levels, but the entity field configuration key is not enabled, then the field will not be available for use in the data entity.


If an entity has another entity as a data source, then the above semantics are applied in a recursive manner.

Entity list refresh

When the entity list is refreshed, the data management framework builds the configuration key metadata for runtime use. This metadata is built using the logic described above. We strongly recommend that you wait for the entity list refresh to complete before using jobs and entities in the data management framework. If you don't wait, the configuration key metadata may not be up to date and could result in unexpected outcomes. When the entity list is being refreshed, the following message is shown in the entity list page.

(Video) How to create Data Entities in Microsoft dynamics 365 Finance & Operations | Nowledge | Microsoft

Data entities overview - Finance & Operations | Dynamics 365 (6)

Data entity list page

The data entity list page in the Data management workspace shows the configuration key settings for the entities. Start from this page to understand the impact of configuration keys on the data entity.

This information is shown using the metadata that is built during entity refresh. The configuration key column shows the name of the configuration key that is associated with the data entity. If this column is blank it means that there is no configuration key associated with the data entity. The configuration key status column shows the state of the configuration key. If it has a checkmark, it means the key is enabled. If it is blank, it means either the key is disabled or there is no key associated.

Data entities overview - Finance & Operations | Dynamics 365 (7)

Target fields

The next step is to drill into the data entity to view the impact of configuration keys on tables and fields. The target fields form for a data entity shows the configuration key and the key status information for the related tables and fields in the data entity. If the data entity itself has its configuration key disabled, a warning message is shown informing that the tables and fields in the target fields form for this entity will not be available, regardless of their configuration key status.

Data entities overview - Finance & Operations | Dynamics 365 (8)

Child entities

Certain entities have other entities as data sources, or are composite data entities: configuration key information for these entities is shown in the Child entities form. Use this form in the similar way to the entities list page described above. The target fields form for the child entity also behaves like what is described above.

Data entities overview - Finance & Operations | Dynamics 365 (9)

Run time validations for configuration keys

Using the configuration key metadata built during entity refresh list, run time validations are performed in the following use cases.

(Video) How to create DATA ENTITY in D365 FO for import/export (Part 1) | Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations

  • When a data entity is added to a job.
  • When user clicks Validate on the entity list.
  • When the user loads a data package into a data project.
  • When the user loads a template into a data project.
  • When an existing data project is loaded.
  • When a template is loaded into a data project.
  • Before the export/import job is executed (batch, non-batch, recurring, OData).
  • When the user generates mapping.
  • When the user maps fields in the mapping UI.
  • When the user adds only 'importable fields'.

Managing configuration key changes

Anytime that you update configuration keys at the entity, table, or field level, the entity list in the data management framework must be refreshed. This process ensures that the framework picks up the latest configuration key settings. Until the entity list is refreshed, the following warning will be shown in the entity list page. The updated configuration key changes will take effect immediately after the entity list is refreshed. We recommend that you validate existing data projects and jobs to make sure that they function as expected after the configuration keys changes are put in effect.

Data entities overview - Finance & Operations | Dynamics 365 (10)


How do I find data entities in d365? ›

If you have access to Visual studio, go to form, find data source (go to table) and then use "find references" to find the entity related to it.

What is included in dynamics 365 finance and operations? ›

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations

Dynamics 365 Finance: Includes budgeting, project management, financials, and accounting for large, international companies. Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management: Includes engineering, manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution.

How does data management work in Dynamics 365 for finance and operations? ›

You can export or import data in finance and operations apps by using the Data management workspace. Validate the data by staging the source data, and then move it to the target tables in the finance and operations apps database.

How many types of entities are there in Dynamics 365? ›

There are four different types of entity ownership.

What are entities in d365? ›

An entity has a set of attributes and each attribute represents a data item of a particular type. For example, the account entity has Name , Address , and OwnerId attributes. Conceptually, an entity is like a database table, and the entity attributes correspond to the table columns.

Is Dynamics 365 a CRM or ERP? ›

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a cloud-based business applications platform that combines components of customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP), along with productivity applications and artificial intelligence tools.

What are the 5 data management functions? ›

It is often referred to by its acronym, DBMS. The functions of a DBMS include concurrency, security, backup and recovery, integrity and data descriptions.

Does Dynamics 365 finance and operations use Dataverse? ›

It supports integrating data between finance and operations apps and Dataverse. It also supports integrating data into finance and operations apps and Dynamics 365 Sales.

What is the difference between Dataverse and Dynamics 365? ›

In short, Dataverse is a ready-to-use server that offers a security layer, a business layer, a data access layer and so on. Dynamics CRM solutions store their data on a Dynamics server, the business logic is implemented via plugins on Dataverse.

What are custom entities? ›

Custom entities are data definitions, which does not have a select statement on data source but we define return fields and their types. In case of custom entities their data model is invoked manually at runtime.

How do I add a new entity? ›

On the designer, open the shortcut menu for the entity, choose Add, and then choose Identifier. A new identifier appears on the entity. You can change the name of the entity and the identifier in the Properties window.

What is data entity types? ›

A data entity type can be defined as an object with certain properties, a key and value map. There are three main data entity types in Voyado Elevate 3: product, category, and ad.

What are examples of database entities? ›

Database entities can be persons, places, events, objects, or concepts, such as a university course, job, or online order. A database can record and describe each of these, so they're all potential database entities.

What are the 5 entity types? ›

Types of Business Entities. U.S. state governments recognize many different legal entity types, but most small businesses incorporate under one of five entity types: sole proprietorship, partnership, C corporation, S corporation, or limited liability company (LLC).

What are the 5 entities? ›

States recognize several business entities, but most business owners will choose one of five: corporations, general partnerships, limited liability companies, limited liability partnerships, or sole proprietorships.

What are the four types of entities? ›

When beginning a business, you must decide what form of business entity to establish. Your form of business determines which income tax return form you have to file. The most common forms of business are the sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and S corporation.

What are entities in data structure? ›

Data Structures describe all the data sets that are processed by the applications. These data sets are represented by Segments or Tables. A data Structure groups the Segments in a logical way.

What are entities in data processing? ›

Entities. An entity is an object that exists. It doesn't have to do anything; it just has to exist. In database administration, an entity can be a single thing, person, place, or object. Data can be stored about such entities.

What is the difference between @entity and @table? ›

An entity resides in a table, it is a single set of information, i.e: if you have a database of employees, then an employee is an entity. A table is a group of fields with certain parameters. Basically everything is stored in a table, entities goes into tables.

Does Dynamics 365 use SQL? ›

Dynamics 365 Server requires an instance of SQL Server Reporting Services be installed, running, and available. All installations of the supported SQL Server editions can be used as the reporting server.

What database is behind Dynamics 365? ›

Dynamics 365 CRM - SQL server is the database used for Dynamics 365 system and it is one of the pre-requisites to install Dynamics 365.

What is replacing Dynamics 365? ›

Dynamics 365 connectors must be replaced with a Microsoft Dataverse connector. Microsoft Dataverse – This is the newest connector and will, in time, become the only connector available for Dataverse usage. All new features, performance work, and enhancements will be available on this connector.

How do I get an entity list? ›

The Entity List is found in Supplement No. 4 to Part 744 of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) (15 C.F.R. Part 744, Supp.

What are data entities in D365? ›

A data entity is an abstraction from the physical implementation of database tables. For example, in normalized tables, a lot of the data for each customer might be stored in a customer table, and then the rest might be spread across a small set of related tables.

Which is the correct way to identify entities for a system? ›

The best way to identify entities is to ask the system owners and users to identify things about which they would like to capture, store and produce information.

What are the 5 types of entities? ›

Types of Business Entities. U.S. state governments recognize many different legal entity types, but most small businesses incorporate under one of five entity types: sole proprietorship, partnership, C corporation, S corporation, or limited liability company (LLC).

What is the list of entities? ›

The Entity List specifies the license requirements that it imposes on each listed person. Those license requirements are independent of, and in addition to, license requirements imposed elsewhere in the EAR.

How many entities are on the Entity List? ›

Of these 34 entities, 14 are based in the People's Republic of China (PRC) and have enabled Beijing's campaign of repression, mass detention...

What are the different types of entities in database? ›

There are two types of entity in database management: tangible and intangible.

What is relationship between entities in database? ›

Data entities in a database are related in one of three ways: one-to-one (1-1), one-to-many (1-M), and many-to-many (M-M). In the following one-to-one example, for every EMPLOYEE entity occurrence in the database, there can exist only one corresponding PROJECT entity occurrence.

What are the types of entities and operating systems? ›

Answer. Answer: Operating system is a type of System software.


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