Thursday, January 19, 2017

Revisiting: The Dexterity OLE Container

Welcome to the first article in my Revisiting series. Today I'm going to talk about the now defunct Dexterity OLE Container feature in Microsoft Dynamics GP. However, not because the technology is dead, it means that you don't have to deal with OLE notes. If you are coming from older versions of Microsoft Dynamics GP and upgrading to, say, GP 2013 R2 onward you have to be substantially aware of OLE notes: how are you going to migrate these and what is there in place to replace them.


In principle, OLE is a compound document technology from Microsoft based on the Component Object Model (COM). OLE allows an object such as a graphic, video clip, spreadsheet, etc. to be embedded into a document, called the Container Application. The Dexterity OLE Container is part of the Dexterity Shared Components. In OLE compound document technology, it is the OLE client application (CONTAIN.EXE), which holds the linked or embedded objects. The Dexterity OLE Container first surfaced with the release of Dexterity 3.0 in 1993.

It is important to note that the OLE client application and the OLE functionality is still available to Dexterity developers today, but the functionality began phasing out from Microsoft Dynamics GP since version 12 (GP 2013 R2) with the introduction of the Web Client. More on this below.

You can read my previous articles on the OLE Container, here:

All about the Dexterity OLE Container
More on OLE attachments and record notes
"You have too many note windows open. Close a note window" Error Message
All About Dexterity OLE Container - Follow Up
OLE Notes and Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Web Client

Document Attach

Document Attach (Doc Attach) 1.0 was introduced back in November of 2012 in a Feature of the Day article by Pam Misialek prior to the RTM release of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013. Document Attach marked the beginning of the end of the OLE container notes feature in Microsoft Dynamics GP. Doc Attach 1.0 first addressed attachments in Sales Order Processing. With the introduction of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 service pack 2 in August of 2013, showed a marked improvement of the feature with delivery of key aspects like document flow, status tracking, password protection deletion, ability to establish properties for attached documents, ability to email attachments.

Microsoft also delivered a migration tool, the Microsoft Dynamics GP OLE Object Migration Utility, that would allow customers and partners to migrate the OLE container notes to the new Document Attach feature.

Dynamics GP 2015 completely phased out the OLE notes and delivered yet improved functionality with the introduction of the ability to scan documents straight into Doc Attach.

The Microsoft Dynamics GP OLE Migration Utility

The Microsoft Dynamics GP OLE Object Migration utility can help system administrators extract OLE objects that were attached to note records in the Microsoft Dynamics GP desktop client, and migrate them to document attachment records. Users can view and edit the attachments in the desktop client as well as the Microsoft Dynamics GP Web Client. If you don’t move your OLE objects to document attachment records, you will not be able to view and edit existing notes with OLE objects, or create new notes with OLE objects, in the desktop client. In addition, you won’t be able to create, view, or edit window- or record-level notes with OLE objects in the web client.

Using the utility is not required for implementing or using Microsoft Dynamics GP. If you haven’t used OLE objects, or will not be attaching notes in any format to records using the Microsoft Dynamics GP Web Client, you don’t need to use this utility. The utility was first made available for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 R2. If you haven’t used it with GP 2013 R2, but you have installed GP 2015, you can still install and run the utility.

The migration tool provides some automation of the process of transferring OLE Notes to document attachment documents. In some cases, the tool might not convert all your OLE Notes. For example, while many variations or file types of OLE Notes will migrate successfully, some file types might not. In those situations, if you need to retain the OLE Notes that do not convert, those notes must be manually attached in Document Attach.

You can download the Migration Utility Guide here for more information on prerequisites and overall use of the tool. You will need a valid CustomerSource or PartnerSource account to download.

Hopefully this review has been clear and concise and I welcome your comments.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Migration tools only available up to Dynamics GP2015. If you upgrading Dynamics GP2013 straight to GP2016, you will not able use migration tools to migrate attachment into OLE container. Because migrations no longer available in GP2016 onward.

So don't skip version GP2015 if you require to migrate the attachment.