Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) File Translation

WHAT IS EDI? YOUR COMPLETE GUIDE

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is a flat file format that trading partners can use to securely send and receive business transactions or files across worldwide organizations.

What is EDI?

EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) lets you securely send and receive business transactions.

EDI, which stands for Electronic Data Interchange, is a flat file format used by B2B trading partners. Today, many organizations satisfy EDI file requirements with a mix of:

  • Written scripts
  • Homegrown tools
  • Single-use PC applications
  • Manual processes, like email, mail, and fax

While these methods still let businesses receive files, translate them to or from EDI X12 formats, and move them to other applications or servers for storage or processing, they can be time-consuming to maintain and difficult to integrate.

How EDI Works: B2B Trading Partners

Both parties must agree on a transaction set before files are exchanged. Each transaction set corresponds with a number and type of document. For example, 850 is a transaction set for purchase orders, so all files under 850 must be purchase orders and follow standard EDI file formatting.

Who Uses EDI?

EDI is frequently used to send and receive everyday transactional files, like purchase orders and invoices, but it’s commonly employed in industries that require easy-to-follow audit trails, including:

  • Banking and finance organizations
  • Technology businesses
  • Retail stores
  • Healthcare organizations
  • Higher education

Industry-specific requirements also call for and benefit from EDI formats. While retail and logistics, alongside healthcare, often exchange EDI-compliant documents, higher education and technology find EDI useful as well. With over 300 types of transaction sets, chances are there’s an EDI file format that will meet your requirements.

Keep reading: How an EDI Solution Simplifies Business Processes

What are the Benefits of EDI?

Using EDI to replace email, fax, and mail communications can save organizations time and money. Rather than relying on manual back-and-forth exchanges, automating data transfers with EDI can reduce time spent waiting on paper missives or manually entered information.

EDI provides real-time visibility into transfer statuses – no more checking for mail, deciphering illegible handwriting, or sifting through email chains. Because EDI is built on standardized data structures, many EDI software solutions facilitate translation to and from EDI, helping map each data point to its correct place. With an EDI software solution, you can move directly to the next step in your process rather than doing manual data entry.

Keep reading: Centralizing Your EDI X12 File Translation

Why Use GoAnywhere for Your EDI File Translation?

GoAnywhere MFT is a leader in Managed File Transfer (MFT) on G2 GoAnywhere MFT is a leader in Enterprise Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) on G2

GoAnywhere MFT is a secure managed file transfer solution that helps organizations secure, simplify, and automate their file movement between users, systems, applications, trading partners, and the cloud. With GoAnywhere, organizations that need EDI file translation can easily read, write, map, and move X12 and XML files between databases. Organizations will also automatically be provided a receipt when an EDI file is received with auto generated 997 responses to the ReadX12 task with EDI 997 Functional Acknowledgment.

With GoAnywhere’s built-in EDI features, you can customize and centralize your encryption and data translation right in the product. This all-in-one approach can help you save the time and costs that are traditionally required to hard-code data maps. GoAnywhere’s other features for encryption, automation, and reporting work alongside EDI file translation to ensure your data is protected and streamlined 100% of the time.

Read the EDI Datasheet |

With GoAnywhere’s partner management system, you can filter connections (components, resources, audit logs) coming from a specified location or source. This PartnerInfo function helps to identify all transactions and related activity by individual trading partners.

Read X12 Task in EDI Data Mapping Tool

Related Webinar: Get the Most Out of GoAnywhere: EDI & AS2

Simplify Your File Transfers

Traditional EDI tools can be complex and time-consuming to set up and manage. Take care of file transfers and EDI in one easy-to-use solution for better efficiency and less overall cost. Request a demo and explore the benefits of GoAnywhere for yourself.

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EDI Terms to Know

ASC X12 – Stands for the Accredited Standards Committee X12. It is a standards organization and develops and maintains the X12 EDI and CICA standards, along with XML schemas that drive business processes globally.

CICA – Short for Context Inspired Component Architecture. It is ASC X12’s message-design methodology, created to help resolve costly, differing, and often incompatible XML messages used for B2B (Business-to-Business) data exchange.

Computer-to-computer – EDI replaces physical communications like mail and fax, and internet-based methods like email by letting computers handle sending a receiving data, with very little human input.

EDI – Short for Electronic Data Interchange. It is a flat file format that B2B trading partners use to send and receive business transactions. Both parties must agree on a transaction set before files are exchanged. Each transaction set corresponds with a number and type of document.

EDIFACT – Stands for the Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport. It is the international EDI standard developed by the United Nations.

Transaction Set – a single X12 EDI document. Transaction sets are made up of data elements, segments, and envelopes.

X12 – A form of EDI data that is supported by the ASC X12 standard. It is used by organizations worldwide to exchange sensitive data with other businesses.

More file transfer terms to know

Secure EDI X12 Data Translation

What is EDI X12?

X12 is a form of EDI data that is supported by the Accredited Standards Committee X12 (ASC X12). X12 documents adhere to strict formatting rules introduced in 1979 by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) that facilitates data movement between organizations and is used by organizations worldwide to exchange sensitive data with other businesses.

Reliance on EDI X12 standards to exchange files between organizations is increasing. Businesses expect that their trading partners can handle high-volume transfers of EDI X12 documents. Because of this, there’s a growing need for critical EDI data translation and AS2 server protocols to be included in a secure, centralized, and affordable solution. Why AS2? AS2 is frequently used by trading partners when transferring EDI documents.

X12 in GoAnywhere

GoAnywhere supports EDI X12 data translation. This allows you to read, write, and map EDI X12 and EDI XML files between databases, as well as:

  • Cut time and costs traditionally required to hard-code data maps
  • Centralize your encryption and data translation in one tool
  • Map data with a browser-based wizard
  • Securely send EDI X12 and XML data transfers

Learn how easy it is to translate source and target data formats with GoAnywhere

Data Mapping Tool

Our data mapping graphical interface makes it easy for users to read and write EDI X12 and XML tasks. With GoAnywhere’s built-in Data Mapping tool, you can:

  • Map everything from shipping orders to purchase orders to educational records
  • Visually map your EDI data between RowSets and files
  • Translate Read EDI X12 tasks to an EDI X12 document to one or more RowSet variables using predefined transaction set formats

Translating To and From EDI

Organizations often use varying data standards and formats that aren’t easily input into a trading partner’s database. Converting your internal data to the EDI standard format, or converting your trading partner’s data from EDI to your internal format, by using a software solution reduces manual entry and saves organizations time. EDI software typically allows you to read, write, and map EDI files between databases. Look for solutions that also allow you to:

  • Cut time and costs traditionally required to hard-code data maps
  • Centralize your encryption and data translation in one tool
  • Map data with a browser-based wizard
  • Securely send EDI X12 and XML data transfers

Keep reading: EDI File Translation

EDI software helps you translate your data to the EDI format and send the date, and can help your trading partners translate EDI to their internal data format.

EDI Transaction Sets

EDI Transaction Sets

GoAnywhere comes with out-of-the-box integrations for popular web and cloud applications. This includes integrations for more than 6,800 EDI X12 data transaction sets. With GoAnywhere, it’s easy to get started with your EDI data translation needs. A starter pack will give you access to 6 templates. After this pack is purchased, additional transaction sets are also available.

GoAnywhere’s transaction sets include:

  • 850 Purchase Order
  • 113 Educational Institution Record
  • 144 Student Loan Transfer and Status Verification

Learn more about GoAnywhere’s cloud integrations and data transaction sets >

EDI and AS3/AS4

GoAnywhere’s built-in EDI capabilities work seamlessly with GoAnywhere’s AS3 and AS4 client and server software for sending and receiving files seamlessly. AS2 is also supported for those still on AS2. By centralizing the encryption and data translation of your files within a single MFT product, you can greatly simplify the exchange of critical EDI documents with your AS2/AS3/AS4 trading partners.

With GoAnywhere you can:

  • Fully automate your AS2, AS3, and AS4 protocol transfers
  • Encrypt X12 and XML files with strong AES-256 bit encryption
  • Generate detailed audit logs with AS2, AS3, and AS4 transfer information
  • Securely exchange EDI X12 and XML files between businesses

Learn more about GoAnywhere’s AS2 protocol software for client and server transfers

What is EDIFACT?

EDIFACT is the most popular EDI data standard outside North America.

EDIFACT, the Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce, and Transport, is the United Nation’s answer to EDI, and as such is the most popular EDI data standard outside of North America. It’s widely used in Europe- and Asia-based organizations, and an increasing number of organizations in the United States are adopting EDIFACT alongside EDI

EDIFACT, like EDI, provides a clear set of syntax rules on how to structure data and standardize messages to smooth cross-industry and multi-country exchange.

What is the Difference Between EDI and EDIFACT?

EDI X12 and EDIFACT are both standards that help exchange electronic business documents securely, and while they’re similar in concept, they’re somewhat different in what they offer and how they function. Each has a different terminology and document structure, but both can be boiled down to secure file transfer methods.

Keep reading: EDI X12 vs. EDIFACT: What's the Difference?

The Accredited Standards Committee X12, chartered by ANSI (American National Standards Institute) maintains EDI standards, while the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and the International Organization for Standardization both support EDIFACT.

Because EDI is more U.S.-focused, EDI is often used to create HIPAA-compliant documents; EDIFACT does not offer HIPAA documents.

GoAnywhere MFT and EDIFACT

GoAnywhere is EDIFACT compatible. GoAnywhere’s support for the global EDIFACT standard allows you to read and write EDIFACT files in GoAnywhere with trading partners all over the world.

With EDIFACT compatibility you can:

  • Send standard messages to accommodate interaction among various industries and countries
  • Provide a set of syntax rules to structure data
  • Provide an interactive exchange protocol (EDI)

Learn more about the EDI transaction sets we offer here

"We use [GoAnywhere MFT] mainly for processing vendor invoices and customer EFT payment advices. This saves our accounting department many hours every day processing simple and redundant tasks. They have more time for problem solving."
Gordon S., IT Consultant at Trans Am Piping Products | Capterra Review

EDI & EDIFACT Tutorials

How-to tutorials for using EDI and EDIFACT.

How to Import an EDI X12 Document into a Database

Learn how to read data from an EDI X12 document using the Read EDI X12 task in GoAnywhere MFT and insert the data into a database table.

How to Query a Database and Write the Data to an EDI X12 Document

Learn how to query a database table and write the data to an EDI X12 document using the Write EDI X12 task.

How to Import an EDIFACT Document into a Database

Learn how to read data from an EDIFACT document using the Read EDIFACT task in GoAnywhere MFT and insert the data into a database table.

How to Query a Database and Write the Data to an EDIFACT Document

Learn how to query a database table and write the data to an EDIFACT document using the Write EDIFACT task.


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Achieve More with GoAnywhere MFT

GoAnywhere MFT offers more than just EDI file translation. Expand the security, functionality, and flexibility of our file transfer solution with a selection of licensable modules.

  • Advanced Workflows: Achieve secure FTP automation. Define how your file transfers and processes are configured.
  • Secure Folders: Grant trading partners and customers access to authorized files and folders.
  • Secure Mail: Send encrypted messages and files through GoAnywhere's web client or Microsoft Outlook.
  • Cloud Connectors: Achieve easy connectivity with popular cloud and web applications like Box and SharePoint.

Explore our full list of modules

Using EDI in Your Organization

Centralize your encryption and data translation with one easy-to-use solution. Save the time and costs usually required to hard-code data maps. Ensure your data is always protected with encryption, automation, and reporting, alongside EDI file translation with GoAnywhere MFT. See our EDI data translation capabilities in action today.

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