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Revamping the format of your classical reports

by Paul Ovigele

September 18, 2011

Paul Ovigele, Ovigele Consulting

Classical reports are the rigid two-dimensional reports, which cannot be sorted, filtered, subtotaled or easily downloaded. Basically, what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG for those who remember using the old IT acronym). This report format exists with many old (15 years ago or so) SAP reports, and at the time there were not many alternative formats. Nowadays SAP has an array of reporting formats including drilldown reports, ALV reports, Report Writer, etc.; and this is not to mention the variety of reports that exist in SAP outside the ERP environment such as Business Information (BI) reports, Business Objects Crystal reports and so on. If you do not have the luxury of having access to one of the newer reporting interfaces, you are stuck with the standard SAP reports which are not always very user-friendly. A very typical example of this is with the Accounts Payable and Receivable Aging reports, which in every client I have worked with do not meet the proper presentation requirements of the company. Some examples of the reports I am referring to are listed below:

table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" border="1"> tbody> tr> td width="399" valign="top">

Transaction

/td> td width="399" valign="top">

Description

/td> /tr> tr> td width="399" valign="top">

S_ALR_87012085

/td> td width="399" valign="top">

Vendor Payment History

/td> /tr> tr> td width="399" valign="top">

S_ALR_87012176

/td> td width="399" valign="top">

Customer Eval. with OI Sorted List

/td> /tr> tr> td width="399" valign="top">

S_ALR_87012178

/td> td width="399" valign="top">

Customer Open Item Analysis(Overdue)

/td> /tr> /tbody> /table>

In my book “100 Things You Should Know about Financial Accounting with SAP” I provide a tip which allows you to change the display of these reports to a better looking and more user-friendly ABAP List Viewer (ALV) format. It involves changing the SAP Configuration setting in the Control Panel of your computer to enable the “Accessibility Mode” option. This is a great tip (of course!), however I did receive from feedback about this tip particularly from Windows XP users. For some operating systems, you would need to select the “Classic Design” option before enabling the Accessibility mode. This means that when you log off from your computer and log back on, your SAP screen and buttons will have the old user interface that was used with versions 3.0 and before. This setting can always be reset after you have used the reports, however, it could be pretty painstaking if you need to access these reports frequently as you may need to log out and back into SAP for the changes to take effect.

There is another way that you can execute better looking reports without having to change the user interface to the old format. This is by activating the accessibility mode directly in your user profile parameters. To do this, go the top-menu System -> User Profile -> Own Data, or to transaction SU3 and click on the ‘Parameters’ tab. Then in the ‘Parameter ID’ column, enter “ACCESSIBILITY_MODE” and in the ‘Parameter Value’ column, enter “X”. Save your settings by clicking on the ‘Save’ button and you will be taken back to the SAP Menu screen. For the changes to take effect, you do not have to log out and back into the system, simply go to the report that you want to execute. Also, note that this setting is client dependent, you will have to make it in every client that you wish to use the revamped report format. When you execute the report after the change you will be able to perform all the standard ALV functions such as sort, subtotal, filter, excel download, and so on.

For more infrormation on how to optimize your SAP Financials landscape, I've put together my top tips in the book 100 Things You Should Know About Financial Accounting with SAP  which is published by SAP Press.

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