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Copy To vs Copy From

The copy to and copy from functions in SAP are pretty self-explanatory. The copy to function pushes a document to the next (target) document in the chain. The copy from pulls a (base) document in to the document that you are currently one. But like most things in SAP Business One, there is more to understand.

Understanding Copy To

Copy To Button
Copy To Button

Let's look at converting a sales quote in to a sales order as an example. First, the sales quote must be added to the system in order to be copied to the next document in the chain. While this may seem obvious to some, rest assured it is not to all. Once the sales quote is added, using the copy to function allows you to copy all information on the sales quote to sales order. In the backend, copy to pushes the base sales quote's fields in the database tables OQUT, QUT1 AND QUT12 to the new/target sales order's fields in the database tables ORDR, RDR1 and RDR12.

Another gotcha that may confuse you when clicking on the copy to function at the bottom of a marketing document is that depending on which document you are on, there may be multiple options. The reason for this is that a sales quote does not necessarily need to be copied to an order. In fact, the only document required to complete a sale is an A/R - Invoice. Therefore, SAP Business One allows you to copy a sales quote to a sales order, delivery or A/R - Invoice. However, it is important to note that the first option in the copy to dropdown on any marketing document is always the next document in the chain.

Understanding Copy From

Now that you understand how copy to works, understanding copy from will be much simpler. The copy from function performs the reverse of copy to. Sticking with our previous example, a sales order can copy from an existing sales quote. In the backend copy from pulls the base sales quote's fields in to the target sales order's fields (database tables referenced above).

Copy From PO Dialogue
Copy From PO Dialogue

Just as clicking the copy to button may present multiple options, so may clicking the copy from button. The reason follows the same logic - SAP Business One does not require all marketing documents to be created for a given workflow. In this example however, a sales order only has one originating document - the sales quote. So, when you click the copy from button on a sales order, you will only see one option.

There are a couple important things to keep in mind about copy to:

  1. You must add the customer to the sales order header before you are able to use copy from
  2. Copy from allows you to customize what rows are copied. Copy to does not.

These key differences in the copy from functionality help to answer the question of which method to use.

Which Method to Use

Hopefully you've started to develop opinions regarding which method to use when. The reality is that there is no "right" method. Like many things throughout SAP Business One, the method that you use depends on the situation you are faced with.

If you have a short quote that you want to quickly convert to an order, copy to is your best bet. However, if you have a quote with many line items I'd steer you towards starting from the sales order and copying from the sales quote. Remember that copy to copies the entire sales quote to a sales order while copy from allows you to select which line items from the quote you want to draw in to the sales order.

The example above highlights the basis of my copy to vs copy from decision: speed. There is no "right" answer in the copy to vs copy from debate, but one of the two options is always faster.

Final Thoughts

We've covered a lot of ground in this post. While we focused on a single example, the copy to and copy from concepts that we illustrated apply to all marketing documents in SAP Business One. The last thing that you need to understand in the context of the copy to and copy from functions is the concept of "base" documents and "target" documents. Lucky for you we created a post explaining base documents and target documents.

Author Info

John Dugan Follow Connect

Co-founder of SBOhub, lonely child developer, husband, father, all-around American hero.