Sage 50 – A workaround for Item IDs that are too long to see in transaction entry screens.

Many people ask if there’s a way to make the Item ID column wider in transaction entry screens, such as Sales Invoicing and Purchases/Receive Inventory (AKA Enter Bills). Even though there isn’t, there is a work-around that can work for many people.

The basic idea is to add the Item ID to the Item Description and turn on the “2 line display” option. Here are the steps in detail.

The first step would be to go into Maintain Inventory Items, copy the Item ID, and paste it into the beginning of the Item Description field. This creates two complications. (1) The Description field may not be long enough to hold both the ID and the description. (2) You probably don’t want both the ID and description to show in the description on invoices or purchases orders. Both of those problems can be resolved by making sure a description is included in the Description For Sales and Description For Purchases fields, which you’ll find at the top of the General tab in Maintain Inventory Items. The Description for Sales and Description for Purchases will both override the shorter main description. That means you’ll be free to use the item ID plus an abbreviated description in the Description field.

To speed up that process, you could export the item list (File menu > Select Import/Export), then edit the file in Excel and import it back into Sage 50. ALWAYS MAKE A BACKUP BEFORE IMPORTING ANYTHING INTO SAGE 50. If something goes wrong, there’s no way to undo a backup. You have to restore a backup made before the import, or manually edit all of the affected data.

The second step is to go to the Options menu > Global > General tab, and set Line Item Entry Display to “2 Line”.

Now in the transaction entry screens, the Item column will still be too narrow, but the Item Description (which now also holds the ID) will be visible in a second line below the original line.

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