EDI Resource Center

EDI Standards

Since EDI came onto the scene in the 1960s, organizations have attempted to standardize B2B messaging. Due to diverse business requirements, industries have optimized messaging formats for their own use, resulting in more than a dozen popular EDI standards in use today. Popular formats, such as X12, EDIFACT, TRADACOMS, and ebXML are used across industries to facilitate business communication, while niche variations and EDI formats specify transactions in unique industry scenarios.

In this guide, we break down and explain the various EDI industry standards. It's also a resource hub for EDI messaging transactions. To see the specific EDI transaction sets for the various EDI standards, click the links directly to EDI transactions in the descriptions below.


EANCOM is an EDI standard used to integrate information sent electronically with the physical flow of goods. It's a subset of the UN/EDIFACT EDI standard and contains only the messages used in business applications and eliminates many optional messages found in EDIFACT.


  • Created for retail and consumer goods
  • Also adopted in healthcare and construction

Types of Transactions

EANCOM incorporates GS1 standards of physical identification of trade items, logistics units and the Global Location Numbers (GLNs) identifying the trading partners into the electronic messages.


  • Originally developed in 1987
  • Taken over by GS1 in 2015
  • Updated again by GS1 in 2016

Governing Body

EANCOM Transactions List


EDIFACT stands for Electronic Data Interchange For Administration, Commerce and Transport. It's the accepted EDI standard for international trade. EDIFACT covers:

  • Syntax rules to structure data
  • Interactive exchange protocol (I-EDI)
  • Standard messages (document transaction sets) for multi-country and industry exchange
  • Data element directories
  • Guidelines for electronic interchange of structured data between computer systems

An EDIFACT transmission consists of one or more Interchanges. Each Interchange consists of one or more Messages, which contain data segments relating to the business transaction. At each level, a series of enveloping data pairs tracks the exchange structure.


  • Administration
  • Commerce
  • Transport

Types of Transactions

EDIFACT is used to handle supply chain transactions between global trading partners. Exchanges include everything from purchase orders and invoices to shipment tracking and other logistics transactions.


  • Originally developed in 1987

Governing Body

The United Nations originally developed EDIFACT. Today, recommended within the UN framework, the rules are approved and published by the UN Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), a part of the UNTDID (UN Trade Data Interchange Directory) and are maintained under internationally harmonized procedures.

EDIFACT Transactions List


EDIG@S, or EDIGAS, is a set of EDI message transactions designed specifically for B2B document exchange between gas companies. Originally created by four gas companies as an independent transaction standard, EDIGAS now has 14 member companies that govern its use, all multinational gas and energy firms. Today, EDIGAS uses a subset of standard EDIFACT transactions and also supports XML transactions.


  • Gas and energy

Types of Transactions

EDIGAS covers a wide range of information exchanges for gas companies and their partners, including purchasing, transport, allocation, settlement, trade and more.


  • Originally created in 1983
  • Refined in 1996 and updated to use UN/EDIFACT standard transactions

Governing Body

EDIGAS Transactions List


The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability ACT (HIPAA), passed in 1996 in the U.S., requires millions of healthcare entities who electronically transmit data to use EDI in a standard HIPAA format.

HIPAA EDI is a set of data transmission specifications strictly governing how to electronically transmit sensitive data from one computer to another. It defines the different types of covered transactions and stipulates the exact format for each transaction record.

Its intent is to reduce the hundreds of healthcare data formats previously in use to just one, universally implemented healthcare data standard. This uniformity greatly increases the portability and accessibility of health-related information and slashes administrative costs associated with managing a previously clunky process.


  • Healthcare
  • Health Insurance

Types of Transactions

HIPAA EDI governs a nearly every type of electronic data transaction, including:

  • Healthcare claims
  • Claims status
  • Remittance advices (RA)
  • Eligibility verifications and responses
  • Referrals and authorizations
  • Coordination of benefits (COB)
  • And many more


  • Standards were set for the transfer of healthcare data in 1991
  • In 1996, the U.S. Federal HIPAA law mandated standard data transactions in healthcare
  • In 2001, doctors, hospital, health plans and clearinghouses began implementing EDI
  • In 2003, all medical parties were required to fully implement EDI

Governing Body

HIPAA Transactions List


Health Level Seven, or HL7, is a set of international standards for transferring clinical and administrative data between software applications used by healthcare providers. These standards focus on the application layer, which is "layer 7" in the International Organization for Standards (ISO) model of standardization.

Hospitals and other healthcare providers typically have a variety of disparate computer systems used for everything from billing records to patient tracking. HL7 helps all of these systems communicate, or interface, when they receive, or need to receive, new information.

HL7 specifies a variety of flexible standards, guidelines and methodologies that healthcare systems can use to communicate with each other, share information and process data in a uniform, consistent way. This information exchange has helped make medical care less geographically isolated and variable.


  • Healthcare
  • Hospitals and clinics

Types of Transactions

HL7 provides standardization for hundreds of healthcare events in hospital systems. A small sample of these transactions includes:

  • Patient admit notifications
  • Patient transfers
  • Patient discharges
  • Clinical study information
  • Master files
  • Pharmacy orders
  • Diet orders


  • Created in 1987 along with the founding of Health Level Seven International
  • Continuously updated and maintained

Governing Body

Founded in 1987, Health Level Seven International (HL7) is a not-for-profit, ANSI-accredited standards developing organization dedicated to providing a comprehensive framework and related standards for the exchange, integration, sharing, and retrieval of electronic health information that supports clinical practice and the management, delivery and evaluation of health services. HL7 is supported by more than 1,600 members from over 50 countries, including 500+ corporate members representing healthcare providers, government stakeholders, payers, pharmaceutical companies, vendors/suppliers, and consulting firms.

HL7 Transactions List


IATA Cargo-IMP stands for International Air Transport Association Cargo Interchange Message Procedures. It's an EDI standard based on EDIFACT created to automate and standardize data exchange between airlines and other parties.

IATA's Cargo-IMP is the legacy standard for exchanging critical cargo operations information. But IATA stopped supporting Cargo-IMP after the 34th edition in 2014. The purpose of this was to utterly focus on extending Cargo Extensible Markup Language (Cargo-XML), a new modern messaging format.

Cargo-XML facilitates cargo business processes, fulfills custom requirements for Advanced Cargo Information (ACI) filing, and complies with security regulations like e-CSD. This new format ultimately helps the air cargo industry to move towards improving its processes by digitalization across the entire supply chain.

Nevertheless, Cargo-IMP is still widely used for electronic messaging in the industry regardless of the lack of enhancement from IATA. The migration from the legacy Cargo-IMP format to Cargo-XML is ongoing.


  • Airlines and aviation

Types of Transactions

IATA Cargo-IMP designates procedures for automating the exchange of space allocation, air waybill, flight manifest, accounting, status, discrepancy, embargo, customs, CASS billing, dangerous goods, allotments and surface transportation.


Originally created in 1983 Refined in 1996 and updated to use UN/EDIFACT standard transactions

Governing Body

  • Jointly developed by IATA, its member airlines and Airlines for America (A4A)
  • It's also endorsed by the Cargo Committee, the Cargo Services and the Cargo Agency Conferences

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is the trade association for the world's airlines, representing some 290 airlines or 82% of total air traffic.

Airlines for America (A4A) advocates on behalf of its members to shape crucial policies and measures that promote safety, security and a healthy U.S. airline industry.

Cargo-IMP Transactions List


In 2012, IATA created the IATA Cargo XML standard to replace the IATA Cargo-IMP standard. In 2014, IATA released its 34th edition to IATA Cargo-IMP and announced that was the last update to the protocol, with all further updates moving to IATA Cargo XML.

The launch of IATA Cargo XML was designed to end the aviation industry's reliance on an EDIFACT-based system and instead update to a more modern web-first standard. IATA CARGO XML, labeled the New Distribution Capability, is part of IATA's broader Simplifying the Business initiative, originated in 2004 to increase efficiency throughout aviation. It includes innovations such as electronic tickets, bar-coded boarding passes and new self-service baggage options, among others.

The IATA Cargo XML standard enables the same choices to be offered to high street travel shoppers as to those who book directly through airline websites.


The IATA Passenger and Airport Data Interchange Standards (IATA PADIS) is a subset of EDI messages designed for use with both EDIFACT and XML syntaxes. IATA created it specifically as a standardized means of sharing passenger information between airlines, airports, governments and others in the aviation industry. It's even more specific than the broader IATA Cargo-IMP and Cargo XML standards.

Types of Transactions

IATA PADIS covers all standard passenger interactions, such as flight check-in updates, boarding pass reprints, baggage transfers, itinerary pricing requests and ticketing control requests, among others.

Governing Body

PADIS Transactions List


SCRIPT is a standard developed and maintained by the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP). The standard defines documents for electronic transmission of medical prescriptions in the United States.


  • Healthcare
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Long-term care
  • Health insurance
  • Government

Types of Transactions

The SCRIPT standard provides standard EDI document formats for information exchanges between medication prescribers, pharmacies, intermediaries and payers. Some examples include:

  • New prescription request
  • Change of new prescription
  • Cancel of prescription
  • Refill/renewals
  • Resupply in long term care
  • Fill Status notification
  • Medication history exchange


  • NCPDP originally founded in 1976
  • The organization became ANSI-accredited in 1996
  • In 2010, a major release of NCPDP Script gained legislative recognition
  • The SCRIPT standard is renewed and updated regularly by the NCPDP

Governing Body

  • NCPDP, an ANSI-accredited standards development organization, governs the SCRIPT standard
  • NCPDP is a pharmaceutical industry, member-driven organization that's played a major role in landmark legislation, such as HIPAA, the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit and the Affordable Care Act

NCPDP Transactions List


RosettaNet is a GS1 standard for electronically trading information among industries such as the high technology industry and the consumer electronics, semiconductor, telecommunications, and logistics industries.

RosettaNet is an open standard used to form a common e-business language, aligning processes between supply chain partners on a global basis. It's based on the XML standard.


  • High technology
  • Consumer electronics
  • Semiconductor
  • Telecommunications
  • Logistics

Types of Transactions

RosettaNet covers a broad range of logistics and financial transactions, including purchase orders, shipment notices, invoices, return requests, quotes and more.

Governing Body

  • Governed by RosettaNet, a subsidiary of GS1

RosettaNet is a non-profit consortium aimed at establishing standard processes for the sharing of business information (B2B). RosettaNet comprises major computer and consumer electronics, electronic components, semiconductor manufacturing, telecommunications and Logistics companies.

RosettaNet Transactions List


SAP IDocs (intermediate documents) are standardized documents, or data containers, that are used to communicate with both SAP and non-SAP systems and exchange information. They resemble EDI documents and are commonly used to electronically transfer information, such as purchase orders, invoices, shipping notices and more.

IDocs are based on two EDI standards, X12 and EDIFACT. In a case of any conflict in data size, it adopts the format one with greater length - there is no official mapping of IDocs to EDIFACT or X12.

The IDOC is made up of three structural elements:

  • Control Record - type of IDOC, message type, status, sender, receiver and other information about the message
  • Data Record - the actual contents of the message
  • Status Record - provides information about the states the IDOC has followed


SAP IDocs are used by millions of companies using SAP systems and are not necessarily specific to any industry, as SAP serves companies from chemicals to higher education and sports and entertainment.

Types of Transactions

IDocs are used for a variety of interactions, primarily in the areas of financial, logistics and sales transactions.

Governing Body

SAP IDocs are governed by SAP, one of the largest and leading technology companies in the entire world, founded in 1972.

SAP IDoc Transactions List


The Standard Exchange Format (SEF) is an open-standard file format - files ending with the extension .sef - that defines the format and implementation guideline for proprietary and standard EDI documents.

SEF holds key advantages over other file formats (e.g. pdf, .docx, rft, html and paper), including:

  • SEF files are immediately useable by both users and computers
  • They're small files and are easily transmitted easily via the web
  • You can edit them with either a text editor or an SEF manager
  • SEF is an open standard, so you can create and distribute SEF files without special permissions or royalties


SEF is used broadly by many industries for their proprietary EDI messaging needs as well as in logistics and supply chains more generally.

Types of Transactions

SEF can be used for any type of EDI transaction, as it is used to create proprietary, custom EDI messages by enterprises and industries. It also supports many X12 and UN/EDIFACT standard messages, such as logistics, shipping and financial messages, including purchase orders, invoices and more.

Governing Body

  • The SEF standard was developed by Foresight Corporation, now owned by tech giant Tibco, to encode any EDI specification and put it into the public domain. Foresight, under Tibco leadership, governs SEF.

SEF Transactions List


Tradacoms is an early EDI standard developed for retail. Today, it's primarily used in the UK retail sector, despite being essentially replaced worldwide by EDIFACt. It was originally one of the precursors to the UN/EDIFACT standard and has since been deprecated in favor of the EDIFACT EANCOM subsets. Despite this TRADACOMS is still used for the majority of UK-specific retail scenarios.


  • Retail

Types of Transactions

TRADACOMS covers a broad set of data exchanges for retailers, including:

  • Order information and acknowledgements
  • Delivery notifications and communications
  • Invoices and payment orders
  • Pricing information
  • Product information
  • Stock adjustments and snapshots
  • Utility bills
  • And more


  • Originally created in 1982 as an implementation of the UN/GTDI syntax, an early version of EDIFACT
  • Development effectively ceased in 1995 though, in favor of EDIFACT

Governing Body

  • The UN

TRADACOMS Transactions List


The Accredited Standards Committee X12 (ASC X12) is a standards organization charted by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). X12 encompasses a set of standards and corresponding messages that define specific business documents used in a wide variety of industries today. ArcESB is a member of ASC X12.


X12 is one of the most popular EDI messaging standards and is used nearly universally across industries for various use cases. It's also the basis for other EDI standards, which use its format to create industry-specific subsets. Some of the industries using X12 most prominently include:

  • Finance
  • Insurance
  • Logistics and supply chain
  • Manufacturing
  • Retail
  • Transportation
  • And many more

Types of Transactions

There are more than 320 X12 transaction standards, making X12 one of the most comprehensive EDI standards in use today. X12 maintains five functional transaction sets, including:

  • Communications & Controls
  • Finance
  • Transportation
  • Supply Chain
  • Insurance


  • Originally created by ANSI in 1979
  • Continuously updated and in common use

Governing Body

X12 Transactions List

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