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When looking at output management in SAP S/4HANA it is important to distinguish the on-premise edition and the cloud edition.

On-premise edition

In the on-premise edition 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 S/4HANA, SAP has introduced a new output management framework, the SAP S/4HANA output management. This framework provides a cloud enabled output management including some new features like Email Templates, native Fiori integration and support of fragments for print forms using SAP Cloud Platform Forms by Adobe.

However, this new framework is optional and customers can decide on application level if they want to use it or not.

The focus of S/4HANA output management is cloud-driven and its current functionality does not match the various functionality available from the existing output frameworks. Hence customers should check if their needed functionality is covered by this new framework.

Also not all business applications offer the usage of S/4HANA output management. You find the supported applications in view APOC_I_OBJ_TYPEV. For all applications which do not have value “Never active“ in column „Activation Mode“, can enable the new framework. Applications not listed here do not offer it at all.

When S/4HANA output management is used

  • The system will write the print data (PS, PCL or PDF) into the spool, not the metadata.
  • Hence customers can only use the device types PDF1 and PDFUC.

Summary

Output Solution Spool support Device Type Support Consequences
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
S/4HANA output management Limited Limited to PDF1 and PDFUC All device types requiring the metadata of the printout, might not work

 

Cloud edition

In the cloud edition the S/4HANA output management is the only available framework for output. Printing is done either done online from the web browser or in the background via a Print Queue and the Cloud Print Manager.

 

Print Queues and SAP Cloud Print Manager (CPM)

In SAP S/4HANA Cloud Edition (and related products such as IBP CE), 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 contents of a Print Queue Item are typically a PDF file or 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 print status of Print Queue Items. Print data contained in a Print Queue Item can also be downloaded via the Print Queue App.

There always exists a Queue named DEFAULT, which can receive Print Queue Items. Physical printing from DEFAULT is not possible, this is only possible via other, customer-created Print Queues.

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. The preferred format is PDF, since only for this format it is possible to (pre)view the print document in the Print Queue Fiori App.

Other formats besides PDF are intended for print-only use cases, as documents stored in a Print Queue Items of a non-PDF queue cannot be previewed in the Print Queue App.

Physical printing of documents from a Print Queue is done by installing and configuring a Windows software named “SAP Cloud Print Manager” (SAP CPM) on the client side:

 

CPM fetches print data contained in Print Queue Items by establishing an HTTPS connection via the internet to the SAP Cloud 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 S/4HANA Cloud Edition 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 2470711 (on premise)

SAP note 2228611 (on premise)

Cloud – Roadmap viewer: https://roadmapviewer-supportportal.dispatcher.hana.ondemandcom/

  • Solution Specific
  • SAP Activate Methodology for SAP S/4HANA Cloud
  • Realize
  • Output Management Adoption
  • Adapt Layout and Content of Application Form Template(s)
  • Accelerator: Output Management (1LQ)
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4 Comments

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  1. 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.

    (0) 
  2. 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?

    (1) 
  3. 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?

    (0) 

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