Item Alias

By |2021-07-24T07:18:12-05:00March 25th, 2018|Comments Off on Item Alias
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The Item Alias feature is used to create multiple item numbers for a single item.

Organizations often assign bogus, made-up numbers to items for when they appear on documents customers see — like estimates and invoices.  Doing so helps prevent customers from using internet search engines to find the wholesale cost of an item, then using it to bargain for a better deal.  The item alias feature helps manage this process and reduce the likelihood of price comparisons by customers.

As a basic overview of the item alias concept, an inventory part is created in normal fashion.  Then an alias is entered in the Item Alias form for that part.  The actual item number is still used when preparing invoices.  But, when the invoice isprinted, the appropriate item alias will be substituted for the actual number, thus concealing it from the public.

Furthering this concept, item aliases may also be used when ordering from vendors.  Many service companies use their own proprietary system of assigning part numbers to inventory.  These proprietary numbers mean nothing to a vendor if they appear on a purchase order.  By using the item alias feature, purchase orders can be prepared using the actual proprietary numbers created within an organization.  But, when the purchase order is printed, the appropriate item alias will besubstituted for the actual number, thus making the PO understandable to the vendor.


You sell a 2-pole 30-amp ITE style breaker.  You buy this breaker from two different vendors; each having their own part number.  In the invoice item record the actual part number has been setup using your own proprietary part number.  A logical actual part number might be BKRITE302.  Here is how the part number breaks out (this is the nomenclature)

BKR = Breaker     ITE = ITE Style     30 = 30 amps     2 = 2 poles

Two aliases are then entered in that part’s Item Alias form (one for Vendor-A and one for Vendor-B).

  • Vendor-A’s item alias for BKRITE302 might be 123456
  • Vendor-B’s item alias for BKRITE302 might be ABCXYZ

Now, when creating a purchase order to Vendor-A, use the actual part number BKRITE302.  When the PO is printed, part number “123456” will be substituted for BKRITE302.

Similarly, when creating a purchase order to Vendor-B, continue to use the actual part number BKRITE302.  When the PO is printed, part number “ABCXYZ” will be substituted for BKRITE302.

Enabling the Item Alias Feature

Prior to use, the “Use Item Alias Feature” must first be enabled in the program.

To enable the feature go to the main menu and click Edit | Preferences.  In the “Items” tab tick the “Use Item Alias Feature” checkbox.   Click the Close button to exit preferences.

Important Note

Even if the “Use Item Alias Feature” has been enabled in system preferences, the printing of aliases can still be controlled from the various print setup options during the printing process.  Look for the “Item Aliases” control area in the print setup options when printing estimates, sales, invoices, and purchases orders.

Important Tip: To have item aliases appear on printed estimates, sales, invoices, and purchase orders, make sure the “Use Item Name/Number Alias” radio button is selected in Print Options.

Form Access

  • From an item record, click Menu | Alias.  Note: Aliases are not available for all invoice items.


Two main areas exist in a part’s Item Alias window — the Customer pane (on the left), and the Vendor pane (on the right).  Each pane is controlled in identical fashion.

  • A single alias can simply be entered into a particular “Alias” field.
  • If the same alias is to be entered in many “Alias” fields, enter the name of the alias in the respective “Apply to Selected Customers/Vendors” field, select the rows in which to have the alias entered, and click the “Apply” button.

In the example below, different aliases were directly entered for the vendors “Ace Hardware” and for “Johnstone Supply – Lenexa”.  Those who do not have an alias applied will see the actual item number on printed documents.

Conversely, in the example below, all customers have had the alias “Breaker-15Amp” applied.  The user entered “Breaker-15Amp” in the “Apply to Selected Customers” field, highlighted the customers to receive the alias, and clicked the “Apply” button.  The alias was automatically applied to all selected customers.

For more information on how to select multiple records at once, see the section Selecting Records in Lists in the help topic “List Management – Sorting & Displaying”.


  • If no alias has been applied to a particular customer or vendor, the item’s actual number will be used by default.
  • Not all item types will include the item alias feature (Example: Sales Tax Items or Sales Tax Item Groups)
  • You can use the Advanced Search tool (click Edit > Advanced Search) to search for item aliases.
  • Use item aliases to allow for easy ordering of the same part from different vendors.
  • Use the item alias feature to prevent customers from obtaining the part number and ordering parts without you.
  • To lookup a part by it’s alias when creating a sale, invoice, purchase order, estimate, etc, use the Item Lookup tool.  Open the tool by clicking <Lookup>, which is found at the top of the Item drop-down on applicable forms.
  • Note: You must have a Customer:Job or a Vendor selected before the lookup form will display aliases.

Related Topics

Items Defined
Preferences – Items
List Management – Sorting & Displaying
Item Lookup

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About the Author:

HVAC Electrical Plumbing Software

Aptora delivers a true All-In-One services software solution including CRM, accounting, payroll, inventory, vendors, sales, marketing, dispatch, flat rate pricing, and more. NO 3rd party plugins or integrations required. Created by contractors for contractors, we know what it takes to grow your services-based businesses.


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