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How To Get Started with ERP5 The User Interface

General Introduction to the ERP5 User Interface
  • Last Update:2017-01-19
  • Version:001
  • Language:en

This document aims at introducing key concepts of the user interface in ERP5.

Table of Contents


The first step will always be to log in the application.
Remember my name check-box can be ticked in order to save your user name for the next time you login.

Front Page

On the front page, you can see several tabs giving you direct access to application features.
"Quick Search" tab allows searching directly through all documents in the system.
"Contribute" tab allows uploading a document in the system.
"Browse" tab allows accessing every module, with a breakdown by themes (Base, Accounting, Budget, etc...)
"New" tab allows creating new draft documents.
"Dig" tab allows performing an advanced search in each module.
"Reports" tab allows accessing reports available on each module.
"Printouts" tab allows accessing printouts available on each module.
"Exchange" tab allows accessing modules import / export features. Also, most reports from report tab also exist in the exchange tab, to give you the report in spreadsheet format.


Module's view looks this way:
User interface is split in 4 parts, the navigation bar (1) is always present, then the context bar (2) which will provides different actions depending on the context, the "Breadcrumb" (3) which is also always present and the main area (4). In the case of a module, a list of documents is displayed in the main area, this is called list mode.
Navigation bar includes "My Favourites" menu containing the list of tasks for the current user, "Modules" menu allowing to switch to another module at any time, "Language" menu letting you change the application language and a search field similar to "Quick Search" field from the front page.
Context bar contains two menus and several buttons:
"Jump..." menu allows going to documents related to the current document. For example, in the case of an invoice, you can jump to all payments related to this invoice.
"Action..." menu allows performing actions on the current document. There are three categories of actions, first the actions to add another document in the context, then workflow transitions and other actions.
The "Breadcrumb" allows  you to keep track of your location in the system. In the last example, we were located in ERP5, in Organisation module. It allows going back to home page by clicking on ERP5 text, or to the module by clicking on "Organisation".
In the above screen-shot, the main form contains the list of all organisations in system. This list displays no result, because no search criterion have been specified.

Searching in a list

To search in a list of documents, the easiest way is to enter a search criteria in the search row. For example, to search for organisations named "Max Production", enter "Max Production" text in the Usual Name field in the header an press enter.
When searching against Usual Name "Max Production", only organisations named exactly "Max Production" will be displayed:
To search over part of the name, use the % character.
To search for all organisations having prod in their name, use %prod%:
To search for all organisations having their name starting with prod, use prod%:
It is also possible to combine those search criterion by using keyword "OR". To obtain all organisations having their name starting or finishing with prod,  use %prod OR prod%:
Search parameters are saved by the application, even when you logout and login again. It is useful to use Show All button  
to reset all search parameters and start a new search.
To perform advanced search, an advanced search dialogue exists and can be accessed through the magnifying glass button 
In this dialogue it is possible to set multiple search parameters at once.

Context bar buttons

 Copy and paste buttons allows duplicating documents. To use those actions, you must first tick corresponding boxes in the left column.
Print button provides access to a printable view of current screen. Some documents have more suitable printable views (for example, on a client invoice document, a printout of the invoice will be obtained).
New button allows creating a new document inside the module.
Delete button allows deleting a document inside the module. Documents can only be deleted if user has the permission to delete this document, and if the document have no related documents. Like for copy and paste actions, documents have to be selected before using this button.
Search button gives access to a search dialogue. Some modules also have custom advanced search dialogues.
Show all button resets search parameters, it is useful before starting a new search.
Filter button displays only selected documents. It is useful to check what is selected after having selected documents on several pages.
Sort button displays a dialogue where you can define sort criteria in the module
Import / Export button gives a spreadsheet view of current screen. Some modules have customs imports or exports.
Configure buttons allows configuring extra columns and reordering the columns displayed in the list.

Domain Tree

Domain tree button 
allows displaying a domain tree on the left side of the list.
Clicking on each level open or fold the level. Only documents member of levels that are open will be displayed in the list. In our example, organisations member of Aide et Action are displayed.

View mode

When clicking on the name of the document in the list, the main view of the document will be displayed. This is called view mode.
In view mode, navigation bar (1), context bar (2) and "Breadcrumb" (3) are still there, just like in list mode. A status message (4) and a save button (6) are displayed, the main area (5) includes different tabs.
Navigation bar is the same as in list mode.
Context bar includes following buttons:
Print button to get a printable view of current screen
New button allows creating a new document whose type is the same as current document.
Clone button allows creating a new document that will be a copy of current one. The new document will be in draft state.
When a document from a list is displayed in view mode, it is possible to navigate in the list of documents. The following operations are available:
First / Last buttons allow going directly to the first or the last document from the list.
Previous / Next buttons allow going to previous or next document from the list.
List mode button allows going back to the list.
Import / Export button gives import and exports available on current document, such as spreadsheet export format.
Reports button gives access to reports available on current document.
 Sometimes documents have buttons for custom actions. For example, in the context of an organisation, it has followings extra buttons
Grouping reference fast input button allows accountants to do reconcile invoices and payments for this third party. This functionality will be the described in detail later on.
Attach document let you attach an office file (Images, PDF, word, Excel) to the current document by uploading a file from your computer.
Status message is where important messages from the system, such as the error message explaining why a document could not be validated, are displayed.
After each change, you have to click on save button for your change to be taken into account and saved in the system.

Embedded lists (switch to list mode)

Some documents in view mode presents a document list, but list mode actions (copy, paste, delete, …) are not available in view mode. On lists in view mode, also called embedded lists, it is possible to display the list in list mode, where all list mode actions are available, by clicking on the title of the list.
Lets take the contact list of an organisation as an example, available from "Details" tab of the organisation.
If we want to have this contact list in list mode, we have to click on this list title, Contacts (1).
This way we have a view in list mode, in which it is possible to search, and to perform actions usually available from list mode such as deleting or copy/pasting.

Setting a relation

The are relations between documents of most modules. For example, we can set a relation between a person from Persons module and the organisation the person works for.
On a person view, there is a Organisation field (1) where you can set a relation with an organisation. Relation fields are identified by a gear (2).
When you know the exact organisation name, just fill it into the field; % character can be used to search over part of the name. After saving the document, relation sill automatically be set, and a small plane icon appear. With this icon you can go directly to the related organisation.
If no document match the search criterion, it is still possible to add a new draft document and directly set the relation.
It is also possible to get a multi-criteria search dialogue by clicking on the gear. A search dialogue with multiple search parameters will appear. Once the document is found, check the corresponding box on the left column, and click on the set relation button.
Some search fields have predefined filters. As an example, to set a relation between an invoice and the supplier, we can choose between presets such as only Suppliers, only Clients etc..

Workflows: states and transitions

Each document in ERP5 is chained to a workflow defining the various stages of its life cycle.
In view mode, a document current state is always displayed in the bottom right-hand corner.
Actions letting you change the state of a document are available in "Action" menu. When using a transition action, a dialogue is displayed in which comments can be added to describe the reason why user did this transition.
Adding a comment can be very useful when cancelling a document, because such information will be available in the document history.
Once validate button is clicked, system performs consistency checks and refuse validation if the conditions are not met. In this case the error message is displayed in the status message.


The detailed history of validations and edits made on a document is on the History tab. The History tab exist on all documents.
In the above example, we can see in the “Edit Workflow” listing all changes that have been made, the name of the user that made the change, and the time when that change has been made.
In the second list, Validation Workflow, we can see validations and invalidations that have been made. In this example we can see that on 08/11/2012 at 14:00, a user named Cédric Le Ninvin tried to validate, but the validation has been refused by the system with the error message “Region must be defined” (1).
Later on, the same user invalidated the organisation, and entered the explanation comment “This supplier no longer exist” (2).

Change state on multiple documents

In list mode, there is an action named “Change State” in the Action menu. With this action you can change the state of multiple documents. The dialogue looks this way:
If we tick the Show Display Detailed List of Documents box, then in the next dialogue we will have the full list of documents that we are about to proceed.
The next dialogue will be the standard workflow dialogue, where we can enter the comments.


Each user can configure some application settings through personal preferences.
To reach the preferences configuration screen, click on "Preferences" in "My favourites" menu.
On preference view tab, the section category of the user can be provided. We can notice that a preference must be Enabled in order to be taken into account.
User interface tab allows to configure some parts of user interface. As an example, date order (Day / Month / Year or Month / Day / Year) or numbers style (comma or point, etc.).
Preferences are also used to define the default parameters for newly created accounting transactions and reports, it will be described in another next chapter.


Any time the user can access his worklists on the system through "My favourites" menu.
This menu displays different results for each user because it displays tasks assigned to this user only. As an example, we can seeorganisations to validate (1), which mean the user created one organisation and have to validate it. Organisations created by other users are not displayed here, each user have to validate the organisations he created.
One more example, we can see there are 4 internal invoices to validate, those are accounting transactions for the entity to which the user is assigned. Accounting transactions for other entities will not be displayed to this user.


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