Understanding Microsoft Dynamics NAV Dimensions

The simplest explanation of Dimensions within Microsoft Dynamics NAV would be to call them the slice and dice ability within NAV. Dimensions are what allow you to report on the data within the system, in a way that is meaningful to the company.

Examples of Dimensions might be:

Office – Melbourne, Sydney, Perth

Item Class – Building, Plumbing, Electrical

Department – Finance, Sales 1, Sales 2, Human Resources

Any of the above are examples of how companies may want to report on sales and costs throughout the system, the benefit of using dimensions however comes from the fact that when a transaction with a dimension occurs (Be it a purchase, sale or adjustment) the dimensions are automatically posted with the transaction

This means that you are able to report from within any area of the Microsoft Dynamics NAV system by the dimensions that have been set up,

Some examples of reports that would be possible with the above dimension could be:

  • Profitability of the “Sales 1” Department within the “Melbourne” office when selling “Electrical” goods, compared to the “Sales 2” department in “Perth”
  • Draw a trial Balance only for the “Sydney” office even though all offices post to the same GL
  • Look at total costs and sales for a period for a particular item class, then compare this to a previous period
  • View the profitability of a specific class of item over time

Microsoft Dynamics NAV supports unlimited Dimensions this means that any way that you are currently categorizing areas of the business, be it related to the business itself or a product or service you are able to report on the system according to this.

The system also has a “Default Dimensions” for various records in the system, by capturing these default dimension the system will then be able to record the dimension without the user having to capture this information when processing, specifying the dimension of “Electrical” against an item card will have the system automatically post this during any transaction using this product

This means that there is no additional work required by the users when they are capturing

As a Microsoft Dynamics NAV Specialist we have also gained a lot of insight into getting the most out of Dimensions so please contact us to assist you in setting up a structure that will provide the most benefit as well as possible other dimensions that may be of benefit to the company’s reporting

Advanced Topics:

Dimensions also have additional functionality that can assist in ensuring the best possible reporting.

The dimensions can be built using levels:

In the below example you can see how the areas have been split into Europe & America and within those areas it has been further divided

Creating a structure from the dimensions allows for sub totaling on reports according to this structure, as well as simplifying the dimensions in the system

Dimension Combinations:

Microsoft Dynamics NAV allows the definition of permissible combinations, this allows you to specify combinations that are not allowed, perhaps item sales out of the HR department or Electrical goods from the Perth office (Who might not do electrical goods) should be disallowed, this functionality prevents users from selecting incorrect combinations

Primary Dimensions:

Microsoft Dynamics NAV supports unlimited dimensions; however the first 8 have additional features available

  • The first 2 Dimensions are called Global dimensions, these are available globally across the system and in all reports
  • The next 6 are called shortcut dimensions and are also available on all forms across the system and in some of the reports
  • All Dimensions and those beyond 8 are available by pressing Ctrl + Shift + D to open the dimensions list while on the document,

All dimensions are available to be used to create your own reports using Analysis by Dimension or Account Schedules, these reporting abilities will be covered in a future post

By Neville Foyn, Lead ERP Consultant at EBS


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