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Unicode Conversion Overview Guide

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Making your system fit for the global village

What is Unicode?

Unicode is one of these

Blogs and Articles

How to make your systems fit for global business

Imagine you are IT staff, maybe a system administrator, a programmer or a quality manager, and your management suddenly turns you into the company’s Unicode expert. What now? Where do you start?

Browse this page to find out about code pages, code page solutions prior to Unicode and the different ways to switch from those solutions to Unicode, technical requirements, basic steps of a standard Unicode Conversion procedure, additional information for planning the conversion of a system landscape, and more…

Note: You cannot execute a Unicode Conversion without the Unicode Conversion Guide!


General Information

What is Unicode?

Overview of Unicode as a computing industry standard in general and of Unicode implementation in SAP systems.

Why Unicode?

Why SAP goes for Unicode.

Basic Steps of a Unicode Conversion

High-level overview of a Unicode Conversion Project



First Preparation Steps

There are a couple of steps which can be performed long before you start to prepare the non-Unicode system in transaction SPUMG. This means a) better time management because the people who do the archiving or deletion of obsolete data can take over other conversion preparation jobs later on, and b) less workload for the scans and the export/import tools. Making your own ABAP programs able for running in a Unicode system is recommendable anyway, no matter when the system will be converted.

Advanced Preparation Steps                    (MDMP SYSTEMS ONLY)

In Single Code Page systems, transaction SPUMG provides only one scan for the database content: the Consistency Check. In MDMP systems there are additional scans which need to be run, and  a system vocabulary which needs to be maintained.

Final Preparation Steps

SPUMG Updates and Unicode Nametab Handling:

While the non-Unicode system is still iin productive mode, the alternate nametab is created to prepare the data dictionary for the Unicode Conversion. Then transaction SPUMG will perform final updates to the control tables and the system will be ready for shutdown.

Database Conversion

The tools ‘SAPinst’ and ‘R3load’ perform a system copy and convert character data to Unicode at the same time. This section also explains the flow of contol information between SPUMG and R3load and transaction SUMG.

Conversion Completion with SUMG                    (MDMP SYSTEMS ONLY)

Short summary of the steps in transaction SUMG



How to Set Up a Conversion Project

This section provides a short summary of the factors that influence a conversion project (system type, number of customer programs, installed languages, hardware resources, etc..).  You will also find a sample schedule for a typical Three-Tier System Landscape.

System Landscape Conversion

Switching a complex SAP System Landscape with several productive systems and possibly with non-SAP systems to Unicode requires solid planning.

Conversion Downtime

Overview of tools and methods for downtime reduction

Hardware Requirements in Unicode Systems

One of the most frequently asked questions: Do we need additional hardware in a Unicode System?

Unicode – Non-Unicode Interfaces

Communication in a mixed system landscape (SAP – non-SAP; Unicode – non-Unicode). Different interface technologies and best practices.

Combining Upgrade and Unicode Conversion

The CU&UC approach is especially interesting for customers who are about to upgrade their 4.6C systems to ERP 6.0.



Documentation and Troubleshooting

Unicode Conversion Guides, Combined Upgrade & Unicode Conversion Guides, other Unicode-related documentation

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      Author's profile photo Martina Gallego Anso
      Martina Gallego Anso


      The links in section SAP Teched Presentations don't work, giving "page not found".

      Could you please check them?

      Thank you in advance.

      Best regards,



      Author's profile photo David Metser
      David Metser

      If there are broken links- it’s a known issue due to our repository migration and we are trying to solve it.


      Author's profile photo Oxya OXYA
      Oxya OXYA



      Still some broken links...




      Author's profile photo SAP BASIS

      So did you figure out now?
      It would be great to have this page wiped if not.


      Even better if you guys could manage to repair the broken links.


      Thanks for your support and efforts