Understanding the Dynamics NAV Change Log
Tracking changes is a good idea in any ERP application, including Dynamics NAV. And Dynamics NAV’s “Change Audit” feature is a good place to start because it can comprehensively track changes to your tables.
That said, it has some limitations in reporting that are important to know.
In this post, I’m going to review some of the limits and also point out a few other key things to remember when tracking changes.
Setting Up Change Log
Setting up the change log is easy.
First, we navigate to Change Log Setup. Click the check box “Change Log Activated”:
(This doesn’t actually do anything. It just enables the next step.)
From this page, we choose the Actions tab and click on Tables:
We come to a list of our tables. I’ve filtered the list so we can work with the vendor table.
(Vendor table is the table that probably everyone should track changes to:
Each table has three options:
- Log Insertion—when we add a record (see caveat below)
- Log Modification—when we change a record
- Log Deletion—when we delete a record.
On each of the three fields, we have three options:
- Leave blank—to do nothing
- Some Fields—to track some fields
- All Fields—to track all fields.
If we select “Some Fields,” we can then specify the fields we want to track:
Remember: We must close the client for the change log to take effect!
Tips on Tracking Fields
1. Tracking “All Fields” for insertion doesn’t do what you think it does.
If you’ve used Dynamics NAV for any amount of time, you know that NAV adds a record into the database as soon as you’ve keyed the absolute minimum amount of information. And what’s the result? Not much shows up in the change log as an insertion insertions. For example, with vendors I find the only field I care about that comes through on an “insertion” is vendor number.
Even the name, when entered for the first time, comes through as a modification. Both the insertion and the modification will have similar datetime stamps, so you can put the pieces together.
2. Limit the number of fields you track.
As you’ll see in the next step, having too many fields creates a lot of data. In addition, the out-of-the-box report and screen isn’t fantastic. Indeed, the screen can become painfully slow.
Looking Up Changes
Once we’ve started tracking changes, we want to see the information, naturally.
To do so, we go to Change Log Entries:
Here, I’ve filtered the screen on Vendor and added one new vendor.
As you can see, adding just one vendor created 10 insertion records and another five modification records (which is the data I actually care about).
It’s hard to show all the data in one screen. If we scroll right, we’ll see the old and new values for the fields. In this case only new values:
Another option is to print the data. But, please, make sure you’ve filtered to see only the records you want. Otherwise, you’ll kill a ton of trees.
To print, merely choose print from the Actions tab:
Unfortunately, it’s not the most usable report ever created:
However, if you have some in house technical help, I can show you how to create a better report in SSRS. Stay tuned for details my next post.
Archiving Purchase and Sales Quotes/Orders in Dynamics NAV
One more thing: The change log isn’t the only way to save old versions of things. You can save archived versions of Purchase Quotes, Purchase Orders, Sales Quotes and Sales Orders.
To set up archiving, go Purchases & Payables Setup. Simply click Archive Quotes and Orders:
The same option is available in Sales & Receivables Setup:
Viewing Archived Purchase and Sales Quotes/Orders
To view archived purchase or sales quotes and orders, go to the relevant archives. They are:
- Purchase Quote Archive
- Purchase Order Archive
- Sales Quote Archive
- Sales Order Archive.
Have questions about the Dynamics NAV SSRS change log or purchase/sales archives? Feel free to post below.