Customize Data-Entry Screens with Transaction Variants

  • by Nathan Genez, Consultant, Serio Consulting
  • September 15, 2003
The author was trying to debug a particular process and had to execute CJ88 - Actual Settlement: Project about 200 times over the course of a week. Every time he executed the transaction, he had to select the Detail List indicator at the bottom of the screen to view the details of the resulting settlement. He thought he would be required to set this indicator manually forever, but then he found out about transaction variants. Transaction variants can be used to preassign values to often-used fields, and even to hide unnecessary fields or entire screens.

When you are working in R/3, what screen do you access most often? I’ll bet it’s one that you use several times per day, most every day of the week. I’ll also bet that you would like to change something about that screen. Maybe you would like to default a value for a particular field or make the field “display only.” If you are in charge of the support of the FI/CO modules, you might have new users who are sometimes confused by certain fields. Maybe you would like to suppress those fields so that they are never seen.

For me, the despised transaction was CJ88 - Actual Settlement: Project. I was trying to debug a particular process and had to execute CJ88 about 200 times over the course of a week. Every time I executed the transaction, I had to select the Detail List indicator at the bottom of the screen to view the details of the resulting settlement. After I settled about 25 projects in the course of an hour, selecting the indicator began to annoy me, and I wanted to figure out how to default the value as “active” so that I didn’t have to keep selecting it manually. I tried using a parameter ID, but this particular indicator didn’t have one. I thought I would be required to set this indicator manually forever, until I found out about transaction variants.

Transaction variants can help solve some of these usability problems by preassigning values to often-used fields and hiding unnecessary fields and even entire screens. They can also be used to disallow user maintenance of a field by making it “display only.”

Transaction variants are useful, because a given transaction may not need all the screens and fields that are in the standard R/3 system. Every SAP customer is different and uses the system in different ways. Therefore, what you need from the standard screens might be different from what SAP intended. Using transaction variants, you can tailor the screens to contain just the fields and screens that are applicable to your unique business process.

Nathan Genez

Nathan Genez is an SAP FI/CO- and SAP BW-certified consultant who has worked with SAP ERP since 1996, with an emphasis on the capital accounting modules: PS, IM, and FI-AA. A former platinum consultant with SAP America, Inc., he has worked with SAP BW since release 1.2B. He is currently a managing partner at Serio Consulting in Houston, Texas.

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