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Tricks To Working Faster With SAP – Variants And Favourites

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.

1. Using The Favorites Menu

SAP arranges all the transactions in the form of drill down menus as shown below.

The Drill Down Menu For Accessing SAP Transactions
The Drill Down Menu For Accessing SAP Transactions

 

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 favorites menu provided in SAP. The most commonly used transactions can be added to the favorites menu. These transactions are then readily available to the end user without the need to drill down through multiple levels.

2. Adding A Transaction To The Favorites Menu

STEP 1: Navigate to the transaction of your choice as shown below.

Navigate To The Transaction To Be Entered To The Favorites Menu
Navigate To The Transaction To Be Entered To The Favorites Menu

 

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

Adding The Transaction To The Favorites Menu
Adding The Transaction To The Favorites Menu

 

STEP 4: The success message ‘Node added to favorites list’ is displayed as shown below.

Success Message Is Displayed
Success Message Is Displayed

 

STEP 5: Now the transaction is available in the favorites menu as shown below. Now the transaction can be executed directly from the favorites menu and there is no need to drill down to the transaction every time.

Transaction Added To Te Favorites Menu For Faster Access
Transaction Added To Te Favorites Menu For Faster Access

 

Use Of Transaction Codes

Transactions in SAP can also be executed by entering the transaction codes in the command box as shown below.

Transaction F110 Entered In The Command Box
Transaction F110 Entered In The Command Box

 

The command box can even be used to select any of the last few executed transactions as shown below.

List Of Last Few Executed Transactions
List Of 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 as shown below. The sample below uses the FBL3N report.

Enter The Data On The Selection Screen
Enter The Data On The Selection Screen

 

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

Enter The Name And Meaning Of The Variant
Enter The Name And Meaning Of The Variant

 

STEP 3: The success message is displayed as shown below.

Success Message Is Displayed
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. In our example, the report FBL3N will be run using the variant saved earlier. Press Shift + F5 or click on the get variant button as shown below.

Execute The Report
Execute The Report

 

STEP 2: The variant selection screen is displayed as shown below. 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 as shown below.

Variant Selection Screen

Variant Selection Screen

STEP 3: The various selection fields are automatically filled with the data stored in the variant earlier as shown below. 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.

Selection Parameters Are Entered Automatically From The Saved Variant
Selection Parameters Are Entered Automatically From The Saved Variant

 

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About the Author:

Pete has been working with SAP technologies for over 10 years. He started out as an ABAP consultant and then moved on to BW where he has worked many different clients covering a wide variety of industries. "I love introducing SAP technology (especially BI) to new clients and showing them how they can go from zero to hero within their business in super fast time". Contact me on twitter @PeterMoxon

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