Variants and Favourites

(Source: SAP Training HQ, URL)

SAP provides a number of tricks to make it easier to navigate through the various menus and carry out the day to day activities. These tricks provide a 3 way advantage:

  • They reduce the time and effort required to get a job done in SAP
  • They reduce the chances of error while entering data in the selection screens
  • They reduce the dependency on a particular user by automating the jobs

Most businesses need to carry out repetitive activities on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis. For example, consider a business which needs to produce monthly sales reports for the senior management for each of the product lines. When a report is run by the end user, selection data needs to be entered on the selection screen of the report.

The end user may be required to enter around ten fields to generate the report. SAP makes it possible to enter this data every time with a single click. This would save a lot of time for the end user and also prevent the generation of the wrong report due to human error while entering data in the selection screen.

A number of such tricks are described below.

Using The Favourites Menu

Most commonly a single end user uses only a few transactions repeatedly on a daily basis which take up most of his time in a day. For example, an end user from the accounting department would be concerned with using the accounting transactions like FS00, F110 or F150. These transactions can be accessed by navigating to the desired point using the drill down menu. It can be observed that at times it may be necessary to drill down through multiple levels to reach a certain transaction. This is time consuming for the end user.

A simple way to reduce the effort is to use the favourites menu provided in SAP. The most commonly used transactions can be added to the favourites menu. These transactions are then readily available to the end user without the need to drill down through multiple levels.

Adding A Transaction To The Favourites Menu

STEP 1: Navigate to the transaction of your choice on the drill down menu.

STEP 2: Right click on the selected transaction to display the context menu and then select the ‘Add to Favourites’.

STEP 3: The success message ‘Node added to favourites list’ is displayed.

STEP 4: Now the transaction is available in the favourites menu and can be executed directly. There is no need to drill down to the transaction every time.

Use Of Transaction Codes

Transactions in SAP can also be executed by entering the transaction codes in the command box. The command box can even be used to select any of the last few executed transactions.

Use of the transaction codes saves the time and effort needed to locate and navigate to the required transactions, but it may not be possible to remember all the T-Codes as they run into thousands. However, it is easy to remember the T-Codes for the transactions used daily and their use can provide significant savings in time and effort of the end user.

Use Of Variants In Selection Screens

While executing most of the display or edit transactions and while running any kind of report, selection data needs to be provided to SAP on the selection screen. Many times the same report needs to be run repeatedly with the same selection parameters. This is where the use of variants saves the end user from entering the same selection data again and again every time the report needs to be run. Instead, the selection data is entered once and then stored as a variant. Next time whenever the same report needs to be executed with the same selection data, the variant is simply selected and it automatically populates all the selection fields.

Use of variants not only saves the time and effort for the end user but also ensures that the correct reports are executed and errors due to manual entry of the selection parameters can be avoided.

The SAP best business practices suggest that the selection data for frequently used reports should be saved as protected variants. Protected variants can be used by any user but can be modified only by the user who created the variant. This allows multiple users to execute the same report and ensures the consistency in the output of the report.

Variants also remove the dependency on a certain user for running a certain report. A complete knowledge about the report and the underlying module is required for entering the selection data for a report. Only a person from the HR department can understand the selection data for a personnel report. But if the selection data is saved as a variant, then anyone having basic knowledge of SAP can run the report.

Creating A Variant

STEP 1: Open the transaction for which the variant needs to be created and enter the selection data

STEP 2: Click the save button to save the selection data as a variant. Enter the name and the meaning for the variant to be saved. Click on save to save the variant

STEP 3: The success message is displayed

Executing The Report Using The Variant Saved Earlier

STEP 1: Execute the transaction for the report that needs to be run. Press Shift + F5 or click on the get variant button as shown below.

STEP 2: The variant selection screen is displayed. It will display all the variants that have been saved by different users for the current transaction. Select the variant that was saved earlier and click on the check button.

STEP 3: The various selection fields are automatically filled with the data stored in the variant earlier. This way there is no need to enter the various fields like the general ledger account number, the posting date, the company code, etc. every time report is to be run.

Only the variant needs to be selected once and whatever data is stored in the variant is automatically substituted in the report selection parameters. Now the report can be run normally by pressing the F8 key or clicking on the execute button.

Neil How
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Neil How

Neil ran his first SAP transformation programme in his early twenties. He spent the next 21 years working both client side and for various consultancies running numerous SAP programmes. After successfully completing over 15 full lifecycles he took a senior leadership/board position and his work moved onto creating the same success for others.

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