I’ve just returned recently from our Sage Summit 2012 conference where we showcase all the wonderful new features and technologies we are just releasing in new versions or have under development. However in giving various sessions, it was clear that besides evangelizing all the new work going on, that quite a few people aren’t aware of all the functionality that has been in the product all along. So as we develop many new reporting and inquiry tools, I thought it was a good idea to go back and talk about our good old import/export technology. In this article I’ll be concentrating on how to get data out of Sage 300 ERP using it’s built in technology.
You can run Export from pretty well any data entry screen in Sage 300 ERP. You just open the File menu and choose “Export…”. At which point you get a screen like that below:
Note that there is also a File – Export… menu on every Finder in the system.
The first question you need to answer is what format to export to. Below you can see the various export formats that we support:
Generally you are exporting the data because you know where you want it, usually in another program, so you can choose the format that works best for you. The two most popular formats are “Excel” and “Single File CSV”. Many people know Excel and like to use this as their format. Excel is a great tool for doing data analysis on ERP data with easy ways to generate graphs, pivot tables, etc.
The reason people use “Single CSV File” is that it is easy to deal with from scripting tools and other programs. These are just text files where the values are separated by commas (hence the name). Generally it’s easy to programmatically open these files and parse them. Another benefit of CSV is that it’s such a simple format, that it exports extremely quickly, so for large files this can be a real benefit. Also Excel has no problem reading CSV files.
If you are writing your own programs to process these files, consider XML as most languages, these days, have excellent libraries for parsing and processing XML files.
Another advantage of CSV and XML type files is that Excel has limits on the number of columns and rows that are allowed. This varies by version of Excel. However the CSV and XML file formats don’t have any limitations on them (you just may or may not be able to load them into Excel).
After you’ve selected the format and the filename to export to, next you check and uncheck all the boxes to select the various fields that you want. This includes the fields in the main table along with any detail tables. Many documents in Sage 300 consist of header records with a number of detail tables so for instance each Order header record has multiple detail records for all the items that make up the order.
A lot of times people just stick to the default of all fields selected, since it doesn’t make a lot of difference whether the extra fields are there or not.
Note that you can right click on the table name to select or un-select all the fields in that table (a bit counter-intuitive since clicking on the table check box doesn’t do anything). You can also rename the table if you want it to appear in the export file with a different name.
Suppose you export all your customers to Excel, but most of it is taken up by inactive customers that you don’t care about. You could filter these in Excel or you could filter these from Export so they aren’t there getting in the way to start with. Export has a handy “Set Criteria…” dialog where you can define a filter to select the records being exported.
This dialog is an example of “Query by Example” (QBE). You basically specify the field names in the title area of the grid. Then it “and”s items going horizontally and “or”s items vertically. So in the dialog above if I added another item to the right then both would need to be true for the record to be exported. If I added another value below then it would export if the value was either of these. Using this table you can build up fairly sophisticated criteria. If you think better in SQL where clauses, you can hit the “Show Filter” button to see the where clause that you a building.
Selecting all those fields and setting the criteria can be a bit of work. Especially if you need to run the same export every day. The solution is to use the “Save Script…” button to save what you’ve done, and then when you return you can use “Load Script…” to get it back. This is the first step in automating the export process.
Exporting From Macros
If you want to automate things further you can drive export from a macro. You can do this with no user intervention whatsoever and have these run on regular basis. Basically you setup all the options you want and save it in a script file. Then from the macro you can execute this script file. Besides the code for this macro, you need to add two references: “Accpac Import/Export 1.0” and “Microsoft XML, v4.0”. The return value from the export operation is an XML file that contains all the details of what happened. I included a bit of code in the macro to parse that XML file to display the number of records exported.
Dim xmlstr, msg As String Dim pbstr As String Dim doc As New MSXML2.DOMDocument40 On Error GoTo ACCPACErrorHandler ' Set error handler Set mDBLinkCmpRW = OpenDBLink(DBLINK_COMPANY, DBLINK_FLG_READWRITE) Set ie = New ImportExport If (Not (ie Is Nothing)) Then Dim pStatus As AccpacCOMAPI.tagEventStatus With ie ' Open the import/export engine. .Open mDBLinkCmpRW .ExecuteExportScript "c:\temp\custscript.XML", breturn .GetExecuteResult pbstr doc.loadXML (pbstr) doc.setProperty "SelectionLanguage", "XPath" xmlstr = "VIEW[@ID='AR0024']" msg = doc.documentElement.selectSingleNode(xmlstr).Attributes.getNamedItem("Exported").nodeValue MsgBox msg & " record(s) Exported" .Close End With ' ie End If 'Cleanup Set mDBLinkCmpRW = Nothing Exit Sub ACCPACErrorHandler: Dim lCount As Long Dim lIndex As Long If Errors Is Nothing Then MsgBox Err.Description Else lCount = Errors.Count If lCount = 0 Then MsgBox Err.Description Else For lIndex = 0 To lCount – 1 MsgBox Errors.Item(lIndex) Next Errors.Clear End If Resume Next End If End Sub
Export from Crystal
Crystal Reports also supports export in quite a few formats. Generally you are choosing if you want to export the formatting or the data or a bit of both. If you want good formatting generally you would export in PDF format (or perhaps one of the Word formats). If you want only the data then export using one of the Excel data-only formats (the ones that don’t say “Data-Only” tend to try to format in Excel which sometimes makes the worksheet hard to work with).
The built in Export functionality in Sage 300 ERP has been there since version 1.0A but often gets forgotten amid many of the new features. It’s a fairly powerful tool and can solve quite a few data sharing and analysis problems.