SAP HR General Table Display: SE16N

Here is a more efficient way of viewing data within tables in SAP. The transaction code SE16N (general table display) is an improved version of the old data browser (SE16). It has been around for some time, but is not widely known amongst consultants and end users of SAP. It looks a bit different to the old "data browser" functionality (SE16). The initial screen for SE16N can be seen in the screen print below.

Differences in SAP Versions

If you are using 4.6 or 4.7 you will notice some differences in the Goto and Extras menu options. There are far more features available in 4.7. In addition, the settings which can be set and saved in version 4.7 are not available in version 4.6.

New features of SE16N

The new transaction has a number of distinct advantages over SE16.
You no longer have a maximum of 40 fields to select in the output.
There are fewer steps involved in executing a number of functions, whether it be outputting the results, maintaining the values in a table etc.
Exporting the data into Excel is far easier and quicker
ALV functionality is available as standard
The user is not restricted by having a maximum width of 1023 saved as a default in the user settings.
More user settings are available in version 4.7 and above.

User Settings

Technical name as column heading: this allows you to view the technical name of the field in the column heading of the output results.
Key Columns Scrollable: not sure what affect this has
Output with Conversion Exit: not yet tried this.
Save Last Layout Automatically: ticking this ensures that your last layout is saved as SE16N#####. Each change you make will be reflected when this setting is ticked.
Use Last Layout Automatically: the last layout you used for a particular table will be used in the table display. Don't be put off by the fact that all the fields are ticked under the "output" column on the initial screen. Only the columns that you specified in your last layout will be output.
Deactivate Column Width Optimization: ticking this will deactivate the optimisation SAP uses for the column widths. Certain fields will be wider than the largest value in the column.
Technical Column Name Leads: ticking this ensures that the technical field name is shown in the first column of the selection criteria. The full field names are still shown in the last column. This option merely swaps these two columns.
Technical View: this option adds the "more" button at the top of the selection screen. Clicking this allows you to enter additional "or" selection criteria.
Maximum number of hits: this sets the default for the maximum number of rows that will be output.

Limitations of SE16N

You can only output one table at a time. If you wish to output more than one table you can use the available reporting tools or the QuickViewer (transaction code SQVI) functionality within SAP.
Administration and Security Considerations
Be aware that whilst SAP can track which table you access in SE16, SAP cannot track the table in SE16N

Additional Tips

If you wish to access the HR tables they can be found using the following notations:
Personnel Administration: PAxxxx - where xxxx is the 4 digit infotype number. For example Actions can be found on PA0000, Organisational Assignment on PA0001 and Personal Data on PA0002.
If you are not sure how to get the infotype number then use the menu path System > Status when you are on the appropriate infotype screen. Look at the field contents for Program (screen). This should be something like MP000800 for infotype 0008. The infotype number is the first 4 numbers after the MP.
Recruitment: PBxxxx - where xxxx is the infotype number.
Organisation Management: HRPxxxx - where xxxx is the infotype number.
Training and Events: HRPxxxx - where xxxx is the infotype number.

Editing data and configuration directly in SAP

Once you have entered your table name, type "&SAP_EDIT" without the quotation marks into the transaction code. This enables editing functionality on SE16N and allows you to make table changes. This allows you to access both configuration and data tables which may be otherwise locked in a production environment.
Whilst this may appear to be a short cut and allow you to access a back door which is normally shut, this hidden feature should be used with caution in any SAP client - especially a live or production system.