User Interface Design Guidelines

The development tools and concepts built into Microsoft Dynamics NAV are specialized for building business applications, which shows in the way in which the user interface is developed. After you learn the typical user interface constructs available in Microsoft Dynamics NAV, you will find it easy to develop user interfaces that have rich support for business work.

User interface overview

When using Microsoft Dynamics NAV, the following types of windows make up the user interface.

Main/Navigation window (always just one): Opens when the system starts, shows the Role Center, and is used for navigating between lists and views of business entities via the window’s left-side navigation pane.

See guidelines for Navigation Pages.

Vignette of Role Center

Task window (multiple): Opens on the user’s request by double-clicking a row in a list. Supports a given task, for example to edit a list, or view or edit details of an entity.

See guidelines for Entity-oriented Task Pages.

See guidelines for Collection-oriented Task Pages.

Vignette of two task pages

Dialog window (one at a time): Opens when the system informs or warns the user, or when the system requires input before continuing an operation.

See guidelines for Dialog Pages.

Vignette of a dialog page

Windows and pages

Based on the main, task, and dialog windows, a Microsoft Dynamics NAV application developer builds pages which are individual compositions of information that users need for their work and associated business logic. In turn, when the system runs, the system handles opening the appropriate type of windows on screen to display the pages, and allows for the user’s interaction to navigate information, to complete business tasks, and to respond to dialog boxes.

Displaying a page concretely means showing the information and actions that the developer built into the page (including system-specific information and actions), and executing the programmed business logic when the user enters and edits the page’s information, or invokes its actions.

Some pages, for example lists, can be shown in navigation, tasks, and dialog windows, whereas other types of pages are dedicated to a specific purpose. An example of a dedicated page type is the ConfirmationDialog type that can only be used for dialog boxes. For more information about page types, see Navigation Pages, Entity-oriented Task Pages, Collection-oriented Task Pages, and Dialog Pages.

Fields and controls

Compared to forms in the Classic client in earlier versions of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, pages provide a more flexible way to render fields and controls. The flexibility shows in the way pages can scale to fit different window sizes, and to fit different platforms, such as the web and Microsoft SharePoint.

The flexibility of pages stems from the way information and data is presented in specific user interface controls. When using forms in earlier versions of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, the developer decided at design time using the Form Designer, which controls to use. By using the RoleTailored client, the concrete controls are decided by the system, just before pages are displayed to the user. For the developer, this adds a level of indirection between pages and how they look to the user. When you design pages, we recommend that you use preview in the Page Designer, to see how a page will look to the user.

Page types and templates

Understanding how Microsoft Dynamics NAV displays a page dependent on its type in addition to other of the page’s properties and structure, is important to be able to create a good user experience.

Choosing the appropriate page type is the first step when creating or modifying a page. The next step is to organize the page contents to suit its purpose in your solution. We recommend certain ways to design pages, in the form of page templates, based on the user tasks that you want to support.

The following table provides an overview of the page types supported in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2, their typical uses, and basic characteristics.

Page type Use Main page data source Content characteristics


Role Center pages that provide an overview of business performance and what to attend to for a specific user profile.

No page-specific data binding

A collection of parts (Cues, KPIs, etc.) and the contents of the navigation pane.


Master, reference, and set up data management.

Single entity

FastTabs with fields. May have repeating field with its values shown in a grid.


Transaction and other document management.

Single entity

FastTabs with fields. Must have document lines in second FastTab.


Statistics, details, and related data management.

Single entity

FastTabs with fields. May have multiple grids to show aggregations or related data.


Entity overviews and navigation, and inline editing of simple entities.

Collection of entities

A single grid. May have subpages below grid.


Line-based data entry tasks, such as journals and inquiry pages.

Collection of entities

A single grid. May have subpages above or below grid.


Routine dialog that starts or progresses a task.

Single entity or a collection of entities

A cancelable dialog with an instruction to the user. May have FastTabs with fields or a single grid.


Unexpected or exceptional dialog, such as warnings.

Single entity or a collection of entities

A Yes/No dialog with an instruction to the user. May have FastTabs with fields or a single grid.


Subpages that are integrated in another page, such as FactBoxes.

Single entity

Single group of fields representing fields in a FastTab.


Subpages that are integrated in another page, such as FactBoxes.

Collection of entities

Single group (repeater) representing columns in a grid.


Wizards and cross-reference lookups.

Single entity or a collection of entities

One or more groups of fields.

See Also


Navigation Pages
Entity-oriented Task Pages
Collection-oriented Task Pages
Dialog Pages
Components and Controls