To Connect to OpenERP¶
Since this is the first time you have connected to OpenERP, you will be given the opportunity to configure the system. You may choose to either Skip Configuration Wizards or Start Configuration. We shall proceed with system configuration by clicking Start Configuration.
Configuration consists of a set of wizards that help you through options for the installed modules. Hardly anything is installed, so this is a very simple process at the moment.
Configure Your Interface : select Simplified and click Next.
At the Company Configuration step, you should select your own Company Name and Currency. You may add your company address, contact and other details and a logo, if you have one, that appears on reports. Then, click Next.
The Install Applications section would enable you to add applications to your system. For now, click Skip to proceed without installing any applications. You are now connected to OpenERP and can start using the system as an Administrator.
Once you are displaying the main menu, you are able to see the following screen items, as shown in screenshot The Main Menu of the openerp_ch02 database:
the name of the database you are logged into and, just below it, the current user name,
the ONLINE SUPPORT button, which gives you an overview of the support services provided by OpenERP which is available for subscription,
the Preferences toolbar to the top right, showing the links to the HOME page, REQUESTS system, EDIT PREFERENCES page, ABOUT, HELP and LOGOUT button,
just below, you will find shortcuts (which the user can customize) and links to the menu items of installed applications,
a collection of interesting and useful widgets are available on the right of the home page beside the main menu.
Two menus are available at the moment:
When you are connected to OpenERP, the topmost toolbar indicates which user you are connected as. So it should currently be showing Administrator (unless you logged in as another user and it is reflecting the name of that user instead).
You will find the Preferences toolbar to its right containing a set of useful links. First, you will find a link to the HOME page. This takes you to either the Home page containing links to the available menus or to another window or dashboard, depending on the user configuration. In the case of the openerp_ch02 database, so far the Home page is the Main Menu. But in general each user of the system is presented with a dashboard that is designed to show performance indicators and urgent documents that are most useful to someone of the user's position in the company. You will see how to assign dashboards to different users in a later chapter, Configuration & Administration.
Multi-nationals and Time Zones
If you have users in different countries, they can configure their own timezone. Timestamp displays are then adjusted by reference to the user's own localization setting.
So if you have a team in India and a team in England, the times will automatically be converted. If an Indian employee sets her working hours from 9 to 6, that will be converted and saved in the server's timezone. When the English users want to set up a meeting with an Indian user, the Indian user's available time will be converted to English time.
The REQUESTS link is found beside the HOME link. It is only visible if you are logged into a database. If your database is new it will show number of requests as 0. You can click on that link to look at requests that have been sent to you at any time.
The next element in the toolbar is a link to EDIT PREFERENCES. By clicking that link, you get a dialog box where the current user can set his interface in the Current Activity tab; and in the Preferences tab, set his password, a timezone, a working language, e-mail and a signature:
The Interface field in the Current Activity tab allows the user to switch between the Simplified and Extended interfaces.
The Language field enables the user's working language to be changed. But first, the system must be loaded with other languages for the user to be able to choose an alternative, which is described in the next subsection of this chapter. This is a mandatory field.
The Timezone setting indicates the user's location to OpenERP. This can be different from that of the server. All of the dates in the system are converted to the user's timezone automatically.
The Menu Tips checkbox gives the user the choice to have tips displayed on each menu action.
The Change Password button gives users the opportunity to change their own password. It opens a new dialog box where users may change the password and must logout and login again after the change. You should take steps (perhaps written policies) to prevent users making these too trivial.
The Email field is for storing the current user's default e-mail address.
The Signature field gives the user a place for the signature attached to messages sent from within OpenERP.
The ABOUT link gives information about the development of the OpenERP software and various links to other information.
The HELP link directs the user to the online documentation of OpenERP, where extensive help is available on a host of topics.
The LOGOUT link enables you to logout and return to the original login page. You can then login to another database, or to the same database as another user. This page also gives you access to the super-administrator functions for managing databases on this server.
Installing a New Language¶
Each user of the system can work in his or her own language. More than twenty languages are currently available besides English. Users select their working language using the Preferences link. You can also assign a language to a partner (customer or supplier), in which case all the documents sent to that partner will be automatically translated into that language.
More about Languages
The base version of OpenERP is translated into the following languages: English, German, Chinese, Spanish, Italian, Hungarian, Dutch, Portuguese, Romanian, Swedish and Czech.
But other languages are also available: Arabic, Afghan, Austrian, Bulgarian, Indonesian, Finnish, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese..
As administrator, you can install a new main working language into the system.
Select Administration in the Menu Toolbar and click Translations ‣ Load an Official Translation in the main menu window,
Select the language to install, French for example, and click Load,
The system will intimate you when the selected language has been successfully installed. Click Close to return to the menu.
To see the effects of this installation, change the preferences of your user to change the working language (you may first need to ensure that you have explicitly selected English as your language, rather than keep the default, before you are given the French option). You may have to reload the page to see the effects. The main menu is immediately translated in the selected language. If you are using the GTK client, you will first have to close the menu then open a new main menu to start seeing things in the new language.
Navigating the Menu
From this point in the book navigation from the main menu is written as a series of menu entries connected by the ‣ character. Instead of seeing “Select Administration in the Menu toolbar then click Translations > Load an Official Translation” you will just get “use menu Administration ‣ Translations ‣ Load an Official Translation”.
Requests as a Mechanism for Internal Communication¶
Requests are a powerful communication mechanism between users of the system. They are also used by OpenERP itself to send system messages to users.
They have distinct advantages over traditional emails:
requests are linked to other OpenERP documents,
an event's history is attached to the request,
you can monitor events effectively from the messages they have sent.
OpenERP uses this mechanism to inform users about certain system events. For example, if there is a problem concerning the procurement of a product, a request is sent by OpenERP to the production manager.
Send a request to get an understanding of its functionality:
Click on the REQUESTS link that should currently be showing number of requests as 0. This opens a window that lists all of your waiting requests.
Click New to create and send a new request.
Complete the subject of the request, such as How are things? then give a description of the enquiry in the field.
Click the Search button to the right of the To field in the Request tab and select Administrator in the window that opens (that is the user that you are already connected as).
You can then link this request to other system documents using the References field, which could, for example, be a partner or a quotation or a disputed invoice.
Click Send to send the request to the intended recipient – that is yourself in this case. Then click HOME to return to the original screen.
To check your requests:
Click on the REQUESTS link (which may now show the number of requests as 1) to open a list of your requests. The list of requests then opens and you can see the requests you have been sent there.
Click the Edit icon, represented by a pencil, at the left hand end of the request line. That opens the request in edit mode.
You can then click the Reply button and make your response in the Description field of the Request tab that appears in place of the original message.
Click Send to save your response and send it to the original sender.
Requests vs. Email
The advantage of an OpenERP request compared with a set of emails about one thread of discussion is that a request contains all of the conversation in one place. You can easily monitor a whole discussion with the appropriate documents attached, and quickly review a list of incomplete discussions with the history within each request.
To look at the request history (the user needs to set the interface as Extended to use this feature), and close the request:
Click on the History tab in the Request form to see the original request and all of the responses. By clicking on each line, you could get more information on each element.
Return to the first tab, Request and click Close to set it to closed. This then appears greyed out.
You can send a request with a future date. This request will not appear in the recipient's waiting list until the indicated date. This mechanism is very useful for setting up alerts before an important event.
The database you created contains minimal functionality but can be extended to include all of the potential functionality available to OpenERP. About the only functions actually available in this minimal database are Customers and Currencies – and these only because the definition of your main company required this. And because you chose to include demonstration data, both Customers and Currencies were installed with some samples.
Because you logged in as Administrator, you have all the access you need to configure users. Click Administration ‣ Users ‣ Users to display the list of users defined in the system. A second user, Demo User , is also present in the system as part of the demonstration data. Click the Demo User name to open a non-editable form on that user.
Click the Groups tab to see that the demo user is a member of only the Employee group, and is subject to no specialized rules. The user Administrator is different, as you can see if you follow the same sequence to review its definition. It is a member of the Administration / Configuration and the Administration / Access Rights groups, which gives it more advanced rights to configure new users.
Groups and Users
Users and groups provide the structure for specifying access rights to different documents. Their setup answers the question “Who has access to what?”
Click Administration ‣ Users ‣ Groups to open the list of groups defined in the system. If you open the form view of the Administration / Configuration group by clicking its name in the list, the first tab Users gives you the list of all the users who belong to this group.
You can also see in the Menus tab, the list of menus reserved for this group. By convention, the Administration / Configuration in OpenERP has rights of access to the Configuration menu in each section. So Sales / Configuration is found in the list of access rights but Sales is not found there because it is accessible to all users. Click the Access Rights tab and it gives you details of the access rights for that group. These are detailed later in Configuration & Administration.
You can create some new users to integrate them into the system. Assign them to predefined groups to grant them certain access rights. Then try their access rights when you login as these users. Management defines these access rights as described in Configuration & Administration.
Changes to Default Access Rights
New versions of OpenERP differ from earlier versions of OpenERP and Tiny ERP in this area: many groups have been predefined and access to many of the menus and objects are keyed to these groups by default. This is quite a contrast to the rather liberal approach in 4.2.2 and before, where access rights could be defined but were not activated by default.
In OpenERP, a partner represents an entity that you do business with. That can be a prospect, a customer, a supplier, or even an employee of your company.
List of Partners¶
Click Sales ‣ Address Book ‣ Customers in the main menu to open the list of partners who are customers. Then click the name of the first partner to get hold of the details – a form appears with information about the company, such as its corporate name, its primary language, its reference and whether it is a Customer and/or a Supplier . You will also find several other tabs on it:
the General tab contains information about different contacts at that partner, postal information, communication information and the categories it belongs to.
the Sales & Purchases tab contains information that is slightly less immediate.
the History tab (visible if you install other modules like crm) contains the history of all the events that the partner has been involved in. These events are created automatically by different system documents: invoices, orders, support requests and so on, from a list that can be configured in the system. These give you a rapid view of the partner's history on a single screen.
the Notes tab is an area for free text notes.
To the right of the form is a list of Reports, Actions, Links and Attachments related to a partner. Click some of them to get a feel for their use.
Partner Categories enable you to segment different partners according to their relation with you (client, prospect, supplier, and so on). A partner can belong to several categories – for example it may be both a customer and supplier at the same time.
But there are also Customer and Supplier checkboxes on the partner form, which are different. These checkboxes are designed to enable OpenERP to quickly select what should appear on some of the system drop-down selection boxes. They, too, need to be set correctly.
You can list your partners by category using the menu Sales ‣ Configuration ‣ Address Book ‣ Partners Categories. Click a category to obtain a list of partners in that category.
The administrator can define new categories. So you will create a new category and link it to a partner:
Use Sales ‣ Configuration ‣ Address Book ‣ Partners Categories to reach the list of categories in a list view.
Click New to open an empty form for creating a new category
Enter My Prospects in the field Category Name. Then click on the Search icon to the right of the Parent Category field and select Prospect in the list that appears.
Then save your new category using the Save button.
You may add exiting partners to this new category using the Add button in the Partners section.
Fields colored blue are required. If you try to save the form while any of these fields are empty, the field turns red to indicate that there is a problem. It is impossible to save the form until you have completed every required field.
You can review your new category structure using the list view. You should see the new structure of Prospects / My Prospects there.
To create a new partner and link it to this new category, open a new partner form to modify it.
Type New Partner into the Name field.
In the General tab, click the Add button under the Categories section and select your new category from the list that appears: Prospect / My Prospects .
Then save your partner by clicking Save. The partner now belongs in the category Prospect / My Prospects .
Monitor your modification in the menu Sales ‣ Configuration ‣ Address Book ‣ Partners Categories. Select the category Prospect / My Prospects. The list of partners opens and you will find your new partner there in that list.
Searching for Documents
If you need to search through a long list of partners, it is best to use the available search criteria rather than scroll through the whole partner list. It is a habit that will save you a lot of time in the long run as you search for all kinds of documents.
Example Categories of Partners
A partner can be assigned to several categories. These enable you to create alternative classifications as necessary, usually in a hierarchical form.
Here are some structures that are often used:
interest in certain product lines,
subscriptions to newsletters,
type of industry.