The User Interface: Main Screen Elements of SAP GUI SAP BASIS

This section discusses the main features of the SAP GUI Windows interface and all the elements found in this user environment. The windows environment of the SAP GUI includes most of the elements of popular Microsoft Windows applications, following the same style guides and ergonomic design methods. Depending on the nature and functionality of the particular SAP Solution application screen where the user is doing its tasks, the SAP GUI screens will contain popular check boxes, radio buttons, dialog boxes, icons, tabstrips, pushbuttons, menu items, and so forth. After the introduction of the EnjoySAP release and interface (R/3 4.6 and up), SAP has concentrated on improving the user interface, making it easier, more flexible, and more adaptable to job roles. SAP GUI includes a better-looking interface, additional drag-and-drop capabilities, Internet browser features, favorites, and integration with the Web and other applications from the SAP GUI. The standard menu became an easy-to-use hierarchical tree menu structure.

The SAP standard windows elements behave exactly the same as any other standard windows applications concerning scroll bars, minimizing a screen, moving windows, setting the active window, and so on. Therefore, reference to standard functions of the windows environment is not included in the following sections.

A SAP R/3 window from the human resources module which includes most typical elements, including radio buttons, tabstrips, a navigation frame, possible entries input fields, and so on.

Typical SAP window from the HR module

Typical SAP window from the HR module

The menu bar contains the menu items corresponding to the particular SAP application you are working on. In Figure, the application belongs to the human resources modules (Display HR Master Data). In this application, the menu bar contains eight options: HR Master Data, Edit, Goto, Extras, Utilities, Settings, System, and Help. The whole SAP R/3 system includes virtually hundreds of different menu items, depending on the task. There are two menu options that are always present in every SAP window: the System and the Help menus. The System menu contains groups of functions and utilities that are available to users at all times, including working with session, looking at print requests, batch jobs, and so on. The Help menu contains all the available options for the different types and methods of obtaining online help in the system.

The following sections describe in detail all the available functions and utilities of these standard menus. The next SAP GUI windows element is the standard toolbar, present in every application. It's a collection of icons that perform the most common functions available in the R/3 system. From left to right you find Enter, the command field, Save, Back, Exit, Cancel, Print, Find, Find Next, First Page, Previous Page, Next Page, Last Page, Create New Session, Generate Shortcut, Help, and Customizing of Local Layout. Within the standard toolbar, you normally find the command field, which is very important for moving around the system with transactions. The command field can be hidden or shown at will. The command field also behaves like a list box or history list, remembering the last commands (transactions) performed. The icons in the SAP GUI windows support the Focus property of many windows applications. This means that if you place the cursor over an icon and wait for a moment, the system will show the function or definition of the icon.

SAP GUI standard toolbar

SAP GUI standard toolbar

The next part of the screen is the application toolbar, which normally contains icons or buttons most frequently used in that task or transaction and from which options may be selected from the specific application menu bar. This design makes it more efficient for end users; however, some screens do not include application toolbars.

Example of application toolbar

Example of application toolbar

The status bar is the bottom line of the screen and usually shows informational or error messages to the users . The status bar also shows other useful information, such as system data like the ID (E47), the session number (1), the client (800), the hostname of the application server (offsrv06), or the writing mode (INS, insert). This information is further extended using the down arrow on the system data, so that users can also see the transaction code, user name, program, and response time .

Status bar

Status bar

Additional info from status bar

Additional info from status bar

Between the application toolbar and the status bar users find the normal working area for particular applications. This working area is the one intended for user input and output and can be made of frames, icons, tabstrips, fields, pushbuttons, radio buttons, and so forth. Now let's have a closer look at the most common options.

The Standard Toolbar

The standard toolbar is made of a collection of icons that perform the most common functions in every SAP application. Table shows the available icons together with a description of the functions they perform.

Available Icons on the Standard Toolbar

Available Icons on the Standard Toolbar
These functions are also normally available from the menu bar or from the function keys. Some functions, such as those performed by the scrolling icons, can be achieved by using standard windows functions—moving the scroll bars or pressing the PageUp and PageDown keys on a standard PC keyboard. The standard toolbar also contains a very important field, the command field, where users can directly enter transaction codes to move directly to other applications or choose a transaction from a history list from the available list entries arrow in the field.

The Screen Layout Menu

The Layout menu is used for customizing the display options of the SAP GUI windows, and it has a group of utilities that mainly affect the appearance and behavior of these windows, such as colors, fonts, graphic appearance, as well as other utilities for working with local sessions such as cut and paste, graphics, and so on.

Customizing of Local Layout menu

Customizing of Local Layout menu

If you are an experienced Windows user, you will find that most tasks are basically the same as those available with the standard functions of the Windows environment. Options to configure the layout and behavior of the SAP windows elements allow you to

  • Change the text fonts, SAP GUI theme, size, sounds, and the colors of the SAP windows.
  • Use the clipboard to transfer information from the SAP GUI window to other windows applications.
  • Set the default size of the SAP GUI window.
  • Change the behavior of the cursor positioning in fields and set the automatic tabbing function when the input field is complete.
  • Create SAP GUI shortcuts on the desktop.
  • Configure history and intemationalization settings.
  • Run SAP GUI traces.
  • Change the behavior of messages, for instance, toggling between messages in the status bar or dialog boxes.

Many of these tasks are performed with additional functions inside the Options or the New Visual Design menu. For the Options menu, the system displays an additional screen known as the Options folder, from which most of the tasks previously introduced are performed. Colors and fonts are now found within the New Visual Design screen.
Options window within Customizing of Local Layout menu

Options window within Customizing of Local Layout menu

New Visual Design screen

New Visual Design screen

Changing the Fonts of the Text Elements

To change the font's appearance and size of the text elements within the SAP GUI, you can use the Fonts scrollbar within the SAP GUI settings screen, which is accessed by selecting the New Visual Design option. The allowed range of font size goes from 80 to 120% of standard size, but it won't take effect until you open a new session.

Changing the Colors of the SAP GUI Windows

Since latest releases of SAP GUI, you can customize some of the colors of the SAP GUI window, basically by choosing among the predefined color schemes or by defining your own colors. To access the color customizing options, select New Visual Design from the Customizing of Local Layout menu, and then click on the Color Settings tabstrips.

Customizing of color settings

Customizing of color settings

From this window you have the following options:

  • Select a standard color scheme; standard color schemes guarantee a correct readability of SAP GUI screens.
  • Choose foreground or background luminosity using the provided bar. You can additionally double-click the shaded bar on the top right to select additional colors (the Color Picker window). Notice the Link option between foreground and background colors, which automatically ensures an optimal combination of both.
  • Additionally, there is a time setting option, which can be activated to make a gradual color shift during the day.


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