Create N:N (many-to-many) relationships between entities

This topic applies to Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (on-premises). For the Power Apps version of this topic, see: Create Many-to-many entity relationships in Dataverse using Power Apps portal

1:N entity relationships establish a hierarchy between records. With N:N (many-to-many) relationships there is no explicit hierarchy. There are no lookup fields or behaviors to configure. Records created using N:N relationships can be considered peers and the relationship is reciprocal.

With N:N relationships a special entity is created called a Relationship (or Intersect) entity. This entity has a relationship with each of the related entities and only stores the necessary values to define the relationship. You can’t add custom fields to a relationship entity.

The procedure to create a N:N relationship is essentially choosing the two entities that you want to participate in the relationship, and then for each entity defining how you want the respective lists to be available within the navigation pane of the form for each entity. These are the same options used for the primary entity in 1:N entity relationships. More information: Navigation Pane Item for Primary Entity

Not all entities can be used with N:N relationships. If the New Many-to-Many Relationship button isn’t present, you can’t create a new N:N relationship with this entity. If you use the metadata browser, you can filter on entities that have the CanBeInManyToMany value set to true. More information: Use the metadata browser

Create or edit N-N relationships between entities

  1. Open solution explorer.

  2. Under Components, expand Entities, and then expand the entity you want to work with.

  3. Select N:N Relationships.

  4. To edit or view the details for an existing relationship, select the relationship, on the Actions toolbar, click Actions, and then click Edit.

    - OR -

    To add a new relationship, click New Many-to-Many Relationship.


    If New Many-to-Many Relationship does not appear on the Actions toolbar, you cannot create a N:N relationship for that entity.

  5. For a new relationship, in the Current Entity section, in the Display Option list, choose one of the following options:

    • Do Not Display: The other entity will not display an associated view for the current entity.

    • Use Custom Label: This label will be used for the associated view created for the other entity. Be sure to enter a corresponding value in the Custom Label field.

    • Use Plural Name: This will use the plural name of the current entity for the associated view.


    When the Use Plural Name or Use Custom Label options are selected, you can choose from the Display Area option list to specify the display area (for example Marketing or Sales) on the form where the relationship label will be displayed. You can also specify the Display Order to control where the label will be included within the selected display area.


    The navigation paradigm for the forms associated with updated entities is significantly different than that for entities that have not been updated. While the mechanics for defining the Display Area and Display Order are common, be sure you understand the various navigation paradigms as you establish entity relationships.

  6. In the Other Entity section, select the other entity from the Entity Name list.


    When you specify the entity name, default values are set for the Name and Relationship Entity Name fields in the Relationship Definition section. If you change the Entity Name value before you save, these names will not change, so be sure these names are meaningful before saving.

  7. In the Relationship Definition section, confirm the Name and the Relationship Entity Name.

    These values must be unique among N:N relationships.

  8. Click Save and Close to close the N:N Relationship form.

  9. When your customizations are complete, publish them:

    • To publish customizations for only the component that you’re currently editing, on the Home tab, in the Save group, click Publish.

    • To publish customizations for all unpublished components at one time, click Publish All Customizations.


      Any time you change user-interface elements or implement form scripts for an entity, you must publish changes to apply them. Any customizations that change the data schema of Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (on-premises) such as custom entities, relationships, or fields, are applied immediately.

      Installing a solution or publishing customizations can interfere with normal system operation. We recommend that you schedule a solution import when it’s least disruptive to users.

See also

Create 1:N (one-to-many) relationships