Task guides – the tool I’d always wanted

This is another one of those features that falls into the category of ‘everyone knows that, right?’…

…And then you have a conversation with someone who’s never worked with Dynamics before and is trying to implement Talent, and you realise that Task Guides is the feature you wished you had 15 years ago when you were writing disaster recovery test scripts in SAP, and your print screen button got used so much the text wore off it.

So – goes without saying, Task Recorder (with the resulting Task Guides) is one of the best features of the product. We probably don’t shout about it enough.

It can do several things, but what I’m going to describe here is the ability to create Word documents with screenshots that you can produce by way of a user guide. If we ever meet in person I’ll probably spend about two hours trying to persuade you not to create physical user guides, because there are better options out there than printing everything on dead trees only for them to be out of date within a month. But that’s one for another time (or maybe another blog post…).

So here’s how it works.

First of all you need the Chrome plugin. It’s not essential for Task Recorder to work, but it is essential if you want your guides to include screenshots. In the Chrome browser, go out to Google and search for ‘Dynamics screenshot task recorder plug in’ (or something similar). You should eventually find a Chrome plugin which looks like this:

Screenshot of Chrome plugin

Hit the ‘add to Chrome’ button to install the plugin in your browser. Easy enough so far.

Now you can navigate to your Talent environment, and we’re going to create a task recording of how to add a new job title.

On the settings menu in the top right hand corner, there’s a task recorder option. If you can’t see it, that’s because your user roles don’t give you access. Have a chat with your local friendly security admin to see if you can get the right role added.

Task recorder screenshot

Hitting the task recorder button will pop out the slider below. As you can see there are a few options here, which I’ll go into in another post (or you can just Google it, there’s probably plenty of content out there already). We’re going to hit ‘create recording’.

Screenshot of task recorder slider

Add a name and description for your recording in the form that opens, and switch on the slider that asks if you want to capture screenshots. If you don’t see this slider, it’s because you don’t have the Chrome extension enabled (it’s not part of the standard product for some reason). Believe me you need this feature, so it’s worth switching to Chrome just to get it.

Capture screenshots


The recording then starts. You can tell it’s started because a grey bar appears at the top of the page which looks like the record button from your VCR.

Task recorder header

Now you need to step through the process you want to create a guide for. As a good practice tip, it makes sense to start from the default dashboard rather than within any given form. You don’t necessarily know where your users will start this process from so make sure it’s suitably generic. When you’ve finished the step through, hit the stop button on the header bar. A new form will pop up.

Recording ready form

We’re going to pick ‘export as Word document’. When you do so, a Word document is produced (in Chrome it pops up helpfully in the bottom of the screen). Open this Word document and you’ll see a step by step guide with screenshots of the process you just walked through.

Screenshot of task guide document

Handy eh?


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