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Actions define the behavior of the system in response to user actions: login, action button, selection of an invoice, ...

Actions can be stored in the database or returned directly as dictionaries in e.g. button methods. All actions share two mandatory attributes:

the category of the current action, determines which fields may be used and how the action is interpreted
short user-readable description of the action, may be displayed in the client’s interface

A client can get actions in 4 forms:

if any action dialog is currently open, close it
A string
if a client action matches, interpret as a client action’s tag, otherwise treat as a number
A number
read the corresponding action record from the database, may be a database identifier or an external id
A dictionary
treat as a client action descriptor and execute

Window Actions (ir.actions.act_window)

The most common action type, used to present visualisations of a model through views: a window action defines a set of view types (and possibly specific views) for a model (and possibly specific record of the model).

Its fields are:

model to present views for
a list of (view_id, view_type) pairs. The second element of each pair is the category of the view (tree, form, graph, ...) and the first is an optional database id (or False). If no id is provided, the client should fetch the default view of the specified type for the requested model (this is automatically done by fields_view_get()). The first type of the list is the default view type and will be open by default when the action is executed. Each view type should be present at most once in the list
res_id (optional)
if the default view is form, specifies the record to load (otherwise a new record should be created)
search_view_id (optional)
(id, name) pair, id is the database identifier of a specific search view to load for the action. Defaults to fetching the default search view for the model
target (optional)
whether the views should be open in the main content area (current) or in a dialog/popup (new). Defaults to current.
context (optional)
additional context data to pass to the views
domain (optional)
filtering domain to implicitly add to all view search queries
limit (optional)
number of records to display in lists by default. Defaults to 80 in the web client
auto_search (optional)
whether a search should be performed immediately after loading the default view. Defaults to True

For instance, to open customers (partner with the customer flag set) with list and form views:

    "type": "ir.actions.act_window",
    "res_model": "res.partner",
    "views": [[False, "tree"], [False, "form"]],
    "domain": [["customer", "=", true]],

Or to open the form view of a specific product (obtained separately) in a new dialog:

    "type": "ir.actions.act_window",
    "res_model": "product.product",
    "views": [[False, "form"]],
    "res_id": a_product_id,
    "target": "new",

In-database window actions have a few different fields which should be ignored by clients, mostly to use in composing the views list:

comma-separated list of view types (tree, form, ...) as a string. All of these types will be present in the generated views list (with at least a False view_id)
M2M[1] to view objects, defines the initial content of views
specific view added to the views list in case its type is part of the view_mode list and not already filled by one of the views in view_ids

These are mostly used when defining actions from Data Files:

<record model="ir.actions.act_window" id="test_action">
    <field name="name">A Test Action</field>
    <field name="res_model">some.model</field>
    <field name="view_mode">graph</field>
    <field name="view_id" ref="my_specific_view"/>

will use the “my_specific_view” view even if that’s not the default view for the model.

The server-side composition of the views sequence is the following:

  • get each (id, type) from view_ids (ordered by sequence)
  • if view_id is defined and its type isn’t already filled, append its (id, type)
  • for each unfilled type in view_mode, append (False, type)

URL Actions (ir.actions.act_url)

Allow opening a URL (website/web page) via an Odoo action. Can be customized via two fields:

the address to open when activating the action
opens the address in a new window/page if new, replaces the current content with the page if self. Defaults to new
    "type": "ir.actions.act_url",
    "url": "http://odoo.com",
    "target": "self",

will replace the current content section by the Odoo home page.

Server Actions (ir.actions.server)

Allow triggering complex server code from any valid action location. Only two fields are relevant to clients:

the in-database identifier of the server action to run
context (optional)
context data to use when running the server action

In-database records are significantly richer and can perform a number of specific or generic actions based on their state. Some fields (and corresponding behaviors) are shared between states:

Odoo model linked to the action, made available in evaluation contexts
condition (optional)
evaluated as Python code using the server action’s evaluation context. If False, prevents the action from running. Default: True

Valid action types (state field) are extensible, the default types are:


The default and most flexible server action type, executes arbitrary Python code with the action’s evaluation context. Only uses one specific type-specific field:

a piece of Python code to execute when the action is called
<record model="ir.actions.server" id="print_instance">
    <field name="name">Res Partner Server Action</field>
    <field name="model_id" ref="model_res_partner"/>
    <field name="code">
        print self, object


The code segment can define a variable called action, which will be returned to the client as the next action to execute:

<record model="ir.actions.server" id="print_instance">
    <field name="name">Res Partner Server Action</field>
    <field name="model_id" ref="model_res_partner"/>
    <field name="code">
        if object.some_condition():
            action = {
                "type": "ir.actions.act_window",
                "view_mode": "form",
                "res_model": object._name,
                "res_id": object.id,

will ask the client to open a form for the record if it fullfils some condition

This tends to be the only action type created from data files, other types aside from multi are simpler than Python code to define from the UI, but not from data files.


Creates a new record, from scratch (via create()) or by copying an existing record (via copy())


the creation policy, one of:

creates a record in the model specified by model_id
creates a record in the model specified by crud_model_id
copies the record on which the action was invoked
copies an other record, obtained via ref_object

fields to override when creating or copying the record. One2many with the fields:

ir.model.fields to set in the model implied by use_create
value for the field, interpreted via type
If value, the value field is interpreted as a literal value (possibly converted), if equation the value field is interpreted as a Python expression and evaluated
model in which to create a new record, if use_create is set to new_other
Reference to an arbitrary record to copy, used if use_create is set to copy_other
boolean flag linking the newly created record to the current one via a many2one field specified through link_field_id, defaults to False
many2one to ir.model.fields, specifies the current record’s m2o field on which the newly created record should be set (models should match)


Similar to object_create but alters an existing records instead of creating one


write policy, one of:

write to the current record
write to an other record selected via crud_model_id and ref_object
write to an other record whose model is selected via crud_model_id and whose id is selected by evaluating write_expression
Python expression returning a record or an object id, used when use_write is set to expression in order to decide which record should be modified
see object_create
see object_create
see object_create


Executes multiple actions one after the other. Actions to execute are defined via the child_ids m2m. If sub-actions themselves return actions, the last one will be returned to the client as the multi’s own next action


Sends a signal to a workflow.

Many2one to a workflow.transition to trigger
if base (the default), trigger the signal on behalf of the current record. If relational, trigger the signal on behalf of a field of the current record selected through wkf_model_id and wkf_field_id


Indirection for directly returning an other action defined using action_id. Simply returns that action to the client for execution.

Evaluation context

A number of keys are available in the evaluation context of or surrounding server actions:

the model object linked to the action via model_id
object, obj
only available if active_model and active_id are provided (via context) otherwise None. The actual record selected by active_id
the current database registry
datetime, dateutil, time
corresponding Python modules
the current cursor
the current user record
execution context
constructor for the Warning exception

Report Actions (ir.actions.report.xml)

Triggers the printing of a report

name (mandatory)
only useful as a mnemonic/description of the report when looking for one in a list of some sort
model (mandatory)
the model your report will be about
report_type (mandatory)
either qweb-pdf for PDF reports or qweb-html for HTML
the name of your report (which will be the name of the PDF output)
Many2many field to the groups allowed to view/use the current report
Many2one field to the paper format you wish to use for this report (if not specified, the company format will be used)

if set to True, the report is only generated once the first time it is requested, and re-printed from the stored report afterwards instead of being re-generated every time.

Can be used for reports which must only be generated once (e.g. for legal reasons)

python expression that defines the name of the report; the record is accessible as the variable object

Client Actions (ir.actions.client)

Triggers an action implemented entirely in the client.

the client-side identifier of the action, an arbitrary string which the client should know how to react to
params (optional)
a Python dictionary of additional data to send to the client, alongside the client action tag
    "type": "ir.actions.client",
    "tag": "pos.ui"

tells the client to start the Point of Sale interface, the server has no idea how the POS interface works.

[1]technically not an M2M: adds a sequence field and may be composed of just a view type, without a view id.