EDI standards are agreements between users of EDI on how data is to be formatted and communicated. Standards are key to both the effectiveness and integrity of EDI. These standards are embodied in the electronic format of business documents known as transaction sets

Standards provide a common syntax, set of rules, and procedures for their maintenance and enhancements. EDI standards presently define and support more than 200 business documents derived from industry and government working groups. They provide a framework from which new standards can be derived as well as a database of elements to be used in the creation of new standards.

In general, EDI formatting standards address the following issues:

  • What documents can be communicated electronically;
  • What information is to be included; 
  • What sequence the information should follow; 
  • What form the information (i.e., numeric, ID codes, etc.) should use; and 
  • The meaning of the individual pieces of information

What is included in EDI Standards?

All EDI standards include data elements, segments, and transaction sets. EDI Standard format is comparable to the language that you speak. For instance, an element of the EDI Standard can be compared to a word. A segment in the EDI Standard is comparable to a sentence. A transaction set in the EDI Standard is comparable to a paragraph or a document. In the EDI Standard, just as in the language that you speak, elements (or words) are combined to form a segment (or a sentence). Segments (or sentences) are combined to create a Transaction set (or paragraph or document)

Commonly Used EDI Standards

The two commonly used EDI standards are EDI for Administration, Commerce, and Transport (EDIFACT) for generic international, and American National Standards Institute/Accredited Standards Committee X12 (ANSI ASC X12) for generic domestic.

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