Home /  Guides / 

What is a Stedi Guide?

Stedi guides are a machine-readable format for EDI implementation guides.

This page explains why implementation guides are required for EDI integrations and how Stedi guides differ from traditional guide formats.

New to EDI? We recommend reviewing our EDI Essentials documentation. It explains why EDI is used in business transactions and the various components of an EDI document's structure.

EDI implementation guides

You and your partners must agree upon an EDI format for all of the business documents you plan to exchange. You define these EDI requirements in an implementation guide, also known as a companion guide, EDI reference guide, or just guide.

You create one implementation guide for every transaction set. For example, you need an implementation guide for a purchase order and a separate guide for an invoice. An implementation guide is similar to a schema definition, with a few peculiarities specific to EDI.

Base specification

All implementation guides are customized versions of a base specification. There is a base specification for each type of transaction set. For example, there is one for invoices, one for health care claims, and one for ship notices.

There are several EDI standards that provide base specifications. The most common are X12 and EDIFACT. The EDI Reference documentation contains a full list of base specifications for each standard.

Base specifications are designed to cover all possible use cases for the transaction set. For example, the base specification for ship notices contains fields for every type of ship notice you could ever encounter.

Base specifications are far too generic for day-to-day use. Instead, you and your trading partner must agree on what that transaction set should contain for your use cases and then adjust the base specification accordingly. The result is an implementation guide, which contains only a subset of segments from the base specification. Implementation guides can have other differences from the base specification as well. For example, some segments that are optional in the base specification may be marked as mandatory in the implementation guide.
Each trading partner has their own implementation guide for each type of transaction. For example, Lowe's, Walmart, and JCPenney all have separate implementation guides for the X12 855 Purchase Order.


Implementation guides include information like expected fields, data types and sizes, and which fields are required. You can use these details to validate incoming and outgoing EDI documents.

Stedi guides vs. standard guides

Standard implementation guides are typically in a static format, like PDF, CSV, or even Word document files. In contrast, Stedi guides display EDI requirements as interactive web pages with built-in validation.

Stedi guides are also machine-readable, so you can use them with EDI Translate to read and write EDI documents according to each partner's EDI requirements.
Visit the EDI Guide Catalog to browse a directory our most-requested guides.
EDI implementation guidesStedi guides vs. standard guides


Have an idea for something we could improve? Page not clear? We love feedback - send us a message.


Build EDI integrations fast, without being an EDI expert

Start building
  1. Twitter
  2. GitHub
Backed by
AdditionBloomberg BetaFirst RoundStripeUSV
Customer AgreementService TermsPrivacy Notice

Stedi is a registered trademark of Stedi, Inc. All names, logos, and brands of third parties listed on our site are trademarks of their respective owners (including “X12”, which is a trademark of X12 Incorporated). Stedi, Inc. and its products and services are not endorsed by, sponsored by, or affiliated with these third parties. Our use of these names, logos, and brands is for identification purposes only, and does not imply any such endorsement, sponsorship, or affiliation.