EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) is a standard format for exchanging business data. The standard is ANSI X12 and it was developed by the Data Interchange Standards Association. ANSI X12 is either closely coordinated with or is being merged with an international standard, EDIFACT.
An EDI message contains a string of data elements, each of which represents a singular fact, such as a price, product model number, and so forth, separated by delimiter. The entire string is called a data segment. One or more data segments framed by a header and trailer form a transaction set, which is the EDI unit of transmission (equivalent to a message). A transaction set often consists of what would usually be contained in a typical business document or form. The parties who exchange EDI transmissions are referred to as trading partners.
EDI messages can be encrypted.