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Saving Grace: How Saving Filters in Business Central Can Change Your Life

If there’s any one thing you can bank on for enterprise software, it’s that – at some point or another – you’re going to encounter a list. Whatever data you’re looking at – employees, inventory, currency rates, transactions, documents – there will invariably be a view of the data that lends itself perfectly-poised to amortize that nifty scroll-wheel on your computer mouse in a neat row-based format.

As an accountant, I can’t imagine – nay, I wouldn’t want to imagine – a world without lists. As dramatic as that sounds, they really are everywhere and Business Central is no exception. From anywhere you are in the system, you’re always a click away from the comforting embrace of these banding lines:

Typically navigating these pages involves either sorting, searching, or filtering – the latter of which has been accomplished by using the oh-so-awesome filter pane:

However as soon as you were done and ended up leaving the instance, going back to that page meant you would have to re-do your filters all over again.

This isn’t such a big deal for piecemeal usage of filters, but what about your regularly-used filtering? Now you can save ‘em to use over and over again to your heart’s content.

A Prime Example – Income Statement by Dimension

One example – also the topic of one of our blog posts – is with the Chart of Accounts. Not many people know that a well-thought out and designed Chart of Accounts can, in and of itself, be a reporting mechanism. Say, for instance, that you’d like to pull a year-to-date P&L by dimension (let’s say the “MILD” Spicyness in your salsa-making enterprise). Your filters may look something like this:

Chances are you’d probably want to run this again at some point. Well, now you can by saving the filter and giving it a meaningful name:

Which means the next time you’re in there, you can simply click the link to your saved filter under the “Views” and pull that filter up again! Like magic!

More Cowbell, er, Examples

These saved filters can be used in a variety of ways across every list page that has filtering enabled – say, for example, you regularly want to have a visual view of your out-of-stock inflatable donut inventory. You can save the filters and use the gallery view in Business Central to get a quick-click visual view of what’s been selling out at your novelty pool supplies boutique:

Or perhaps you run a multinational and multi-currency deployment and you’d like to have a saved view of the completely shipped orders in USD coming due by the end of the quarter out of your Timbuktu location because you’ll be invoicing these soon and need to do some f/x hedging with in bulk:

In Conclusion

Notably missing from this release is the ability to save variables (e.g. dateformula such as “-CY..T” for year-to-date, or “%MYITEMS%” for the items saved under your My Items list). While that’s certainly a downer (you’d need to re-enter those into the filters if their static values need to be updated), however it has been put on the Microsoft dev team’s radar to add into future updates. So, fingers-crossed it finds it’s way into the next spring release (or even one of the monthly updates!)

Ultimately how and when you save filters depends on your own business reality and needs – certainly the examples above are wacky and varied enough to illustrate that there are innumerable reasons and ways to use and re-use filtering in Business Central. I, for one, am ecstatic about the feature – it was sorely missed for those of us that used it quite routinely in the good ole Role-Tailored Client days! As if there weren’t enough reasons already to love Business Central, the continuous investment from Microsoft into the product and dedication to hearing and acting on the community’s wishlist just adds to the tally – a wishlist that can now be filtered and saved with the new release!

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