The SAP commands WE02 and WE05 are similar in many ways, but they have one major difference. You should choose one over the other when you need to make a detailed survey of your system's IDOCs, and knowing which is which will save you a lot of time in the long run.
SAP is a type of software known as an "enterprise resource planning system." With SAP, you can monitor your business's processes in real time, from outgoing shipments to progress reports to up-to-the-minute inventory reports. SAP works by logging and monitoring transactions across the entire organization. The software itself is composed of several modules. Among these are the Human Resources module, the Production Planning module, the Controlling module, the Financial Supply Chain Management module and the Financial Accounting module.
SAP reports are text-based and designed to be compatible with as many applications as possible, regardless of whether those applications are themselves compatible with SAP. These reports are known as "IDOCs." You can think of an IDOC as a data container in text format. Every IDOC, once generated, exists independently of the SAP database, and you can send it to any computer you want. The IDOC system removes the need to convert your reports from one format to another.
WE02 is a T-Code, or Transaction Code. You can enter T-Codes in the main SAP interface, directly into the command field. A T-Code is a text-command with which you can retrieve data from your SAP database. With the WE02 T-Code, you can retrieve a list of every IDOC in your system. If you want to retrieve a specific IDOC, you can do so by listing its number after the command. When you use this command, you will see a "Display IDOC" link. Press this link and the relevant IDOC will open for you within SAP.
The WE05 command differs from WE02 in that it is a more streamlined retrieval tool. If you do not need to filter your results by type or number, but instead need to see your entire IDOC inventory, WE05 is the command to use. Additionally, with WE05, you are not presented with the "Display IDOC" option. For these reasons, the WE05 command processes faster than WE02. Savvy SAP users use WE02 only when necessary, and can therefore navigate their SAP database with greater speed.