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Author's profile photo Markus Berg

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:

Edition Printing solution
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

 

Summary

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:

PDF
Datamax (label printer)
PCL5
Intermec (label printer)
PostScript
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.

 

Reference:

SAP note 3097507

Blog Output Management in SAP S/4HANA

Blog Cloud Print Manager for Pull Integration – Installation and Configuration

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      11 Comments
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      Author's profile photo Jelena Perfiljeva
      Jelena Perfiljeva

      Currently there are also no plans to deprecate any functionality (e.g. NAST, SAPscript, Smart Forms).

      Hm, that's not what I've heard... Too lazy to search for a link but the last thing I've read on this (somewhere on SCN) was that SAPScript will be no longer supported. Smart Forms - we'll still be able to use the existing ones but no new ones can be created. (Essentially "read-only".)

      This seems like a solid strategy as SAPScript needed to die long time ago.

      Author's profile photo wan niks
      wan niks

      Hi Ma'am,

      Here we are stuck. While print the maintenance order in standard WEB UI (FIORI) we get this document layout also,so question is why this is present and if its present then why it don't fetch documents that are upload.

       

      Author's profile photo Jelena Perfiljeva
      Jelena Perfiljeva

      Sorry, I don't understand what does this have to do with my 3-year-old comment... If you have a question then just post a new question (click on your avatar in the top right and pick "Ask a Question"). ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      Author's profile photo Robert Macdonald
      Robert Macdonald

      Thanks very much, this blog is a very useful summary.

       

      Is it really the case that the S/4HANA output management can only spool to PDF1 and PDFUC printers?  Certainly that is my experience as well as your statement in the blog - but doesn't that mean you basically can't print to a normal printer?  How do you actually make a paper print-out from S/4HANA output management without some extra software or steps to print the PDFs?

       

      We have found a counter example to the statement "However, this new framework is optional and customers can decide on application level if they want to use it or not."

       

      In the config under SPRO>Cross-application Components>Output Control>Manage Application Object Type Activation you cannot use Application Object Type PURCHASE_ORDER in 1709 OP.  You even get a specific error "Application object PURCHASE_ORDER is not switchable." if you try to enter it.

       

      Where I am just now, it's not easily possible to generate a paper PO from an office printer in S/4HANA on premise, is that true?

      Author's profile photo Robert Macdonald
      Robert Macdonald

      If anybody else hit this problem with PURCHASE_ORDER, it looks like SAP released a note about it today

      2672151 - PURCHASE_ORDER option missing in SPRO Output control customizing 

      Author's profile photo Mark Carroll
      Mark Carroll

      If outgoing check application (FFO_PAYM) is not available via PDF for on premise and SAPscript is no longer going to be supported by SAP what are our options? Convert SAPscript F110_PRENUM_CHCK to a SmartForm?

      Author's profile photo Adrien Monges
      Adrien Monges

      Is print queue feature available on s4hana 1809 on premise?

      Author's profile photo Amit Lal
      Amit Lal

      I am also waiting for this input...Print Queue is available?

      Author's profile photo Kristi Fougnies
      Kristi Fougnies

      Our company is using GLM with a Genefix interface for printing.  We are changing to S/4 HANA.  Will GLM and Genefix still work with S/4 HANA and allow us to print or will we need to migrate to GLM+ or … ?

      Author's profile photo Andrei Balashchenko
      Andrei Balashchenko

      Hello, Markus.
      We are doing greenfield implementation of S/4 2021 Private Cloud (RISE). We are using standard Fiori apps to cover business process. And we noticed, that printing to local printers from Fiori apps is not posible (as also pointed in note 616762). We have standard LP01 (HPLJIIID, L) and PDF1 (PDFUC, G). And in S/4 new output (BRF+ based) we have LP01 printer everywhere in rules.
      Having a PDF in spool is really only possible with PDFUC type. But for access methods G and F we have status Waiting in Fiori. That's all. Having access method L naturally leads to error in spool. Because there is no any network printer connected.

      How can we do immediate output of for example this slip MMIM_GMVT_COL_SLIP to a local desktop printer? Should we do implementation using ABAP transactions in this area? According to your article there is just 2 ways: ABAP for on-premise and SAP Cloud Print Manager for public cloud.
      Can we have SAP Cloud Print Manager for private cloud???

      Author's profile photo Markus Berg
      Markus Berg
      Blog Post Author

      Dear Andrei,

      I recommend to create a support ticket to connect to the right experts.

      Regards,

      Markus