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Is it a mouse’s world with SAP Business One?

I love my mouse.

I think that the old days, when people exclusively used their keyboard in order to communicate with their computer belong to the past.

The man who invented the mouse was a genius and made the life of all of us a lot easier.

However, every now and then I catch myself using shortcuts in order to perform a task.

(In fact I am using quite a number of them right now…) Not that I could not use my mouse for the task – it just takes a lot longer to do so.

In fact, I have had times (even in 2004) where a mouse was not only more complicated, but not at hand at all.

Either because there was none, or because my computer did not accept the fact that it physically was there.

I guess computers just ignore the real world at times…

One of these events gave me the idea to unplug my mouse and use SAP Business One without one.

  I imagine that there are realistic business scenarios where a mouse is not desired or too slow.

Imagine my surprise when I could not go much beyond the menu screen.

If i have not totally misused the system, it is virtually impossible to control the menu via shortcuts only.

Whereas any other major application I know of can be controlled mouseless, SAP Business One can not!

I don’t know about you, but I consider this a major flaw in a great application.

I hope this gets fixed soon…

Sorry, not invoices today, we have no mouse 😉

Lutz Morrien

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  • I agree that it is essential to have good keyboard support in an application.  However I don’t think SAP Business One is quite as bad as you make out for keyboard support.  There are certainly a quite a few things that you can’t do with the keyboard, but most tasks (including menu navigation) can be easily achieved.  For example the first thing I thought of was raising a new sales order – this was easily achieved with the keyboard:John.

    • Hi John,
      thank you for your response. I have just checked your comment and will change the above article. It is possible to use shortcuts in a lot of cases, although they sometimes seem a bit clumsy. I guess I should have taken one of the trainings with SAP and I would have (maybe) known more. I will try turning this article into a collection of most important shortcuts, I guess.

      You made a good point.
      Lutz Morrien

      • It wasn’t a training course that taught me the shortcuts – just years of experience preferring keyboard over mouse.

        I have just had a quick look at the standard help file.  It actually lists quite a few shortcut keys in the section:

        Getting Started / Using Business One / Shortcuts in SAP Business One

        Maybe you could use that as a starting point for your list.


  • Lutz,
    although John is right, I still think that you made a very good point and I am a bit suprised by the fact that there is not much response to this topic. Maybe most participants in the SDN are used only working with the mouse.

    But in a real environment with users it can be a problem using the mouse especially when entering lots of data. Imagine somebody at the factory entering goods receipts all day. Or somebody in the accounting department entering purchasing invoices all day. Or, as in the example from John, somebody entering sales orders all day which is the case in the project I am currently working.

    I know other ERP software suppliers use as a major selling argument the fact that all functionality in their software can both be used WITH and WITHOUT mouse. I would say that in the case of SBO you can do a lot without mouse, but it is not possible to work entirely without the mouse.

    But first someting else that is related to this: in general in any PC software ENTER means that you are finshed with the current field and you would like to proceed to the next. That is the reason why the ENTER key has such a prominent place on your keyboard. And it is even placed a second time on your keyboard next to the numeric keypad where you enter numbers like material or customer numbers. However, this is of no use in SBO since you will have to use the TAB key. And that would be no big drama if the obligatory usage of the TAB-key would be consistent.

    But I think that the usage of TAB and ENTER in SBO is very, very confusing. In the same transaction a search-field sometimes requires TAB and sometimes requires ENTER depending on whether you are in the create-mode or search-mode. And, even worse, sometimes you need to use on the same field CTRL-TAB in the case that you do not want to search (you already KNOW the material or customer number). And the worst case is when you want to find a customer or material based on the description/name. In that case you can not skip the ‘number’ search-field without using the mouse.
    And of course it is extremly difficult for users working at the same time with other software that when they hit by mistake the ENTER-button SBO is  asking ‘Do you want to SAVE the document?’.

    So working in SBO without mouse is to my opinion not easy because of the complexity around TAB, ENTER, CTRL-TAB and the missing key-stroke for skipping a seach-field.

    Greetings, Egbert

  • SAP should have more keyboard shortcuts for data entry purposes. As someone who has had to spend several hours over several days entering data into SAP, I know that the apparent dependence on the mouse to navigate through SAP is a pretty bad experience for the user. Using the “VA01” create sales docuement, to go from the header to the shipping information then to the item overview and possibly back through all of that information again with lots of doubleclicking neede is just an awful experience. I often end the day with my right hand and arm in pain from the constant use of the mouse. I am currently trying to figure out more keyboard shortcuts – or I might have to get a hand brace and a new trackball mouse just to cope.