EDI 850 - Purchase Order

The EDI 850 is a type of electronic data interchange transaction set that contains details about an order. Also known as an electronic purchase order, an EDI 850 is usually sent to a vendor as the first step in the ordering process.

An EDI 850 generally provides the same information you would find in a paper Purchase Order (PO) document, including:

  • Item, prices and quantities ordered
  • Shipping details
  • Payment terms
  • Discounts
EDI-x12 transaction codes

View the full list of EDI X12 documents and transactions

What is EDI 850?

An EDI 850 also known as an electronic purchase order, is usually sent to a vendor as the first step in the ordering process.  A buyer will use EDI purchase orders to order products to be shipped to a distribution center, a store or the end consumer. An EDI 850 can be used both for a single purchase, for recurring purchases, or to delete or amend an order as specified by the buyer. The 850 can contain a single ship-to location or multiple ship-to locations.

This electronic document complies with the ANSI X12 EDI specification.

Benefits of the EDI 850

Even though a paper purchase order contains the same information, sending it electronically offers benefits for both buyers and sellers.  

All EDI documents are securely encrypted in transit, allowing trading partners to send sensitive data such as pricing and contact information safely. Using an EDI 850 also helps to streamline order processing, so sellers can optimize their business operations, and buyers can receive their goods quickly.

Reduced Manual Effort

Improve Cash Flow

Eliminate Errors

No delays between your customer sending an order and you receiving it

How is an EDI 850 Used?

Traditionally the EDI 850 documents are sent from the buyer to the seller to commence an order. After receiving an EDI 850 purchase order, the vendor will confirm receipt of the document with an EDI 997 Functional Acknowledgement

Other EDI documents that can be exchanged in response to an EDI 850 can include:

EDI 850 Purchase Order Segments

Instead of a paper-based purchase order delivered via snail mail or fax the EDI 850 is the electronic version that contains:
  • PO Number
  • Order date 
  • Requested shipping and/or delivery date 
  • Vendor details ( name, address and/or contact details)
  • Buyer details (name and delivery address)
  • Buyer billing information 
  • Item identifiers, such as product SKUs or UPC’s 
  • Quantity and unit of measure of items ordered 
  • Price per unit, as well as the total price for the order 
  • Shipping terms, (shipping method, preferred carrier, and desired delivery date)
  • Proposed payment terms 
  • Allowances and charges 

EDI 850 Purchase Order Specifications

The EDI 850 X12 Transaction set is used to initiate an order in an industry-standard specified format.


The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) chartered the Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X12 to develop uniform standards for inter-industry electronic exchange of business transactions, namely electronic data interchange. ASC X12 also contributes to UN/EDIFACT messages that are used widely outside of the United States.

EDI 850 Purchase Order Transaction Sample

The example below shows the raw EDI data, which is then translated by your business system (ERP) to begin the fulfillment process.


N1*ST*XYZ RETAIL*9*0003947268292
N3*31875 SOLON RD

Frequently Asked Questions

The EDI 850 transaction, commonly known as the Purchase Order (PO), is a standard electronic document used to communicate purchase order details between trading partners in supply chain management. It specifies the items, quantities, prices, and terms agreed upon by the buyer and seller for the purchase of goods or services.

The EDI 850 transaction streamlines the procurement process by automating the exchange of purchase order information between trading partners. This eliminates the need for manual data entry, reduces processing time, minimizes errors, and improves the overall efficiency of ordering goods or services.

Yes, the EDI 850 transaction can accommodate complex purchasing scenarios by allowing for the inclusion of various data elements such as multiple line items, item descriptions, pricing terms, discounts, shipping instructions, and payment terms. This flexibility enables trading partners to communicate detailed purchase order information accurately.

For buyers, the use of the EDI 850 transaction enhances procurement efficiency, reduces paperwork, and facilitates accurate order fulfillment, leading to improved inventory management and cost savings. For sellers, it enables faster order processing, better visibility into customer demand, and smoother supply chain operations, resulting in enhanced customer satisfaction and increased sales opportunities.

Successful implementation of the EDI 850 transaction requires trading partners to align their systems and processes, adhere to EDI standards such as ANSI X12 or EDIFACT, establish clear communication protocols, and conduct thorough testing to validate the accuracy and reliability of the electronic exchange of purchase order data. Ongoing collaboration and monitoring are also essential to address any issues and optimize the use of the transaction.

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With fast and reliable translation, you can rest assured that your EDI processes are in safe hands, allowing you to focus on what truly matters – your business. 

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5. 100% EDI compliance guaranteed
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Looking for more? We got you!

We got the goods to help you utilize your EDI services effectively. We encourage you to explore our available resources below

Commport EDI Buyers Guide

Full List of EDI ANSI X12 Documents and Transactions

Read the full list of EDI x12 Documents and Transactions. PDF version available for download!
The Complete EDI Guide

The Complete EDI Guide

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