Data Element

What Does Data Element Mean?

A data element is a data dictionary object in SAP. Data elements can be created and modified using transaction SE11 and all data elements reside in SE11. Data elements are important data dictionary objects that describe the semantic characteristics of table fields, such as the online help on the particular fields. In other words, a data element defines the manner in which the table field is displayed to end users and the details to be provided to users when the F1 help button is used on a table field.


Techopedia Explains Data Element

There are two types of data elements:

  • Elementary Data Elements: Defined by the built-in values of data type and length
  • Reference Data Elements: Make use of reference variables mostly used in other ABAP objects

Data elements are used to define the characteristics of a table field or a component of a structure. They are also used to define the row type of the table type. The meaning of the table field or structure component along with editing screen fields can be mapped to a data element. All of this information is available automatically to screen fields that are referenced to a data element.

ABAP programs can make use of data elements by referencing the keyword TYPE. In this way, variables used in an ABAP program can take the characteristics or attributes of the referenced data elements.

It is always advised to make use of built SAP data elements before creating new ones.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…