Routine list operations: SAP vs Spreadsheet

Dmitry Kaglik

November 4, 2013

SAP

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If you ask your business user what is the most powerful reporting tool, SAP or Excel spreadsheet, I can predict the answer. Most business users think that Excel is the most powerful tool to interrogate the data.

I will object. SAP has a very powerful reporting tool called ABAP List Viewer, or ALV for short.

Most of the users face ALV when they get reports from SAP – it is the common tool used in many SAP reporting programs to represent lists of data. This tool, of course, has an option to extract results into files. But what will most of the users do when they get data in the spreadsheet?

The most common business user will apply filtering and grouping functions in Excel, then sort the data in a certain order, and then most likely save or print out the report.

Stop! Why do this in Excel then? ALV has built-in tools for sorting, filtering and grouping data.

For example, let’s look at the report with a list of GL account line items, transaction FBL3N.

FBL3N flat list
FBL3N flat list

Say you want to filter out the details of Cost Centre 5_1110, then group data per Cost Centre and period, and show only totals.

Start with filtering. Click the header of the Cost Centre column. There is a button with a funnel on the panel – click it and then set up the filter to exclude value 5_1110.

FBL3N filter criteria
FBL3N filter criteria

 

Now click on the Document Date column header and do subtotals with the corresponding button on the panel. You may need to do a grand total first, if there is no total yet.

FBL3N subtotalled list
FBL3N subtotalled list

Now go to the menu and select item Settings – Summation level – Define breakdown. This will help you to remove all individual lines in the report.

FBL3N define breakdown
FBL3N define breakdown

After this step, you only have subtotals in the list, no individual items.

FBL3N subtotals list
FBL3N subtotals list

Is it the list you wanted? Now you can print it, or extract the output to spreadsheet for saving.

If you repetitively do the same operation with the list, why not save the layout using the Save Layout button on the panel? While saving, you can also keep filter and subtotals criteria.

FBL3N save layout
FBL3N save layout

Next time simply specify the pre-saved layout on the selection screen of the report.

Of course, the example in this article is based on the functions of transaction code FBL3N. But I assure you that most ALV-based lists have similar functionality. You just need to find the option to customize the output layout.

Once you have done the layout configuration, train the business users! Make SAP do all the routine for the business user! They have an option to spend their time differently now, for example reading for more informative useful articles on SAP Expert!

 

PS. For more information about what you can do with ALV please refer to training course AC280.

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