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Maintain Characteristics

In this activity, you define

characteristics . A number of frequently used characteristics are already predefined in the standard system.

You initially define these characteristics independently of any operating concern. They are also available in all clients.

Before defining a characteristic, look at the list of existing characteristics. You may find one there that already meets your requirements. This list contains all predefined characteristics and those you have already defined in your system. To see a list of those characteristics that are automatically contained in all operating concerns, choose Extras -> Fixed fields.

To create characteristics, switch to the "change" mode and then choose the Create icon:

Copying characteristics from a list of proposals

You can use characteristics that originally come from other applications as characteristics in Profitability Analysis by copying these fields from existing tables or structures. For example, you can choose any characteristics from the SAP standard tables for customers, materials, or sales documents. The table from which you copy a characteristic is referred to as that characteristic's "table of origin". The values for these characteristics are automatically derived from other characteristics in CO-PA (derivation steps are generated automatically) or transferred together with the transaction data from other applications (such as Sales and Distribution (SD)).

The system only offers you those fields that can still be copied from the table. This excludes fixed characteristics and characteristics that cannot be used in CO-PA for technical reasons. Equaly, you cannot copy a field if a characteristic already exists with the same data element and the same table of origin. This rule does not apply if the characteristic that already exists is used in an SAP operating concern template.

To avoid naming conflicts, you must rename any reference table fields to be copied as characteristics if their original name is not four or five characters long. The new name must begin with "WW" and should be only four or five characters long.

The reference tables contain fields whose characteristic values can only be interpreted in conjunction with other fields. One such example is the field Region (REGIO) in the customer master table KNA1, which can only be understood together with the field Country (LAND1) because country is located at the level above region. If such a field is copied as a characteristic, you also need to assign the higher-level characteristic during characteristics maintenance (see also the section "Characteristics" in the documentation for Profitability Analysis). Fixed characteristics (such as the controlling area) can also be used as higher-level characteristics.

From a technical point of view, a characteristic's dependency on other characteristics is determined via the key fields of the particular check table that is defined by the foreign key relationship for the field in the reference table. You can only assign a characteristic as superior if it shares the same domain as the key field in the check table for the subordinate characteristic. The client field is not taken into account. If such characteristics already exist in the system, the system proposes them as possible superior characteristics. If no characteristics meet this criteria, you need to define a characteristic.

Example: The field Region has the check table T005S assigned to it with the key fields Client (with the domain MANDT assigned to it), Country (domain LAND1) and Region (domain REGIO). Since the characteristic LAND1, like the key field Country, has the domain LAND1 assigned to it, it can be assigned to the characteristic Region as a higher-level characteristic.

Note: In the ABAP Dictionary, you can define for a table field a foreign key that references one of the check tables that deviates from the domain. In contrast to the transfer of a characteristic from a reference table, the value table entered in the domain is used as the check table when you perform definitions "With reference to existing values".

If the field that you wish to copy is semantically dependent on another field, the Dependencies (characteristic compound) area is automatically displayed in the details screen for characteristic maintenance. Moreover, a higher-level characteristic is also proposed, if applicable.

When you copy characteristics from reference tables, the technical attributes (such as length and data type) and the texts from the reference table are also copied along with the data element. The value range is specified either by the check table entered in the domain or by the fixed values in the domain.

If you want other texts to appear on screens or lists for the characteristic, you need to delete the reference to the original data element by choosing Edit -> Data element -> Delete assignment. Then you can enter texts on the detail screen. You can only delete the assignment to the data element if you have not yet saved the characteristic.

The system automatically proposes entries for the text table, for the text fields and for the long text fields. You should only change these in exceptional cases. If you do so, note that the key of the text table contains the same fields as the key of the check table.

Defining new characteristics

You can also manually define new characteristics that you only want to use in Profitability Analysis. Since these characteristics have no table of origin, their values are not automatically derived from other characteristics. You therefore need to define derivation steps for them. The name of new characteristics must begin with "WW" and consist of 4 or 5 characters. Depending on the desired attributes, you must choose one of the following variants:

To define this type of dependency, proceed as follows:

1. When creating a characteristic, use the Display compound icon to switch to dependency display. At the top of the display, you find the characteristic that has just been defined.
2. Use the Insert row icon to insert the same amount of empty rows as the amount of higher-level characteristics that you would like to assign. Then enter the higher-level characteristics into those rows.

Once you have saved the characteristic, you cannot make any changes to the dependencies.
If you would like to display a multi-level dependency, you need once more to assign a higher-level characteristic to another higher-level characteristic in the latter's characteristic value maintenance. However, when defining dependencies, you should avoid ending up with complicated, multi-leveled chains of dependencies.
When you save, the system displays a dialog box in which you can specify how the check table should be created. Normally you will want to to choose "Automatic", which means that the names of the check tables are numbered sequentially with the name "T25xx" (where xx = number). You can also enter these numbers manually in order to avoid naming conflicts when you transport the operating concern to another system. In that case, you need to make sure that the numbers issued in these systems are not synchronous. For more information on transporting these tables, see the section Transport objects.

General information

1. It is possible at any time to change the texts of new characteristics specific to CO-PA.
2. The technical attributes, the assigned data element, the dependency, and the check table can only be changed if you have not yet saved the characteristic.
3. You can delete any characteristic that is not used in any operating concern.
4. It is possible to define more than one characteristic using the same data element or texts (description, short text, title). However, you should not include both in the same operating concern. The following example shows how you can use characteristics with the same data element from different tables of origin:
The characteristic MATKL (Product range) is predefined. Its table of origin is MARA (material master). However, you want to derive the product range from the sales document. Therefore you need to define a characteristic from the table VBAP.
Choose "Copy table fields" and select the field MATKL from table VBAP. Since a characteristic with the same name already exists, rename the field to "WWMKL". Then choose "Edit -> Data element -> Delete assignment" to delete the assignment to the data element. On the detail screen, enter different texts so that you can distinguish this one from the predefined characteristic MATKL. When you activate the new characteristic, the system automatically creates a new data element (with the same technical attributes and same table of origin).
5. On the initial screen, note the repair functions:
Extras -> Field catalog -> Reorganize
Extras -> Master data -> Text read module
The function "Reorganize" synchronizes the CO-PA field catalog and the ABAP Dictonary. "Text read modules" generates the routines for checking characteristic values and reformats the texts for display. Both functions are unnecessary in the course of normal operations. They are merely designed to help you correct inconsistencies following modifications or transport errors.
6. Using special characteristics from SAP tables

Activities

1. Define the desired characteristics and then activate your entries.
2. Add these characteristics to your operating concerns using the IMG activity Maintain operating concern -> Change data structures.