An EDI message contains a string of data elements, each representing a singular fact (price, product model number, etc.) and is separated by a delimiter. Each string in its entirety is called a data string. One or more data segments framed by a header and a trailer form a transaction set, which most likely will consist of what would be contained in a typical business document or form.
Sending an EDI document consists of (1) preparing the document to be sent, (2) translating the document into EDI format using a translating software, and (3) connecting and transmitting the document to the business partner. Translation software owned by the companies is able to process the information sent and received, to determine the buyer’s/seller’s company name, order numbers, purchase items and prices, etc. and performs a complete audit of each step to ensure information is sent or received in EDI format. This information can be sent to an order entry system without ever necessitating manual order entry.