• April 14, 2024

What Is SAP ABAP Data Dictionary?

An SAP software suite that is being implemented as part of re-engineering and provides end-to-end solutions for financial, logistics, distribution, and inventories. In the present scenario, many companies are using sap software for their day-to-day business activities. ABAP Data Dictionary, or DDIC, is a central repository in the SAP system where all the metadata related to the database objects are stored. In this blog we have discuss about the ABAP Data Dictionary’s role in SAP in detail.

Introduction to SAP

SAP stands for Systems Applications Products in data processing. SAP is the fourth largest software company in the world. The SAP R/3 system is a business software package that integrates all business areas. It provides end-to-end solutions for financials, manufacturing, logistics, distribution, etc. All business processes are executed in one SAP system and share common information with everyone.  

SAP History

SAP was Founded in and around 1972 by five IBM engineers Hopp, Wellenreuther, Hector, Tschira and Plattner. SAP is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system by SAP AG based out of Walldorf, Germany. AG is derived from the German word Aktiengesellschaft. According to German Language SAP Stands for Systeme, Anwendungen und Produkte in Der Datenverarbeitung. 

After the hugely successful R/3, SAP created more and more niche software like Customer Relationship Management (CRM), SRM, and XI (now called Process Integration or PI) and once again lived up to the standards of SAP by maintaining tight integration with their core ECC software. The newest version of the suite is SAP ECC 6.0.

What is the ABAP Data Dictionary?

 The term ABAP stands for Advanced Business Application Programming. It is a high-level programming language created by the German software company SAP SE. ERP SAP is written everything in the form of ABAP. SAP ABAP is a high-level programming language used in the SAP system for development and customization according to the company’s needs. 

The ABAP Data Dictionary provides a graphical user interface for developers to create, change, and maintain the database objects and a set of APIs for programmatic access to the metadata stored in the DDIC. This allows for efficient and centralized management of the data structures and definitions in an SAP system. The DDIC also plays an important role in ensuring data consistency and integrity by enforcing referential integrity constraints and providing support for data types and domains. 

Additionally, the ABAP Data Dictionary also provides tools for generating database-independent ABAP code, which helps simplify database migrations and improve the portability of SAP applications. SAP ABAP data dictionary is a central and structured source of data for the development of objects. 

It is a database-independent DDL (Data Definition Language) and mainly deals with creating, editing, drops database tables. In a data dictionary, you can define and maintain objects related to the database. The ABAP data dictionary can be easily integrated with the ABAP workbench, so all the components of the workbench can easily access the definitions stored in the ABAP dictionary. However, to know better insights on CMO definitely SAP ABAP Online Training Course plays an important role

SAP ABAP Workbench

The ABAP Workbench is a vital part of the ABAP system and is accessed via SAP GUI. It contains various tools for editing programs. It is widely used by SAP for the development of standard custom applications. The ABAP Workbench is also used for creating dictionary objects.

SAP ABAP has the following components:

  1. ABAP Editor – It is mainly used to maintain programs.
  2. ABAP Dictionary – It is used to maintain Dictionary objects.
  3. Repository Browser – It is used to display a hierarchical structure of the components in a package.
  4. Menu Painter -It is used to developing GUI, including menu bars and toolbars.
  5. Screen Painter – It is used to maintain screen components for online programs.
  6. Repository Information System – It stores information about development and runtime objects, like data models, table structures, programs, and functions.
  7. Function Builder – It helps you to create and maintain function groups and function modules.
  8. Test and Analysis Tools, like Syntax Check and the Debugger.
  9. Data Modeler – It supports graphical modeling.
  10. Workbench Organizer – It helps you to maintain multiple development projects that are manages by developers for distribution.

Data types in ABAP Dictionary

ABAP Dictionary defines user-defined global data types in SAP, where the user-defined data types are type definitions and can be used in the ABAP program with a TYPE clause.

Types of Data Types: – The following are different types of data types

  • Data elements
  • Structure
  • Table types
  • Data elements – Data elements are the fields in ABAP Dictionary and are used to identify the types of columns in the database. Data elements types – The following are the types of data elements
  • Elementary type
  • Reference type
  1. Elementary type – It has semantic attributes such as text, value tables, length, and several decimal places. 
  2. Reference Type – Reference types are predefined in SAP and defined by the ABAP programmer.

Functions of ABAP Data Dictionary

The important functions of ABAP Data Dictionary objects are as follows – 

  1. Database Tables – Database tables are the collection of fields which contain physical data. It is an object that stores data in rows and columns. So, the database tables are made up of rows by columns.

The different types of tables are

  • Transparent tables
  • Pooled tables
  • Cluster tables
  1. Domains:Domains in SAPare used to maintain technical field information such as data types, length, value range, etc.
  1. Data elements – Data element combines data type, length, and description. It is used to maintain fields in these tables or structures – learn how to create data elements in SAP.
  1. Views – View is a logical table that extracts the data from the TableTable at run time. Views can be defined using one or more multiple tables – learn how to create a view in SAP. Different view types are
  • Database view
  • Maintenance view
  • Help view
  • Projection view
  1. Search helps – Search helps display all the possible entries in the search help window. To display the search help window, use function key F4 or the search help icon. Types of search help are
  • Elementary search help &
  • Collective search help.
  1. Local Objects – Lock objects are used to control the parallel access for the same data by multiple users, i.e. synchronous access to the same data is provided using lock objects. Lock objects in the data dictionary should start with the letter E.

Learn Top SAP ABAP Interview Questions and Answers that help you grab high-paying jobs

How to create data elements in SAP ABAP Data Dictionary?

The following training tutorials guide how to create data elements in the SAP ABAP dictionary step by step. You can create data elements in SAP by using the following methods.

  • Transaction code: – SE11
  • SAP Menu Path: – SAP Menu -> Tools -> ABAP Workbench -> Development -> SE11 – ABAP Dictionary

Step 1 – Enter transaction code “SE11” in the SAP command field and press enter from the keyboard.

Step 2 – On the initial screen ABAP Dictionary update the following fields,

  1. Select the data type button
  2. Enter the name of the data element you want to create.
  3. Click on Create button to create a new data element.

Step 3 – The dialogue box opens with three options, i.e. Data element, Structure and Table type. As we create the data element, select the radio button and press enter.

Step 4 – On the screen, Maintain the data element in SAP, and update the following fields.

  • Short description: – update the short descriptive name of the data element.
  • Select the predefined radio button and update the data type and length fields.

Step 5 – Text information is updated in the field label tab; click on the field label and enter the field label name and desired length. We updated the length as “30” and the field label as “employee name.”

Step 6 – Click the save button (ctrl+s) to save the configured data element in a package. You get a message as “ZDATA_ELEMENT_EMP saved.

Then Select Goto >> Documentation >> Change

Step 7 – On the screen, change the data element: ZDATA_ELEMENT_EMP Language En, and update the documentation related to the data element under Definitions, uses, dependencies and Examples.

Step 8 – After updating the documentation, click on save active to save that data.

Step 9 – Click on F3 to return to the data element screen, then click on the check screen (ctrl+f2) and click the active icon (ctrl+f3). Data element in SAP ABAP Dictionary is created successfully.

Types of SAP Tables 

The types of SAP database tables are as follows –

  • Cluster table
  • Pooled table
  • Transparent table

Cluster Table – Cluster tables are logical tables to be assigned to a table cluster after being maintained. Cluster tables help to control the data and store it as temporary data, texts, etc. Cluster tables are used for many purposes. E.g., The text may contain many characteristics to store, so you must design how many characters to be recorded to store in the database. Then the database reads the data when reading the record. The features of the Cluster table are –

  1. The database tools do not directly maintain these tables.
  2. Using cluster tables is easier as there are not created separately.
  3. Database views, joint and appends statements are not used in the cluster tables.

Pooled table – It is a special table in the SAP ABAP dictionary. The data from the tables are stored together in a table pool. Pooled tables are used to store the internal controlling information.

Transparent table – Transparent tables store the data directly, and the same structure exists in the database and dictionary with the same data & fields. We can read tables directly from the database.

How to create SAP Database tables?

Database tables in SAP can be created via the SAP ABAP dictionary using one of the following navigation methods.

  • Transaction code: – SE11
  • Menu Path: – SAP Menu >> Tools >> ABAP Workbench >> Development >> SE11 >> ABAP Dictionary

Step 1 – Enter transaction code “SE11” in the SAP command field and press enter to continue.

Step 2 – On the initial screen, select the database table option and enter the name of the database table you want to be created. After updating the name, click on Create button. Here we are creating ZTEST_EMP Table.

Step 3 – On the next screen, update the following data. By default, the delivery and maintenance tabs are selected.

  • Short Description: Update the short description of the database table.
  • Delivery Class: Update the delivery class from the list; you can get the list by clicking the search option (F4).
  • Data Browser/ Table View Maintain: Select the display/maintenance allowed from the drop-down list.

Step 4 – Select the field tab and update the following data.

  • Field: Update the field name in the field column (16 characters)
  • Key: Select the key option if you want the field as a table key.
  • Data Element: Update the data element key from the list.

Click on the save button to save the configured data. You get a message as ZTEST_EMP saved

What is the purpose of ABAP Dictionary?

The purpose of ABAP Dictionary is to create and manage data definitions (metadata). The ABAP Dictionary permits a central description of all the data used in the system without redundancies. New or modified information is automatically provided for all the system components. This ensures data integrity, data consistency and data security. The ABAP Dictionary supports defining user-defined types (data elements, structures, and table types).

Using these data definitions, you can create the corresponding objects (tables or views) in the underlying relational database. The ABAP Dictionary describes the logical Structure of the objects used in application development and shows how they are mapped to the underlying relational database in tables or views. The ABAP Dictionary also provides standard functions for editing fields on the screen, such as assigning input help to a screen field.

Integration of ABAP Dictionary

The ABAP Dictionary is completely integrated into the ABAP Workbench. The SAP system works interpretatively, permitting the ABAP Dictionary to be actively integrated into the development environment. Instead of the original objects, the interpreters see only internal representations of these objects.

These internal representations are adjusted automatically when the system finds that changes have been made in the ABAP Dictionary. This ensures that the screen and ABAP interpreters, input help, database interface, and development tools always access the current date

DDIC is the central storage area that allows users to maintain the repository of objects related to the database and contains the central description of all the data used in the SAP system without any redundancy. The data in the DDIC is integrated, consistent, and secured. 

Basic types in ABAP Dictionary

The basic types in the ABAP Data Dictionary (DDIC) are the fundamental data types used to define the Structure and organization of the database objects in the SAP system. These basic types provide the foundation for defining the Structure and organization of the database objects in the SAP system. Using these basic types, you can define the individual data elements, such as fields in a database table, and the underlying data representation for these elements. These basic types include:

1.Character Strings – Character strings represent text or alphanumeric data in the SAP system. In the DDIC, character strings are defined by a “Character” or “String” data type. The “Character” type is a fixed-length string, while the “String” type is a variable-length string. The “Character” type is defined with a specific length, such as 10 characters, while the “String” type is defined with a maximum length of 255 characters.

  1. Integers – Integers are used to represent whole numbers in the SAP system. In the DDIC, integers are defined by an ” Integer ” data type. The “Integer” type is a signed or unsigned whole number defined with a specific length, such as 4 bytes or 8 bytes.
  2. Floating Point Numbers – Floating point numbers are used to represent decimal numbers in the SAP system. In the DDIC, floating point numbers are defined by a data type called “Floating Point Number” or “Real”. The “Floating Point Number” type is a signed or unsigned decimal number defined with a specific length, such as 4 bytes or 8 bytes. The “Real” type is a single-precision floating-point number with a length of 4 bytes.
  3. Dates – Dates are used to represent dates in the SAP system. In the DDIC, dates are defined by a ” Date ” data type. The “Date” type represents the year, month, and day and is stored as a 4-byte binary value.
  4. Time Stamps – Time stamps are used to represent dates and times in the SAP system. In the DDIC, time stamps are defined by a data type called “Time Stamp.” The “Time Stamp” type is a date and time representation that includes the year, month, day, hour, minute, and second and is stored as an 8-byte binary value.
  5. Currency Amounts – Currency amounts are used to represent monetary values in the SAP system. In the DDIC, currency amounts are defined by a Currency data type. The Currency type is a signed or unsigned decimal number used to represent monetary values. It is defined with a specific length and number of decimal places, such as 13 bytes with 2 decimal places.

What are the major tasks of ABAP Data Dictionary in SAP?

The ABAP Data Dictionary (DDIC) performs several key tasks in SAP, including – 

  • Object Definition – The DDIC provides a central repository for defining database objects, such as tables, views, structures, and data elements. This includes the definition of these objects’ data types, lengths, and other properties.
  • Data Integrity – The DDIC enforces referential integrity constraints and data validation rules to ensure the data’s consistency and accuracy.
  • Code Generation – The DDIC provides tools for generating database-independent ABAP code, which helps to simplify database migrations and improve the portability of SAP applications.
  • Security – The DDIC provides mechanisms for controlling access to database objects and protecting sensitive data from unauthorized access.
  • Performance Optimization – The DDIC provides features for optimizing the performance of database objects, such as indexing and caching, which help to improve the performance of database operations in SAP.
  • Data Access – The DDIC provides a centralized and consistent way to access and manage data in the database, simplifying the developing and maintaining SAP applications.
  •  User Interface – The DDIC provides a graphical user interface for managing and maintaining the definitions of database objects in the DDIC. This interface provides a convenient and user-friendly way to create, change, and maintain database objects in SAP.


ABAP technology is the solid long-time foundation for SAP’s solution portfolio ABAP or Advanced Business Application Programming is a simple language that is easy to learn when it comes to programming. ABAP is SAP’s default programming language for both on-demand and on-premise business applications. Its proven robustness, scalability and extensibility makes it the platform of choice for running mission-critical business processes. ABAP technology is continuously extended to serve new business scenarios and innovative application development.


1. What does ABAP stand for?

ABAP stands for Advanced Business Application Programming

2. What is DDIC in SAP?

DDIC stands for Data Dictionary is the central storage area, which allows users to maintain the repository objects related to the particular database and contains the central description of all the data used in the SAP system without any redundancy

3. What is ERP?

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a platform companies use to manage and integrate the essential parts of their businesses. ERP applications help busienesses to implement resource planning by integrating all the processes needed to run their companies with a single system.

4. What is the purpose of ABAP Dictionary in SAP?

The main purpose of ABAP Dictionary in SAP is to create and manage data definitions.

5. Why ABAP?

ABAP is a simple language that is easy to learn when it comes to programming. It allows you to choose from procedural and object-oriented programming. It also helps SAP customers to improve their SAP-based applications.

6. How many types of SAP Data are there?

There are four types of data in SAP – transaction data, configuration data, master data, and system data.

7. What are the different types of data dictionary objects?

The different types of data dictionary objects are tables, views, domains, data elements, type groups, search help, objects lock, objects structures, and table types.

8. How many ways can an SAP system be accessed?

Users can access an SAP system in two ways. Either through SAP GUI or through a web browser.

9. Explain Data Dictionary in ABAP.

The ABAP Dictionary creates and manages data definitions. The ABAP Dictionary allows the essential description of all the data used in the system without redundancies. New or updated information is automatically provided for all the system components. This ensures data integrity, data security, and data consistency.

10. How many types of editors are there in ABAP SAP system?

There are two types of editors in the SAP system.

  1. SE80 – It is an ABAP Development Workbench which allows the creation of packages, Programs, Function Groups, Function Module, Class/Interface, Web Dynpro Comp./ Interface, BSP Applications etc.
  2. SE38 – It gives the scree ABAP Editor initial screen directly instead of SE80 then choose program and create the program

Shabbir Ahmad


Shabbir Ahmed is a professional blogger, writer, SEO expert & founder of Dive in SEO. With over 5 years of experience, he handles clients globally & also educates others with different digital marketing tactics.