Quick texts

I started this blog too seriously. Instead of starting relaxed, I jumped right into the battle head first, with difficult topics such as convergence and history of Dynamics. When I was thinking about starting this blog, one of the ideas was to discuss mainly technology and functionality. Last time I wrote about technology and functionality I wrote a disertation. This time, I’ll be quick.

In Microsoft Dynamics NAV, there is a functionality called Standard Texts. It is used to set-up frequently used text messages on documents, such as, e.g. description lines on documents. Typical usage of Standard Texts is setting up some texts, such as payment and delivery terms, and then use them consistently on all printed documents. This can be done by specifying a blank line type, and then entering the standard text code in the No. field. Then description is populated with the standard text description. Simple.

But that’s not it! You can access standard fields from any textual field anywhere in the system. You simply go into any text field, and type ? followed by the standard text code. After you leave the field, your entry is replaced with the standard text description. This is a very handy feature, because it might save you work and bring consistency anywhere in the system, not just sales/purchase documents. I must admit that I was a little bit ashame when I first learned about it, because as much is explained in help about standard texts.

What is not explained in the help, however, is that you don’t have to memorize the codes of all standard texts. If this was the case, I’d say that usefulness of this feature is reversely proportional to the amount of standard texts in the system, probably becomming totally unusable after you exceed few hundreds of them. Thankfully, you can simply press ? followed by Enter in just about any text field in application to invoke the lookup of standard texts, then you can simply choose from them, press Enter once again, and there you go – with just a two keystrokes, your text field is populated with a lengthy text which is guaranteed to be consistent throughout the application. Way cool.

One uncool feature is that you can use this gizmo only with text fields. Code fields don’t react to ? as well as text fields do, and you can get unexpected results. Instead of invoking a list of fields, pressing ? and then Enter in a code field will behave differently depending on the field itself. If the field is a simple field, then exactly nothing will happen, and your ? will be kept as the entry. However, if you press ? on a lookup field, the first value from lookup list is transferred to the field, and this is something you definitely wouldn’t want to happen inadvertently. So – be cautious.

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