Barbara Plagens for KCP Dynamics
This week we are going to review drop down windows in Microsoft Dynamics NAV and offer some observations and tips on working with drop down windows. For the review, we will use the Item Journal.
As users enter data in the Item Journal, the first drop down encountered is Entry Type. By clicking the drop down button, the available options are displayed as shown below.
NAV displays a short list available for a user to select; this is commonly called an Options List. The drop down does not include the New or Advanced hyperlinks; this means users are not able to insert or modify the options listed. The only way to modify the list is through development. Later in this blog, you will see this drop down differs significantly from the drop down window for a user-defined table.
For users who prefer to use the keyboard instead of a mouse, there are a few helpful tips regarding data entry. First, when you know the option you want to select, it is not necessary to click the drop down button. You can enter enough characters to make your selection unique and then press ENTER, TAB, or the Right Arrow key to move to the next field. In the Entry Type field in the Item Journal you can, for example, enter ‘s’ to select Sale or ‘po’ to select Positive Adjmt.
Next, when you want to use the keyboard instead of clicking the drop down button to view a drop down list, simply press F4 in the field. Finally, when a drop down list is displayed, you can press the Up Arrow and Down Arrow buttons to scroll through the options then press ENTER to return your choice to the field in the journal.
The next drop down field in the Item Journal is Item No. as shown in the screen shot below.
Note the New and Advanced hyperlinks are available on the drop down window. These selections are available because the drop down is displaying a portion of a user defined table – one that you have the ability to update. When you click New, NAV displays a blank card page ready for data entry – the functionality to easily add records to a table is referred to as entering data on the fly. So long as you have the appropriate permissions, you can add a new Item and select it in the journal.
When you click Advanced, NAV displays the related list page, the record selected in the drop down is also selected in the list page. Additional fields are available in the list page which may be useful in making the appropriate selection.
Note in the screen shot above the small filter icon displayed in the No. field. When a user enters data, NAV searches the records in the table for possible match. NAV attempts to match the entered data to the values in the field where the filter icon is positioned, and then limits the records displayed.
When the filter is in the No. field and the user types a portion of the Description, typically no results are displayed in the list. To move the filter to a different field, simply click on the field name; alternatively, press the Right Arrow or TAB key. In this drop down, No., Description, and Base Unit of Measure are available for filtering. You can determine the fields available for filtering by observing the font color; the font on the No., Description, and Base Unit of Measure fields is darker than the font in the Unit Price field.
After moving the filter to the field you prefer to use for searching the table, the font for the Set as default filter column option at the bottom or the window turns blue. Click Set as default filter column to set your preference when entering data in the drop down field.
Once your preference is set, you can enter data in the drop down field and NAV automatically displays a list of available options that match to the selected field based on your data entry.
The last area we will review is how the drop down displays. At times, users experience a situation where the drop down displays similar to the one shown below.
The No. field is not visible, the Description field is too narrow, the window is not user-friendly. This can cause confusion or panic in a new user. To resolve the ‘issue’, you simply need to resize the window and the columns in the window.
Note that the lower right hand corner of the window has three bars. To resize the window, focus your mouse on this corner till a double sided diagonal arrow appears. While the arrow is visible, click and drag the corner to make the window the desired height and width.
In a similar manner, to resize the column widths, focus your mouse to the right of the column header you want to expand till a double sided horizontal arrow appears. Click and drag to the right to expand the column width. For example, you would use these steps to focus your mouse in the area bounded by the red box above to expand the No. field and view the data in the column.