Howto: Attribute fields in detail window of workflow action “Update Record” not editable

Let’s end the week with a tricky issue found even in latest Dynamics 365 / CRM.

Once upon a time, there was a system workflow action called “Update Record”. When users added it to their workflow and opened the detail window for inserting value placeholders, certain fields were mysteriously greyed out so users could not edit them. Coincidentially, the fields being disabled, were exactly those, that have been configured as “read-only” on the entities main form. So obviously CRM is re-using the entities main form definition for building up the detail window of said standard workflow action.

Side note: CRM does this not only for the said “Update Record” workflow action, but also on several more places too, like e.g. bulkoperation distribution window and the outlook client dialogs.


Fields marked as “read-only” on entities main form are not editable in detail window of standard workflow action “Update Record”.


  1. Open developer tools of your browser (f.e. press F12 in Chrome)
  2. Pick the DOM element representing the attribute input field you want to edit
  3. Delete HTML element attribute “disabled=true”
  4. Do whatever you want to do
Whilst this is no “real” solution to a “real” problem, it’s rather more a clever workaround for editing the detail window form. Whether this is a bug or just a (too?) consequent behaviour of the read-only option of a form control might be debatable. 

Processes and arguments of type “Picklist” ━ a dead end street

Yesterday, one of the few perfect fits for a combination of Dialog and Action Processes have crossed my mind while revising a business requirement. Being satisfied because having found an elegant solution wich furthermore consists of no code or indirections, I first designed the Action Process. The part which caused my today’s rumbling is the following:

First we defined an in-argument of type Picklist (=OptionSet) as required and 
then wanted to write it into an OptionSet field..


Microsoft Dynamics 365 (online and on-premise) still does not allow Picklist arguments to be written into Picklist fields.

Solution (😉)

Come on, are you kidding me?? But the story doesn’t end here. I investigated on this issue and found out, that this restriction is imposed somewhere in the platform UI layer, because the underlying Workflow engine used internally by the CRM platform (Windows Workflow Foundation with references to product-specific assemblies) to handle is undoubtedly able to handle those argument types. I exported my Action in a temp solution and edited the XAML workflow definition file manually, so that the above Picklist argument is written into the target field “Business Partner Type”. With success. Oh, and by the way: manually editing declarative workflow processes from MSCRM is supported even for Online.

So again, being happy about having also fixed this issue, I went on by creating my Dialog Process which would have to be invoked by the actual user for choosing the business partner type along with some other parametrized inputs. Then, as last step I added an “Invoke Action” command … but wtf is this? The list of available Actions does not contain the one I just finished before!

After some cross-checks it turned out this behaviour is solely related to the fact that the Action said does contain an In-Argument of type Picklist. Nothing else.

Finishing Move

Action Processes with in-arguments of type “Picklist” cannot be invoked from other Processes. This dilletante limitation seems to be around (google for it) since 2013 and I would not bet a cent that it will be fixed anytime soon.