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Author's profile photo Wolfgang Woehrle

Editing Data Elements in a Form-Based Way

Since NW7.5 SP00, data elements are native integrated in a form-based editor in ABAP Development Tools (ADT). This means, you can now create and edit data elements directly in ADT without opening transaction SE11 in the classic SAP GUI.

How Does the New Editor Look Like?

The data element editor displays all relevant information at a glance and is divided into the following three sections:

  1. Data Type Information for defining the type of the data element based on a predefined type, domain, and so on
  2. Field Labels for defining the relevant UI text and its maximum lengths
  3. Additional Properties for adding search helps or defining the reading direction of UI text and so on


         Fig. 1: Example of a data element that is opened in the form-based editor

Which Functionalities Does It Provide?

Within the three sections you can arrange your data element by combining the provided fields and elements. Play with the values from the dropdown listboxes and see what happens. Then, other fields might be no more selectable others become available. So, the editor automatically adopts the dependencies among the currently selected values.

From the toolbar, you can perform the following actions on a data element:

    1. Duplicating it to create the exact same object in a selected ABAP package
    2. Opening it in the integrated SAP GUI or in another ABAP project
    3. Sharing an ADT link with your colleagues to open it directly in another ABAP in Eclipse client
    4. Navigating to the context-relevant help documentation

What Are The Advantages of The New Editor?

The form-based editor makes your daily work as follows easier:

  • Usability: You don´t need to switch between several tabs anymore. ADT serves you all information smoothly in one view.
  • Content Assist: You forgot, for example, the name of the search help that you want to add? No problem. In the corresponding input fields, choose Ctrl + Space and the content assist functionality enables you to search for it. Just start typing. You can also use wildcards here.
  • Element Info Popup: As it were not enough, you can get further information from the element info popup. The corresponding one is automatically opened when you select a proposed value from the content assist.
    Fig 2: Example of an element info popup providing information about a parameter

How to Create and Edit Data Elements?

The creation is also based on a creation wizard as you are used to from ABAP classes, interfaces, programs, and so on.


Fig 3: Example of a creation wizard

To create a new data element, proceed as follows:

  1. Choose File > New > Other from the menu bar.
  2. In the New ABAP Repository Object dialog, enter Data Element and double-click the finding.
  3. Enter the Name of your object and its Description.
  4. Choose Next to handle the transport management and/or Finish to start the creation.
    Result: The new data element is created in the back-end, displayed in the Project Browser tree, as well as opened in the form-based editor. The Domain category is set by default.
    The displayed content in the sections of the form-based editor depends on your selection. So, if you choose a specific property, the editor will look different and automatically adopts to the new conditions.

To edit a data element, proceed as follows:

  1. In the Data Type information section, choose the Category from the dropdown listbox.
    According to your selection, the subsequent values are displayed.
    NOTE: In all input fields, the content assist functionality is supported. Choose Ctrl + space to display and select the existing values.
  2. In the Field label section, enter the respective texts you want to display on your UI.
  3. [Optional:] Choose the spin button to redefine the field length.
  4. In the Additional Properties section, you can, for example, optionally:
      1. Enter an existing or create a new search help to reference or create a new search help object.
      2. Enter an existing or create a new Parameter ID to associate a data element with an SPA/GPA parameter..
      3. Enter a Component Name to structure the reference of components or table fields to the entered data element.
      4. Select the Change Document Logging checkbox to log changes to fields in database tables defined with reference to this data element.
      5. Select the Input History checkbox to activate or deactivate the SAP GUI history for dynpro fields defined with direct or indirect reference to the data element.
      6. Define the direction of UI text.

For detailed information, enjoy taking a look on the help documentation:

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      Author's profile photo Patric Mansfeld
      Patric Mansfeld

      Will you add some kind of mass changing for DDIC-Elements?
      I am missing this funcitonality in bigger development projects

      Author's profile photo Thomas Fiedler
      Thomas Fiedler


      what do you mean with mass changing?

      Can you make an example please.





      Author's profile photo Chaouki Akir
      Chaouki Akir

      Can, the original language of a data element, be changed with ADT ?


      Author's profile photo Thomas Fiedler
      Thomas Fiedler


      changing the master language is currently not supported in Eclipse.

      You have to use the GUI based Editor.




      Author's profile photo Praveen Kumar Chitturi
      Praveen Kumar Chitturi


      How do we know if I need to use predefined type instead of domain using this native form based data element editor what should enter? In SAP GUI, it's easier to do F4 in the predefined type editor. I saw the help document in Eclipse but it's not detailed to understand.

      For predefined type CHAR, should we need to enter as ABAP.CHAR (or) only as CHAR ?


      Predefined datatype F4 in SAP GUI



      Insufficient help document in Eclipse for Data element predefined type selection



      Praveen Chitturi

      Author's profile photo Uenal Akkaya
      Uenal Akkaya

      Hi Praveen Chitturi,

      In the ADT Data Element editor you can use the Content Assist (Ctrl+Space) in for the Data type field indicated by a light bulb on the top left corner of the input field:


      Data Element editor with predefined type proposals


      In the popup you see the availably data types.

      So, to answer your question, it should be CHAR.




      Author's profile photo Praveen Kumar Chitturi
      Praveen Kumar Chitturi

      Hi Uenal,

      I missed to identify the category can be changed from "domain" to "Predefined type" . Overlooked that dropdown.



      Author's profile photo Michaela Böll
      Michaela Böll

      How could I find the value range of a domain in this form?
      Or how can I navigate to it at all with ADT?
      Even when I open a sap gui with ADT, the SE11 jumps back to this form editor and prevents me from navigating to the 'Dictionary: Display Domain'.

      Author's profile photo Uenal Akkaya
      Uenal Akkaya



      I will try to answer your questions.


      How could I find the value range of a domain in this form?

      In the DTEL editor if you have selected a domain as category with specified type, you can call the Element Info in the text field with the domain name by pressing F2 or via context menu:


      Or how can I navigate to it at all with ADT?

      In Project Explorer you can open context menu on your DTEL and select Open With -> SAP GUI. Or you can just select from main menu: Navigate -> Open SAP GUI for Object.


      Even when I open a sap gui with ADT, the SE11 jumps back to this form editor and prevents me from navigating to the 'Dictionary: Display Domain'.

      In Main Menu you can open SAP GUI via Navigate -> Open SAP GUI. Make sure you unselect the option "Navigate to editor in Eclipse for supported development objects".