A ‘Number Range’ refers to a number interval defined in the system so that when documents are posted, the system assigns a number from this range. You will define different number ranges for different document types. Each document in SAP is uniquely identified by the combination of (a) document number, (b) company code, and (c) fiscal year.
The number range for a document type can be defined:
- Per fiscal year or
- Until a fiscal year in future.
If defined to last only one fiscal year, then the number range needs to be defined every year. When number ranges are defined every year, the system starts from the first number in the range for that particular year, which helps to prevent reaching the upper limit too fast.
If you specify the fiscal year as ‘9999,’ then the document number range is valid forever (well, almost!) and you do not have to do this exercise of maintaining number ranges every fiscal year. But every year the system starts from the last number used up in the previous year and if a small number range is defined for a document type, you could easily run out of the number range fast.
The document numbers can either be:
- Internally assigned by the system or
- Externally input when the same is created.
The number ranges can be defined in such a way that the system generates the number automatically when a document is created. This is known as ‘internal number assignment’ Under this, the system stores the ‘last number’ used for a document in the ‘Current Number’ field and will bring up the next number when another document is created.
If ‘external numbering’ is used, the user needs to input a document number every time a document is created in the system. Since the user supplies the number every time, the subsequent numbering may not be sequential. Unlike an internal numbering, the system does not store the ‘last number’ in the ‘Current Number’ field.
The numbers in a number range can either be numeric or alphanumeric. If numbers are numeric, the system will prefix the number with the required zeros to make the number length uniform at 10 digits. If you are using alphanumeric numbering, then the number is padded with zeros from the right. If you are following ‘year-specific’ numbering, it is better not to mix numeric and alphanumeric numbering for a
particular document type in various fiscal years.
The system creates a minimum of one document when a transaction is created/completed. SAP recommends ‘filing’ original documents (under the number of the processing document (the document generated in SAP)). The best practice is to enter the (external) number of the ‘original document’ in the ‘Reference’ field of the document created in the SAP system. For easy cross-reference, the SAP document
number thus created needs to be noted on the ‘original document.’
The following are the activities you need to complete for configuring the number ranges properly in the system:
- Defining the number ranges (Transaction Code = FBN1)
- Copying the number ranges to Company Code(s) (Transaction Code = OABH1)
- Copying the number ranges to fiscal year(s) (Transaction Code = OABH2)