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User-defined data types can be stored for all programs in the ABAP Dictionary. This central definition of types that are used more than once in the ABAP Dictionary allows them to be changed centrally. The active ABAP Dictionary ensures that such changes are made at all the relevant locations. User-defined types provide the same functionality as the local types that can be defined in ABAP programs with TYPES (see Data Types and Data Objects ).


The types defined globally in the ABAP Dictionary can be accessed in ABAP programs with TYPE. You can also refer to the types defined in the ABAP Dictionary when defining the type of a function module interface. In the following figure, you can see an example of a type definition, taken from the ABAP Dictionary.

If you modify a type definition in the ABAP Dictionary, the system adjusts all ABAP programs connected with this type to this change when they are recreated. If you change a type, all the objects (for example, types or tables) that use this type are determined at activation. The system adjusts automatically the objects that are found to the change.


All types have a runtime object . This runtime object is generated the first time the type is activated and is adjusted to the current type definition at each further activation.

You can enter semantic information for a type in the type definition in the ABAP Dictionary. This includes for example text that is displayed for the F1 help, text for use in screens, search helps, and technical documentation.

There are three different type categories:

  • Data elements (elementary types and reference types).
  • Structures (structured types):

    A structure consists of components that also have a type, that is they refer to a type.

  • Table types :

    A table type describes the structure and functional attributes of an internal table. A special case is the ranges table types .

All the types lie in a common namespace. For example, no structure or table type having the same name can be created for a data element.


The types defined locally in a program override the global types from the ABAP Dictionary having the same name.