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Author's profile photo Shafiq Rehman

Finding PERNR using hotkeys in PA20 or PA30 etc.

Some of us already know it, some of us have forgotten it, some of us never knew about it, some of us do not know all about it. This blog is for ‘some of us’.

This method is applicable not just on HCM transactions like PA20/PA30 it is applicable in all other SAP Modules wherever you see a popup window for search help. Like in Sales and Distribution transactions VA03 to locate a sales order etc.

Sometimes (well most of the times) when you have to look up an employee’s data in PA20, you don’t have the Personnel Number available for that employee and you have to click on the dropdown to fill the search criteria like last name, first name, SSN etc. Most people know that if they know the last name then they can enter =n.lastname in the PERNR field and find the employee from the short list of people with matching last name.  What if you have the SSN to lookup the employee or you have SAP User ID to look up the employee number?

I had to find an employee’s record in PA20 by his SSN, I forgot how to do that, I had to turn to internet to look for answers. I wanted to share my findings with the community because many people in SAP HR world do not like opening the dropdown window to search for the employee they want to search.

After the ‘=’ sign, we give the key of the tab from search help that we are interested in. Here is a snapshot of keys and their relative tabs:

PA20 Pop-up Screen.jpg

That’s why we do =n.Rehman to pull employees with last name Rehman. If you know the employee’s first name (e.g. Shafiq) and want to type that in then you can type it as =n.Rehman.Shafiq

Syntax of Hotkeys

=<Tab Key>.<First Field Value>.<Second Field Value>….<Last Field Value>

If you want to skip any field then simply leave it blank but add a ‘.’, To skip it, like for example to search on first name the command will be =n..shafiq

Example: Search PERNR by SSN  =c..123456789

Example: Search PERNR by SAP User ID = u..SREHMAN

There are various options available that you can explore according to your needs:

PA20 Pop-up Screen BASIC.jpg

Above screenshot still does not show all the options available. Type in a equal sign ‘=’ (without quotes) in the PERNR field and then click on the drop down and click on the list icon, you will see all options available:

PA20 Pop-up Screen EXTENDED.jpg

What if you do not see the hotkeys on the tabs?

If you do not see the hotkeys on the tabs and your tab appears like one below:

PA20 Pop-up Screen No Hotkeys.jpg

Then probably you are missing a parameter in your profile named F4METHOD, to add it simple go to Menu System->User Profile->Own data:

Menu System-User_Profile-Own_Data.jpg

And click on Parameters tab, and add the parameter F4METHOD with value NoActiveX, like in screenshot below:

Parameter F4METHOD.jpg

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      Author's profile photo Stephen Burr
      Stephen Burr

      Thanks Shafiq ... I knew and used some of the hot keys but never knew where they "n." part came from!  Now I do.



      P.s. Did you repeat your last screenshot instead of putting a different one?

      Author's profile photo Shafiq Rehman
      Shafiq Rehman
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks Stephen, I have corrected last screenshot.

      Author's profile photo Sergio Ferrari
      Sergio Ferrari

      Hi Shafiq,

        about the Search Helps call via

        =<Tab Key>.<First Field Value>.<Second Field Value>….<Last Field Value>

        I can confirm it is available since SAP R/2 (yes, before ECC and before R/3).

        I can remember teaching it to customers already in 1990 when SAPGui was not yet born and everybody worked via these kind of terminals

      Author's profile photo Shafiq Rehman
      Shafiq Rehman
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Sergio, This is good information to know that it is available for more than 20 years, thanks for sharing this information. That image of termial you posted made me feel for the people who used to work on them, but 20 years from now next generation people will feel same pitty on us who are working on modern PCs.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Thanks for very useful article. I knew hot key '= n' but different not. Now I know.



      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Very useful. Thanks.

      Author's profile photo Jimson Michael
      Jimson Michael

      Thanks Shafiq....Very good info.........especially the F4 Method Parameter...


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      thanks Shafiq,  strange to realize that I have used =n.<name> for many years but never noticed that there were other options available.

      thank you for letting me know about this.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Thanks for this great article Shafiq.

      There is one search option which does not have a letter assigned to it "person IDs" Infotype 0709, it is in the full list, but doesnt have a short key assigned to it. Do you know if there  is one we can use, as our customers are clamouring for it!

      Thanks a lot,


      Author's profile photo Shafiq Rehman
      Shafiq Rehman
      Blog Post Author

      There are multiple ways you can follow to achieve what your customer wants, all will need ABAP help. SAP has not assigned a hotkey to this tab and 2 other tabs. I am not in favor of one or another approach I leave it upto you.

      They are all sub search helps in search help PREM, you can see that in SE11.

      Technically, Look at table DD30L, enter PREMP in column SHLPNAME. now look at column HOTKEY, it is blank you need to add a character here somehow which is not used already. I have not done that before but it will need acces key to edit a search help in se11. Risky.

      Or, you can research the exit HRMC_PREM_EXIT_A.

      Or, you can create a new search help ZPREM0 by copying PREMP. (SAP Recommends you use a number 0,1,2,3 etc as last character). Follow this link for more research on how to maintain a search help.

      One must be a good experienced ABAPer to do above.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Very useful information.. Thanks

      Author's profile photo Gaurang Gujar
      Gaurang Gujar

      Thanks a Lot Very useful Blog