Relationships in Microsoft Dynamics CRM : 1:N, N:1, N:N

Entity Relationships in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Entity Relationships in Microsoft Dynamics CRM is the ability to relate an entity to itself, which is referred as self-referential. Relationships are user friendly and don’t need to be a database administration expert to configure relationships between entities. Microsoft Dynamics CRM supports the following relationships :

  • 1:N relationships (one to many).
  • N:1 relationships (many to one).
  • N:N relationships (many to many).
1:N (one to many) Relationships in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Entity Relationship defines how records can be related to each other in the database. Adding a lookup field to an entity creates a new 1:N (one-to-many) relationship between the two entities. With the lookup field, One parent record is associated to many child records. Basically it forms the parent-child relationships. A parent object can have many child’s objects but a child object must have only one parent object.

N:1(Many to One) Relationships in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

With an N:1 relationship, the primary entity is the one you select. Therefore, the entity you are customizing is the related entity.

Example :-

if you want a Contact entity to have multiple Account entities associated with it, you apply an N:1 relationship to the Account entity.

N:N (Many to many) Relationships in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

With an N:N relationship, there is not one primary entity and another secondary or related entity; rather, they both act as both types.


you might want to have one Contact entity related to many Account entities or one Account related to many Contact entities. You might, for instance, have a Contact with a new person who works for two companies, and each company might have many Contact entities apart from this one.

In this Microsoft Dynamics CRM< tutorial, we are going to create 1:N (one-to-many) relationship between Account and Contacts. Where an Account can have many contact records but the same contact can have only one account record related to it.

Create 1:N Relationship in Dynamics 365

It is essential to create a lookup field before creating 1:N relationship in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. To create relationship follow the steps given below :

  • Navigate toSettings | Customizations | Customize the System.

Now go to Components and expand your Entity to which you want to create 1:N relationship.

  • To create new 1:N Relationships, navigate t0 your Entity and click on 1:N Relationship as shown below.

For a new relationship, in the Relationship Definition section, in the Related Entity list, select the entity to be related. As shown below the related entity will be “Contact“.

  • Select whether this will be searchable to not.
  • In the Lookup Field section, specify a value for the Display Name field

Enter all the details in Relationship Definition. Lookup Field section, Navigation pane Item for Primary Entity and RelationshipBehaviour.

  • Click on Save button and publish all your customizations.
  • Now go to Mapping and create new Mapping between the Source entity and Target entity.
  • Click on New button to create mapping between Account and contact.

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