EDI Segment definition and example

EDI Segment is a combination of the coherent elements or compound data grouped for representing useful information. For example, segment can contain information about product, its color, size, weight, volume etc. EDI Segment can be met in a document once or several times.

In an EDI document, each section is described by a particular segment. Each segment begins with a segment ID (e.g., ST, BEG, N1) that describes the type of data elements that follows.

EDI Segment

In X12 the consequence is the following: a unique EDI Segment identification tag (consisting as usual of 2-3 signs) always stands on a first place.

EDI Segment example:


EDI Segment consists of a tag and elements separated by special symbols (element separator) – in the mentioned case it is asterisk «*». Segment ends up with another symbol (segment terminator) – in our example it is twiddle «~». It should be mentioned that elements and segment separators can differ from the mentioned above examples.

EDI Segment

Standard defines the sequence of the elements in a segment.

In an above mentioned example we can see X12 EDI Segment named PO1 which has the meaning Baseline Item Data.

First comes segment tag (PO1) and then segment elements:

  • Assigned Identificator (002003004, assigned tag)
  • Quantity Ordered (20, product quantaty)
  • Unit/Basis Measurement Code (EA = Each, unit of measurement)
  • Unit Price (20, product price)
  • Element missed (!) (Basis Unit Price Code is missed)
  • Product/Service Id Qualifier (BP = Buyer’s Part Number, product/service tag type)
  • Product/Service Id (123456817, product/service tag).

In general this segment represents the following information: in position 002003004 of the order 20 items are ordered, the product ID is 123456817, 20 dollars per one item.

Once all the segments are collected into a prescribed sequence, they form a complete electronic document, or transaction set. Next, the transaction sets must be put into envelopes in preparation for transmission to your partners.

Learn more about EDI structure

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