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Sage 300 ERP – Only Activate What You Need

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As we continue to move Sage 300 ERP to the Azure Cloud, one question that gets asked is whether someone just running G/L, A/P and A/R (the Glapar which rhymes with clapper) is going to be negatively affected by the presence of say I/C, O/E and P/O? Fortunately, Sage 300 ERP activates each module independently and unless an accounting module is activated in the database, you don’t see it at all, it’s just as if you hadn’t installed it.

With per user pricing we’ve tended to bundle quite large number of modules under our various pricing schemes. However if you get such a bundle and then activate everything you have, you could enable quite a few fields and icons that clutter things up, which is a nuisance if you never use them. Generally business flows better if you only see icons and fields that you actually use. Why keep seeing currency rate fields when you never select a different currency? Why see selections for things like lots and serial numbers when you don’t use these? Why see project and job costing icons when you don’t use this module?

Using security and the built in form customization abilities can be used to hide complexity as well. However if the feature is enabled, it usually implies that someone in your organization is going to have to deal with it. So consider these in addition to setting up security and setting up customizations for your users.

In this article, I’m going to go through the process of activating applications and provide some behind the scenes info on the various processes around these issues. A slightly related article is my posting on Sage 300’s multi-version support.


To access a module, it first has to be installed. Generally from the installation DVD image, you can select (or de-select) most modules. There are some dependencies, so if you install Purchase Orders then that implies you need a number of other accounting modules to be installed as well. Each accounting module gets its own folder under the Sage 300 installation folders. These are formed by a two character prefix like GL or PO followed by a three letter version like 61A (not the year based display version). Generally all accounting applications are created equally and the Sage 300 System Manager becomes aware of them by the presence of these folders and then gathers information on the application by looking for standard files stored in these folders (like the roto and group files).


When you create a new company in Sage 300, the only applications that are there by default are Administrative Services and Common Services. Below is the data activation screen:


This program lets you choose which applications to activate into the database from the list of all installed accounting modules. When you select a given module, you may need to specify a few extra parameters in the next screen. The program will also tell you about any dependencies that are required and select these for you. Then when it goes to activate the programs it call the activation object in each selected application to let the application do whatever is required to add it to the system. This usually involves creating all the database tables for the application along with seeding any data that is setup automatically (like perhaps a default options record). If you are upgrading to a new version it will do whatever is required to convert the data from the old version to the new.

You can run this program as many times as you like, so if you don’t activate something, you can always come back later and activate it then. Just keep in mind that after you activate something, you can’t de-activate it. We do put up a fairly strong message to ensure you back up your database before running data activation. Not all database conversions can be transactioned, so if data activation does fail, you may need to start over from a backup, though often you can fix the problem and run activation again to finish.

For our hosted versions, you don’t need to install anything and you don’t actually see the data activation screen, you select what you want from a web site and then the database is provisioned for you. For the on-premise version, installation and activation is usually performed by the business partner.

If you just activate General Ledger, then you will only see General Ledger on the desktop and won’t see icons from anything else that is installed.


Also notice that “Create Revaluation Batch” isn’t shown because I haven’t enabled multi-currency for this database.

Other Separate Features

Some modules like multi-currency, serialized inventory, lot tracking and optional fields aren’t installed via data activation. The database support for these modules is always present. To be able to use these you need to install the license for the module and then you can enable the functionality within the other applications. For instance to turn on multicurrency you need to enable this in the Company Profile screen in Common Services.

Until you do this, all the fields, functions and icons for these will be hidden and won’t clutter up your desktop or entry forms. So if you don’t really need these, then don’t turn them on. Also keep in mind that once you enable these features, you can’t turn them off again, they are turned on permanently.

Sample Data

In one regard Sample Data is a bad example, since it has everything possible activated and enabled. Since it comes this way, applications will be activated even if they aren’t installed. This sometimes causes funny problems because some functions that communicate between modules won’t work in this case.

Sample data is a great way to show any feature in Sage 300 ERP, but in one regard it’s rather misleading. It tends to always be run as the ADMIN user and hence always shows all possible icons, fields, and functions. This tends to make the product look much more complicated that it really is in real world usage. In the real world, you wouldn’t activate things you don’t need and in the real world the user wouldn’t have security access to everything so again many things would be hidden and their workspace simplified.


We don’t normally allow deactivating an application or turning off a feature like multi-currency. The reason is that data integrity problems could theoretically occur if you do, since for instance if you have processed payroll checks, then bank would need payroll present to reconcile those checks and if you deactivate payroll while there are un-cleared checks in bank, then you will never be able to reconcile these checks. There are many cases like this so as a general good practice protection we prevent de-activation.

But the developers in the audience will know there is a back door. In the Sage 300 ERP SDK there is a “Deactivate” program that will deactivate an activated application. It does this by dropping all the tables for the application from the database and removing its entry from CSAPP. It does not do any cleanup of data that might be in any other accounting application’s tables. This is a great tool while developing a vertical accounting module for Sage 300, but if you use this on an production system, really be confident that the offending application hasn’t been used and you aren’t going to leave corrupted data in all the other modules as a result of removing this one. Again backup before proceeding. Similarly turning off things like multi-currency by editing the CSCOM table in SQL Enterprise Manager has the same caveats.


Generally you want to keep your accounting system as simple as possible. Modular ERP systems like Sage 300 ERP have a great breadth of functionality, but most companies only need a subset of that, which is relevant for their industry. So be careful to only select what you need and keep your system a little simpler and easier to use.


Written by smist08

March 29, 2013 at 6:35 pm

12 Responses

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  1. […] Introduction As we continue to move Sage 300 ERP to the Azure Cloud, one question that gets asked is whether someone just running G/L, A/P and A/R (the Glapar which rhymes with clapper) is going to…  […]

    • Hi Stephen,

      I am setting up my Sage 300 ERP 2014. I have registered applicaitons A/P, A/R, ICT, G/L, and G/L consolidations. After activating the data, I could not locate my G/L Chart of Accounts, Accounts, Finacial Reporting. Can you give my some guideances on Data Activations? Thanks in advance.


      Jourden Lin

      September 16, 2014 at 3:07 pm

      • If there is a problem like a dependency needing activation, you should get a message when you login to the desktop. Generally GL doesn’t have any dependencies it might be how you configured ICT, so that it expects the GL to be in another company that it transfers the entries to.


        September 16, 2014 at 3:27 pm

  2. I’m new to use Sage-300 and getting an error when Activating Sage 300 ERP data source. I have no idea why it is showing this error. I already created Databases in the SQL Server 2008 Management studio as well as in the Sage 300 ERP Database setup window… Please reply if someone have the solution for this Error

    Description : Error occured when activating sage 300 ERP data source
    Error 1.399

    Thanks in advance


    January 25, 2015 at 8:25 pm

    • Pl. reply


      January 25, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    • Sometimes it can be control activation problem. Sign on as an administrative user with UAC turned off and run the regacc.exe utility which is in the Sage 300\runtime folder. If this doesn’t work you will need to run RVSpy and/or COM Spy (on the svrdblink) to get a better idea of what the error is. Also keep in mind that sample data has all the accounting applications installed, so make sure you selected to install that accounting module at install time.


      January 25, 2015 at 9:22 pm

  3. I also had this error when opening a new company. I ran regacc.exe and the log showed everything as having been successfully registered. I ran RVSpy and the error seemed to occur during Common Services Activation. I’ll just have to use the school computers which already have the company from the textbook activated. Thanks for taking the time to help.


    September 22, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    • It might be that the particular educational version doesn’t allow creating new companies? Perhaps its the CGA version?


      September 22, 2015 at 11:01 pm

  4. Steve Can you provide additional information regarding how to locate the deactivate program within the SDK. I am new to the SDK and I am not finding any reference to this tool in the wiki

    Gary Jensen

    December 29, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    • You need to activate the SDK from the Sage 300 Desktop. Then there will be a SDK folder with programs to run on your Sage 300 desktop. Then Deactivate is one of these.


      December 29, 2015 at 4:06 pm

  5. i’m using sage 300 2014 and i’m having a problem that when one of the users log in they cant access currency or that module under common services does not appear only when i log on as admin. please assist, i tried giving them all the rights still no luck

    Thank you


    August 8, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    • That’s really strange since the admin user sees everything. I would wonder if its desktop customization or something. Perhaps delete the user\admin\*_c files (these hold any desktop customizations). Also have you put any custom group files in a customization directory?


      August 8, 2016 at 3:09 pm

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