A commercial object, for which part of the key is to be generated via number ranges, is defined as a number range object in the SAP system. If this commercial object contains sub-objects, e.g. company codes or controlling areas, this differentiation can also be made in the number ranges. This happens by specifying a field for the sub-object when defining the number range objects. (Example: company code as sub-object of documents)

The number range interval within a commercial object and sub-object never overlap. The number range intervals in various sub-objects of a commercial object can overlap.

A number range interval is assigned to a commercial object via the number range number. This assignment is usually saved in a table belonging to the commercial object, the group table. The field Element must be all or part of this table’s key. Elements which refer to the same number range interval form a group. You can decide whether you want to make this assignment possible for the user during the number range object maintenance (via the assignment of elements to groups) or whether you want to program it yourself.

When a new material master is created, the material type should determine from which number range interval a number to complete the material master key should be assigned. The commercial object is the material master, the group table the material type table, with the element field material type as key field. The number range numbers for the various element values (material types) are saved in this table. Material types are e.g. semi-finished or finished products.

A number range contains a number range interval with a defined character set. The number range interval consists of numeric or alpha-numeric characters (only for external number ranges) and is delimited by the fields From number and To number. Either one interval, or several if financial years are to be distinguished, is assigned to a number range.

The number range number identifies a number range for the system and makes system-internal access to the number range interval possible. It can be numerical or alpha-numeric. This number is generally assigned system-internally. If you do not need grouping or if you want to program the group table maintenance for the grouping yourself, you must enter the number range number during interval maintenance yourself.

If financial years are to be distinguished in the number assignment, there can be several intervals. Separate intervals are then specified for each financial year. Number ranges can be external (number to be assigned manually by the user) or internal (number assigned automatically by the system).

A commercial object can either have only one number range (external or internal) or two number ranges (external and internal).

The various distinctions between commercial objects gives rise to eight Number range object types.

Element and group

Element is the field in the group table according to whose value a commercial object can be grouped. The grouping is done by number range assignment.

Element values to which the same number ranges are assigned constitute a group. For the material master, for example, the groups are managed in the material type table. The groups can be maintained via the standard maintenance dialog for number range intervals. If you do not want to do this, you must program it yourself.

Groups can be either dependent or independent of sub-objects. This depends on whether the sub-object is a group table field.

The following table shows as an example the grouping of material types and the associated number range assignment.

Grouping material types


Material type

Internal no. range

External no.range

Group 1




Group 1




Group 2

Raw material



The material types Finished and Semi-finished form one group, and the material type Raw material another.

Until financial year

Fixed time periods (financial years) are assigned to number range intervals within a number range with a year value. These intervals can overlap within a number range. In this case the financial year or until financial year, as well as the assigned number, must be part of the application table key.