Manage Product Variants

Item variants are a great way to keep your list of products under control. For example, you have a large number of items that are almost identical and vary only in color. You can define each variant as a separate item. But you choose to set up one item and specify the various colors as variants of the item.


For a practical introduction to using variants in production, see Walkthrough: Variants for the Contoso Coffee demo data.

Add variants to an item

If your organization has decided to use variants, then it's easy enough to define variants for an item.

To add variants

  1. Open the Items List page, open the relevant item.
  2. On the Item card, choose the Item action, and then choose the Variants action.
  3. In the Item Variants page, list the variants.

Then, when you create a sales document and add the item, you can specify the variant of the item in the Variant Code field. The same applies to purchase documents.

Item availability by variant

When you open the Item Availability by Variant page from a document line, then you can insert a variant in the document line by selecting the line with the variant that you want to insert and then choosing the OK button. If you've only used the page to view availability and don't want to insert a variant, then close the page without choosing the OK button.

The page shows one line for each period. Each line shows the item’s availability figures in the following key fields:

Field Description
Gross Requirement Specifies the sum of the total demand for the item. The gross requirement consists of independent demand and dependent demand. Independent demand includes sales orders, service orders, transfer orders, and production forecasts. Dependent demand includes production order components for planned, firm planned, and released production orders. It also includes requisition and planning worksheets lines.
Scheduled Receipt Specifies the sum of items from replenishment orders. The calculation includes firm planned and released production orders, purchase orders, and transfer orders.
Planned Order Receipt Specifies the sum of items from planned production orders.
Projected Available Balance Specifies the calculated available inventory.
Planned Order Releases Specifies the sum of items from replenishment order proposals. The calculation includes planned production orders. it also includes planning or requisition worksheets lines that are calculated according to the starting date in the planning worksheet and production order or the order date in the requisition worksheet. This sum isn't included in the projected available inventory. However, it indicates which quantities should be converted from planned to scheduled receipts.

Require use of variants

Starting in 2022 release wave 2, admins can require that users specify the variant in documents and journals for items that have variants. To activate the capability, navigate to the Inventory Setup page, and then select the Variant Mandatory if Exists field. You can override this global setting for specific items.

On item cards, the Variant Mandatory if Exists field has the following options:

Field value Description
Default The setting from Inventory Setup applies to this item.
No Users aren't required to specify a variant for this item.
Yes If the item has one or more variants, users must specify the relevant variant. If they don't, they'll be blocked from posting the transaction.


These settings don't affect items that have no variants.

If the capability is switched on, users can't post an entry if the variant isn't specified.

Categories, attributes, and variants

Categories and attributes are two different ways of grouping inventory items. Item variant is a way to indicate that a specific item is available in different colors or sizes, for example. Depending on how you set up your inventory, you can use categories to group chairs versus desks, and then use attributes to group green items versus blue items, for example. You can then supplement this setup by adding variants to each type of chair and desk. By adding variants, you can run reports such as Item Availability by Variant to identify differences between the blue chairs versus the green chairs, for example.

See also

Register New Items
Set Up General Inventory Information
Walkthrough: Variants