Printing with SAP S/4HANA output management
When looking at output management in SAP S/4HANA it is important to distinguish the different editions. You find more details in my other blog: Output Management in SAP S/4HANA.
For printing, each edition of SAP S/4HANA has specific technical boundaries. Hence the printing solution is as follows:
|SAP S/4HANA on-premise||Spool system|
|SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition||Spool system|
|SAP S/4HANA Cloud, essentials edition||Print Queues and print client|
Let’s take a deeper look into the different editions:
SAP S/4HANA on-premise & SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition
In these editions, all existing output frameworks and/or output options known from the business suite are still available and can be used in the same way. Currently there are also no plans to deprecate any functionality (e.g. NAST, SAPscript, Smart Forms). So basically there are no special actions required when migrating to SAP S/4HANA or starting a green field implementation.
Based on this
- Customers can use the existing device type(s).
- SAP guarantees that the spools files created will work with SAP S/4HANA.
With SAP S/4HANA, SAP has introduced a new output solution, the SAP S/4HANA output control. This framework provides a cloud enabled output management including some new features like Email Templates, sending attachments, native Fiori integration and support of fragments for output forms with a gateway interface.
However, this new output solution is optional and customers can decide on application level if they want to use it or not.
The focus of SAP S/4HANA output control is cloud-driven and its scope is based on the communication to business receivers. Compared to other generic frameworks like NAST or PPF there can be certain functionality which is not available because it’s not in the scope of the SAP S/4HANA output control. Hence customers should check if their needed functionality is covered before switching to this new output solution.
Also not all business applications offer the usage of S/4HANA output control. You find the supported applications in SAP note 3097507.
When S/4HANA output control is used
- The system will write the print data (PS, PCL or PDF) into the spool, not the metadata.
- When using release 2020 or lower, customers can only use the device types PDF1 and PDFUC
- From release 2021 onwards more device types are supported.
See SAP Help Portal: Printing in SAP S/4HANA Output Control
|Output Solution||Spool support||Device Type Support||Consequences / Limitations|
|Existing solutions from ERP/Business Suite (e.g. NAST, PPF)||Yes||Full support as in ERP/Business Suite||SAP guarantees that the spools files created will work with SAP S/4HANA|
|SAP S/4HANA output control||Limited||
Limited to PDF1 and PDFUC in lower releases.
More device types from release 2021 onwards.
All device types requiring the metadata of the printout, might not work.
No preview possible when output format is not PDF.
Output format PDF is only supported by specific printers.
Frontend printing is not possible.
SAP S/4HANA Cloud, essentials edition
In the essentials edition the S/4HANA output control is the only available solution for output. Printing is done either online from the web browser or in the background via a print queue and a print client (default: SAP Cloud Print Manager, custom print clients possible).
Print Queues and SAP Cloud Print Manager (CPM)
In SAP S/4HANA Cloud, essentials edition, background (server side) printing from applications is done via print queues. When an application creates print output, it creates a print queue Item which resides in a print queue. The content of a print queue Item is typically a PDF file, a PCL5 or PostScript file.
For managing print queues and print queue items, there is a key user Fiori app “Maintain Print Queues”:
This app allows to create print queues, view print queue items in print queues, and monitor the print status of print queue items.
There is always a print queue named DEFAULT, which can receive print queue items. It acts as a dummy queue, hence physical printing from DEFAULT is not possible. Print queue items will also be removed automatically after a week. Hence customers needs to create their own print queues for printing.
When creating a print queue, the key user must choose a print queue format. The following formats are available:
|Datamax (label printer)|
|Intermec (label printer)|
|Toshiba (label printer)|
|Zebra (label printer)|
When an application creates output for a print queue, it uses the print queue format to determine which type of print data must be created for the print queue item.
Physical printing of documents from a print queue is done by installing and configuring a print client. By default, SAP delivers a Windows software named “SAP Cloud Print Manager” (CPM):
CPM fetches print data contained in print queue items by establishing an HTTPS connection via the internet to the SAP system. A print queue must be mapped to a locally installed CPM in order to print items from that queue. One CPM instance can fetch several print queues at the same time.
In CPM, the customer maps a print queue to a local Windows printer definition. Thus, a print queue is mapped to a local Windows printer in the customer’s network. CPM eventually prints documents via the Windows Print API.
In case the print queue format is PDF, CPM transforms a received PDF file to a Windows Print Job using the Windows Printer Driver. Thus, documents from PDF queues can be printed on any Windows-supported printer.
For other formats (such as PCL5, PostScript), the print data file received from the SAP system backend is “passed-through” to the physical printer via the Windows print queue. The Windows printer driver is not used in this case. For proper printout, the printer must support the printer language chosen for the print queue, e.g. a print document from a PCL5 print queue can only print correctly on a printer that supports PCL5 printer language.
SAP CPM not only allows to map a print queue to a Windows Printer, but it also allows to save print data to a local directory.
SAP note 3097507