It is often necessary to directly access individual records in a data structure. This is done using unique keys. Number ranges are used to assign numbers to individual database records for a commercial object, to complete the key. Such numbers are e.g. order numbers or material master numbers.

These numbers provide, apart from unique identification of a data record, the possibility of encoding differentiating information for an object. One could tell from the number e.g., to which material type a material belongs.

The R/3 number range management also monitors the number status, so that numbers which have already been issued are not re-issued.

All dialogs, database accesses or other activities which are necessary for the maintenance of number range objects and number ranges and number allocation in user developments, can be performed using SAP function modules.