EDI Segments Usage

EDI Segments Usage – Mandatory/Optional

EDI Segments Usage depends on partner specifications agreed during testing and setting stage. When business partners discuss the list of EDI documents they are going to use in their relationship, they set specific rules to electronic data interchange process. EDI specifications include the fields and the segments one trading partner will send to convey the information to another one. Such specification also set rules for EDI segments usage – if the definite segments should be optional or mandatory.

EDI Segments can be of two types – mandatory and optional.

M (mandatory) means obligatory EDI Segments Usage. Usually this type of segments represent the main information in a document (other segments or document itself can not be read or understood right without mandatory segment). If the standard sets this segment as mandatory, it can not be used other way.

Examples of mandatory segments:


This is (BEG) segment heading – it contains general information. The Purchase order can not be identified without this segment:

  • Purpose (00 – Original)
  • Type (SA – Stand-alone Order)
  • Order number (ASNTESTORD)
  • Date (20150615 – 6 June 2015)


Segment (PO1) is a segment with details. It contains basic data concerning goods. PO is used for ordering goods and contains the main needed information about goods. That is why the segment is mandatory.

O (optional) – non-obligatory EDI Segments Usage, usually contains secondary and auxiliary information. If the standard determines it as optional, the segment can be both used or not. The absence of an optional segment will not be a mistake.

Example of optional segment:

PER*DC**TE*(123) 456-7890~

(PER) segment stands for Administrative Communications Contact, contact information in other words:

  • Contact person regarding delivery (DC – Delivery Contact)
  • Communication method (TE – Telephone)
  • Telephone number – (123) 456-7890.

It may seem that the described information concerning EDI Segments Usage is not too critical and the document can be read without it, however EDI Segments Usage can influence proper EDI documents exchange. Violation of the rules set in the partner specifications may cause EDI document failure and provoke charges.

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