Retrieve Record using Alternate Keys

Instead of retrieve a single record using

Entity IOrganizationService.Retrieve(string entityName, Guid id, ColumnSet columnSet);

You can easily retrieve the record using its alternate keys if you don’t have the id in advance:

var keys = new KeyAttributeCollection
{
	{ "new_parent", parentRef.Id },
	{ "new_code", "code01" }
};

var request = new RetrieveRequest
{
	ColumnSet = new ColumnSet("field_logical_name"),
	Target = new EntityReference("entity_logical_name", keys)
};

try
{
	var response = (RetrieveResponse)service.Execute(request);
	if (response.Entity != null)
	{
		service.Delete(response.Entity.LogicalName, response.Entity.Id);
	}
}
catch (Exception)
{	
}

Note that if there is no record matched the keys, an exception will be thrown, you’ll need to handle the exception in that case.

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Field Restriction in Alternate Keys

Alternate keys is a useful functionality introduced from CRM 2016. It allows you specify one or more fields to be an alternate key and use it to identify a record instead of using GUID. This is extremely helpful when you work with data migration and/or data integration between systems. More about Altenate Keys here.

Only attributes of the following types can be included in alternate key definitions: Decimal, Whole Number, Single line of text.

However, there are some restrictions in what field can be selected as alternate keys which the document doesn’t mention. Below is the non-exhausted list of them, I’ll update this if I find more:

  • Secured fields. A field with “Field Security” enabled doesn’t show up in the list when you creating alternate key.
  • “fullname” in “contact” entity
  • “domainname” in “systemuser” entity

So be aware when you work with alternate keys. Hope it helps!