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Glossary of EDI Terms

Get definitions of frequently used EDI terminology.

March 10, 2023

Advance Ship Notice or Advance Shipping Notification (ASN)

An ASN is a notification of the forthcoming delivery of product.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

ANSI is a voluntary committee that coordinates standards. Its subcommittee, the ANSI Accredited Standards Committee (ANSI ASC) recommends a standard referred to as ANSI ASC X12 or simply X12.


See internet applicability statement 2

Communications Session

A communications session is the uninterrupted flow of data from one computer system to the other.

Comma Separated Values File (CSV File)

CSV is a file format in which the data elements are separated with commas, also known as a Comma Delimited File.

Compliance Checking

Compliance checking is a process for ensuring that EDI transmissions comply with the established rules.

Data Element

A data element is the smallest unit of EDI information. A data element could be a code, a name, a quantity or any other individual piece of information.

Data Mapping

Data mapping is the method by which information in one format is restructured into a different format.

EDI over the INTernet (EDIINT)

EDIINT refers to the ability to send EDI data directly over the Internet without the use of a VAN.

Electronic Data Interchange For Administration, Commerce and Transport (EDIFACT)

EDIFACT is a standard different from X12. It’s usually used in European countries and among the automotive industry.

Electronic Mailbox

Electronic mailbox refers to the place (located within a third party’s provider system) where an EDI transmission is stored for pickup or delivery.

Extensible Markup Language (XML)

XML is a simple and flexible text format designed to meet the needs of electronic publishing.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

FTP is the standard Internet protocol for transferring files. FTPs (File Transfer Protocol secure) uses FTP with support for encryption protocols TLS or SSL to provide greater security in transferring files.

Fixed Length

Fixed length describes a data field with an established number of characters.

Flat File

A flat file is an alphanumeric and/or numeric file with no control characters used for transferring data.

Functional Acknowledgement (FA) (997)

An FA 997 is an EDI transaction set sent from the receiver of the EDI transmission to the sender. The 997 indicates receipt and acceptability of data and allows the receiver to notify the sender if problems have been encountered within the data.

GS1-128 (formerly UCC-128)

GS1-128 is a scannable, barcoded label located on the outside of a shipping carton.

Internet Applicability Statement 2 (AS2)

AS2 specifies how to transport data and the means to connect, deliver, validate and reply to data in a secure and reliable manner. AS2 Software specifically supports transmissions using the AS2 protocol, such as AS2 Complete from 1 EDI Source.


The pattern in which EDI information is to be arranged.

Open Data Base Connectivity (ODBC)

ODBC is a standard software interface for injecting and extracting data to and from computer systems, such as business or accounting software applications.


Protocol refers to rules that determine the format and transmission of data between the sender and the receiver.


A segment is a grouping of one or more data elements that appears as a line of information within an individual EDI message.

SSH File Transfer Protocol (sFTP)

sFTP is using FTP with the SSH (Secure Shell) security protocol for a higher level of security in transferring files.

Trading Partner

A trading partner is a business with which you are exchanging data.

Transaction Set

A transaction set is the electronic version of a written document.


A translator is a software tool that accepts an EDI transmission and converts the data into another format.


See GS1-128

Value Added Network (VAN)

A VAN is a third-party EDI service provider that supplies a communication link between companies so they may exchange electronic transmissions.


X12 is a popular standard of EDI. 


See extensible markup language