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Oracle flexfield fundamentals

Carol Francum offers up some basic advice on adding a flexfield to a form and changing flexfield size in this tip.

Site expert Carol Francum recently answered your questions on working with Oracle flexfields. She explains how to add a flexfield to a standard form and the challenges of changing flexfield size.

Question: I am bit confused about flexfields. Can we add a new descriptive flexfield to a standard form where it does not already exist?

Answer: Yes, you can. However, if you add a flexfield to a standard form, the form is then customized.

A flexfield can only be added to a registered table -- a table that the Oracle Applications foundation knows about. It may be that you can do what you want using existing flexfields or other functionality. You can refer to the Oracle Applications Flexfield Guide for help designing the existing flexfields to meet your needs.

Question: Is it possible to changes the size of one segment in the accounting classification structure (ACS) after it went live? If yes, how do I do it and what are the implications?

Answer: Don't do it. It's not worth it.

For 99.999% of users, the answer is a very loud no. In one in a million chances, you might be able to do so. Also, consider that if you do, and you have problems, Oracle is very serious about the consequences of making changes that are unsupported. And Oracle does not support changes to existing accounting flexfield structures.

The Oracle Applications Flexfields Manual contains information on changes to value sets (extracted below). This is important, because it's the type of problem that you'll have if you do this.

In Chapter 4 titled, "Changing the value set of an existing flexfield segment," the first sentence says:

    "In general, once you have set up and begun to use a flexfield, you should never change anything about its structure or its value sets (other than defining, enabling and disabling values, shorthand aliases, and cross-validation and security rules).

    "However, you should never change to a value set with a larger (or smaller) maximum size if your value set is right-justify zero-fill, since 001 is not the same as 0000001, and all of your existing values would become invalid. Oracle Applications products prevent you from invalidating your existing flexfields data by preventing you from changing the maximum size of an existing value set at all if the value set is right-justify zero-fill."

Since the recommendation is that value sets used with the accounting flexfield be defined as right-justify zero-fill, then you probably will not be able to increase the size.

If your value set is right-justify zero-filled, and hence are not allowed to increase the size, you might consider creating an additional segment to follow immediately after your existing segment. I know that creating a new segment is not something to undertake lightly, and will require close cooperation with Oracle Support, but it has been done before and is usually a more cost-effective option that reimplementing.

If the need to increase the segment size is purely because you have run out of available numbers, have you considered using alpha characters instead? I would not normally recommend it because it will make range definition more difficult in the future, but perhaps you could live with that.

It looks like there is no automatic solution and it involves updating all the segments that are related to code combination. There are lot of tables related to setups for budgets, allocations, consolidations, etc.

In addition, when you make changes you may also impact things like security rules. When/if you change your segments, you will need to go back and review and potentially revise your security rules.

If you have custom software that uses GL_code_combinations, it will need to be reviewed for revisions.

For more information

Check out the Oracle Applications Flexfields Guide.

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This was last published in June 2004

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