Hidden Parameter in Asset Change Documents Report

SAP tracks nearly all of the changes to master data records and transaction postings.  This is a great feature as it lets you see the following:

  • Who made the change
  • When the change was made
  • What field was changed
  • What the new and old values were from the change

Most of the various SAP modules have a Change Document report that shows these changes.  For fixed assets, it’s AR15 (or S_ALR_87012037 if you prfer longer transaction codes). 

When you see the selection screen, there is an ALV parameter at the bottom of the screen. 


With the ALV parameter inactive, the output is a terrible structure report that makes any kind of offline analysis too tedious to bother doing. 


With the parameter active, the output looks like this:


Here the report output is in an ALV Tree format.  It uses folders to break out the changes by change document.  You can collapse or expand each folder to view all of the individual fields that were changed and their old/new values.  It’s very informative and you can also click on the detail for each row to view some more information.


But what you may not know is that if you run this for a large dataset, the output will switch from the tree format above to a more basic ALV List format.  Another scenario might be that you’re just working in a new system and you don’t see the tree display regardless of the volume of the report output.  Either way, you see this:


What Happened and Why?

As shown above, there are two ALV display options and the user can’t determine which to use from the selection screen. They can only control if the format is in the old structure format or the newer and nicer ALV one.  But the tree vs. list format isn’t up to them. 

What’s going on is that the report will automatically switch from the tree to the list format because there is a maximum number of rows that the tree format can handle.  Once the result set exceeds that, it automatically changes to the list format.  My understanding is that the approximate max is 3,000 change documents.

This raises the question… what if you prefer the list format because it’s easier to download to Excel?  What if you prefer the tree format and want to keep it regardless of any performance hit?


What Controls This?

The good news is that this can be specified via configuration.  If you go to tranasction code BANK_CUS_CHDOC, you’ll see a list of change document objects.  As an aside, I remember when ANLA used to be at the top of this list but it’s gotten pushed down quite a bit since I last worked with this.


Once you select ANLA and navigate to the 2nd detail screen “Selection Criteria”, you’ll see the image below.  If you don’t see anything, click on [New Entries] and then you’ll be able to specify the selection parameters for the ANLA change document object.

There are a series of parameters but the one to focus on is at the bottom in the [ALV Type] field. 


There are three options for the field:

  • ALV Tree – Hardcodes that the report output will always be in the Tree format.
  • ALV Grid – Hardcodes that the report output will always be in the List format.
  • Dynamic – This is the default behaviour where the report is initially output in the Tree format but will change to the List format when the report output is over the 3,000 limit.