The role of “Names & Descriptions” in Online Advantage

February 18, 2015 in Library

Whilst OA relies on “codes” and they have their role to play, it is the “descriptions” and “names” that belong to those codes that really make the information mean something to users. Below are some examples of the types of data we are referring to here:

  • Customer Name
  • Supplier Name
  • Product Description
  • Sale Rep Name
  • Customer Category Name
  • Trading Terms Description
  • Chart of Account Name

The main thing to remember with names/descriptions is that they have multiple purposes in the system as follows:

  1. They are seen/shown on data entry screens for visual verification
  2. They can be used as search criteria to find items
  3. They appear on reports as columns or total lines
  4. They can be used as report filters for selection criteria
  5. They can appear on client/supplier “documents”

Because the name/description has so many uses in the system it is important to have clear guidelines on the data that is input when creating these items. Consistency is one of the keys to their usefulness. Also worth noting that we usually represent data on screens and reports using the names/descriptions and show the code purely as a reminder, often in brackets at the end.

Searching/Report Filtering

One of the most useful roles of names/descriptions in OA is their ability to be used in searches during data input and as report filters. These two functions work in similar ways. When searching, you can enter part of a name/description to find it. Any part. The start, middle, or end. The more “unique” the characters you use to search, the less results you will get. You can even put in two or more parts of a name/description to limit the results you receive.

The same basic approach applies to report filters, except there is more power in the filtering criteria. With reports you can filter with expressions like “Not Starting With” or “Not Containing” as well as the usual “Starting With” and “Containing”.

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