What is EDI ANSI ASC X12 Standards?

ANSI stands for American National Standard Institute founded by the Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) in 1979 to develop uniform standards for the inter-industry electronic exchange of business transactions, namely electronic data interchange (EDI). This standard is also sometimes called ANSI X12 Standard or just simply X12.

ANSI ASC X12 EDI Standard - Commport Communications

What is EDI ANSI ASC X12 Standards?

ANSI ASC X12 standards are a set of standards and rules that determine a specific syntax for structuring and transferring business documents electronically between partners.

There are many names for the ANSI ASC X12 standards. Sometimes they are called the EDI ASC X12, ANSI X12, ASC X12, or sometimes it’s just simply called X12

History of EDI ANSI ASC X12 Standards

Way back in the 1960’s railroad companies developed and used inter-company communications. By the 1970s many big grocery retailers started using EDI and proliferated their early form of technology. By 1973 the committee that had been established in the 1960s decided to create a set of standards that all EDI users could use to make the exchange of information seamless. In 1981 these standards eventually became ratified as the EDI ANSI X12 standard in use today.

ASC X12 has sponsored more than 315 X12-based EDI standards and a growing collection of X12 XML Schemas for insurance, healthcare, government, transportation, finance, and many other industries.

EDI ANSI ASC X12 Standards Key Takeaways

EDI X12 – A continuously adapting language and expansive vocabulary that allows millions of transactions a day seamlessly flow.

Here are some key takeaways while using EDI ANSI ASC X12 Standards,

  1. Consensus-Based: Developed and maintained through stakeholder consensus
  2. Interoperable: Complementary to other standards organization work
  3. Syntax-Neutral: Produced in and compatible with many syntaxes
  4. Ready for the Future: Continuously adapting language and vocabulary

What is ASC X12 Transaction Set?

The transaction set is a single business document such as an invoice, purchase order, ship notices, healthcare claim, etc. Each set of transaction data is identified by a 3-digit code number and there are hundreds of transaction sets available in the ANSI ASC X12 standards.


ANSI X12 Message Structure

ANSI X12 messages consist of 3 parts.

  1. Header
  2. Detail
  3. Summary

An ANSI X12 message always begins with the Transaction Set Header (ST) segment in “1. Header” and always ends with the Transaction Set Trailer (SE) segment in “3. Summary”.

In between the Transaction Set Header (ST) segment and Transaction Set Trailer (SE) segment, there are segments with an ID and Title in a desired sequence of segments. The content and sequence vary for the type of ANSI X12 EDI message type as outlined in the figure above.


ASC X12 Segments and Sequence

The following Purchase Order example, shows which segments can be used in the transaction set and the desired sequence of segments:

ID            TITLE

ST           Transaction Set Header

BEG        Beginning Segment for Purchase Order

CUR       Currency

REF         Reference Identification

PER        Administrative Communications Contract

TAX        Tax Reference

FOB        F.O.B. Related Information

CTP        Pricing Information

PAM      Period Amount

CSH        Sales Requirements

TC2         Commodity


Beginning and ending of ASC X12 Transaction Set

A transaction in an X12 document always begins with the Transaction Set Header (ST) segment

A transaction in an X12 document always ends with the Transaction Set Trailer (SE) segment

Benefits of X12 EDI

  1. Allows transfer of documents from business to business without the hurdle of incompatible software or unsecured connections.
  2. X12 document transaction sets support many different industries from insurance to healthcare and transportation to communication.
  3. X12 standards play a key role in the healthcare industry by following the rules of HIPPA, the law which requires a national standard for healthcare transactions.
  4. One of the most valuable X12 assets is its comprehensive transaction set which includes commonly used business transactions or documents such as invoices, shipment notices, or purchase orders.

X12 boasts over 300 transaction standards within five industry-based subsets or sub-standards

ANSI X12 EDI Document Types / EDI Transaction Codes by Industry

List of ANSI X12 EDI Subcommittees

The ASC 12 standards committee is divided into six subcommittees which are,

X12C – Communication and Controls

X12F – Finance

X12I – Transportation

X12J – Technical Assessment

X12M - Supply Chain

X12N - Insurance

X12M - Supply Chain


101 Name and Address Lists

X12F - Finance


103 Abandoned Property Filings

X12I - Transportation


104 Air Shipment Information

X12N - Insurance


100 Insurance Plan Description

X12C - Communications and Controls


102 Associated Data