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Author's profile photo Niranjan Nagle

IDoc Basics For Functional Consultants


Today IDocs are used in most SAP applications for transfer of message(information) from SAP system to other systems and vice versa. Though lot of documentation is available on IDocs it is difficult for a functional consultant to understand such documents due to their technical nature.  While a functional  consultant  is not expected to know the IDoc concepts in its entirety, an effort has been made to capture the minimum necessary information that one needs to be aware of in order to handle project/support issues on IDocs.


IDoc is an SAP object that carries data of a business transaction from one system to another in the form of electronic message. IDoc is an acronym for Intermediate Document. The purpose of an IDoc is to transfer data or information from SAP to other systems and vice versa.  The transfer from SAP to non-SAP system is done via EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) subsystems whereas for transfer between two SAP systems, ALE is used.

IDoc can be triggered in SAP system or in EDI subsystem. This depends on the direction in which IDoc is sent and is called as Inbound IDoc and Outbound IDoc accordingly. In case of outbound flow, IDoc is triggered in SAP through document message control which is then sent to EDI subsystem. EDI converts the data from IDoc into XML or equivalent format and then sends the data to partner system through Internet.

For inbound flow, EDI converts partner data and IDoc is created in SAP. After successful processing of this IDoc, Application Document is posted in SAP.



“EDI is electronic exchange of business document between the computer systems of business partners, using a standard format over a communication network”. EDI stands for Electronic Data Interchange.

For transmission of information electronically, two widely used standards are ANSI ASC X12 and EDIFACT. ANSI ASC X12 is a committee formed by representatives of major organizations, government bodies and EDI software companies which defines standards and guidelines for information interchange over EDI. UN/EDIFACT stands for United Nations EDI for Administration, commerce and Transport and was formed in 1985 using ANSI X12 and UNTDI (United Nations Trade Data interchange) as base standards. ANSI X12 describes business document as transactions and each transaction is represented by three digit number e.g. 850 – Purchase Order, 855 – Purchase Order Acknowledgement. EDIFACT describes business document as messages, represented by standard names e.g. ORDERS for purchase order.



IDoc Types are based on the EDI standards and mostly on EDIFACT standards. 

Basic Types (or IDoc Type) defines the structure of an IDoc. Each basic type describes standard IDoc segments, format of data fields and their size. Basic Type also defines number of segments and fields in an IDoc. All the fields that are necessary for transmission of message for a particular business transaction are mapped in different segments. It also defines the structure and relationship of IDoc segments along with mandatory and optional segments.



Basic type contains all the standard fields that are necessary for carrying out a business transaction. However, if any additional values are to be sent to the partner then we can make use of the IDoc Extension feature. IDoc extension is extension of basic type and contains additional custom IDoc segments and fields that are not available in standard basic type.


IDoc segments contain the actual data that is sent to or received from a partner. These segments contain the actual values that are sent as part of IDoc transmission.



IDoc segment is termed as Parent segment if it contains its own segments. The dependent segments are called as child segments.



IDocs sent outside the system are termed as Outbound IDocs and the ones that are received into the system, are called as Inbound IDocs.



This signifies the direction is which information is sent and is similar to terminology used in mails. If information is sent outside the system then the direction is outbox when it is received into the system then direction is inbox. In SAP Outbox direction is represent by “1” i.e. outbox and Inbox direction is represented by “2”.



Partner is the Business Partner with which the exchange of information is to take place using IDoc. It can be a vendor or customer or any other system. Depending on the direction of information in which the information is sent it plays a role of either a “sending partner” or a “receiving partner”.



Partner type/role is used to identify partners within the sap systems. Partner type is KU for customer, LI for vendor and LS for Logical System.



IDoc processing involves transmission or receipt of document in the form of a message, each of which represents a document in SAP. These documents can be Order, Shipment Confirmation, Advance Shipping Notification, Goods Receipt, or Invoice.  Message type is associated with Basic IDoc Type (Basic Type) and defines the kind of data or document that is exchanged with the partner.


The process code contains the details of the Function Module that are used for IDoc processing. Message Type can be linked to the Process code.


IDoc Port contains the information about the way data is sent between the source or target system. The type of port defines the information contained within the port. For port type “Internet” Port will contain IP address of the target system. For port type “file”, directory or file name information is maintained. “tRFC” port contains information about the RFC destination of the target system. For IDoc transmission using ALE “tRFC” ports are used.



Partner profile must be maintained for all the business partners to whom we want to send or receive the IDocs. The TCODE for maintaining the partner profile is WE20.


Double clicking on the Partner will show the following screen:


Partner profile contains parameters for Inbound and Outbound processing of IDocs. For each message type we can maintain, inbound/outbound options, message control, post processing options and contact information within Inbound and outbound parameters.


This involves sender/receiver port, Output mode and relation to IDoc type i.e. Basic Type and extension.



This contains application for which IDoc will be created e.g. EF for Purchase order, the message type of the application that will trigger the IDoc and Process Code that will convert SAP document to an IDoc. For example, if PO is to be sent to the Vendor AXXXXZ, then in the outbound option of the partner AXXXXZ we need to maintain the message type ZXX1 and link it to the Process Code ME10. So when message type ZXX1 is triggered in the PO then an IDoc will be created for the partner vendor AXXXXZ.

Process Code is linked to the Function Module in SAP that converts application data into an IDoc. Standard function modules are provided by SAP for this conversion however these can also be customized as per business needs.


Change Message Indicator indicates whether the IDoc is sentas a notification of change. For example, Purchase Order change messages are sent to vendor using EDI standard message type 860. 


Separate message type should be triggered in the purchase order for PO change. Additional line with change message type must be added in the Message control tab with change message indicator on.



For inbound options process code is maintained in the Inbound screen only. IDoc processing can be triggered by background program and triggered immediately.



In the post processing option we can maintain the workflow details of the users or positions to which an error notification will be sent if an IDoc processing fails.



We can also maintain the contact details in the telephony option.



EDI standard screen contains the details of the Standard EDI terminology used for the IDoc transmission.


For example, Message Type 850 is an EDI standard for Purchase Order IDoc and is linked to IDoc Message Type Orders.



IDoc structure is divided into Control Record, Data Records and Status records.


These records are stored in the transparent tables in SAP. These are EDIDC, EDID4 and EDIDS.


It contains information such as IDoc number, direction, IDoc Status, Basic Type, Message Type, Partner (Sender/Receiver), date and time of creation/update, Interchange File or ISA number,etc.




It contains the details of the IDoc segments.


IDoc segment has fields that contain the data necessary for posting the documents.




IDoc Status defines the processing status of the IDoc. IDoc statuses are used to track the IDoc and its various processing states. Status Numbers represents IDoc status. Current status of the IDoc is present in Control record.


Initial Status numbers are 64 for inbound and 03 for outbound. Successful status is 53 for inbound and 16 for outbound IDocs.



Outbound IDocs can be triggered from the output message types of Purchase Orders, deliveries, Material Documents, invoices, etc. The following figure shows that once the output ZXX1 of PO XXXXXXX1 is processed an IDoc “000000XXXXXXXXX1” is added/created.


The relationship between the IDoc and the application document can be found in two ways:

1. Relationship tab of IDoc



2. Relationship tab of Application Document, e.g. PO, SO, Material Document, etc.


The initial status of this IDoc will be 30, which after successful processing will convert into status 16.


A successful outbound IDoc will pass through all the above statuses in reverse order (01-03-18-06-12-16). Each status represents an IDoc validation step. If an IDoc passes all the validations it would reach status 16. These different validation steps for outbound IDocs are explained below:

01: IDoc generation successful

30: IDoc is ready to be processed by IDoc Processing job

03: IDoc data is passed to the Port

18: IDoc successfully triggered EDI subsystem

06: IDoc data translated to EDI format

12: IDoc is dispatched successfully to the partner

16: Partner has received the IDoc successfully

IDoc can possibly fail at any of the above steps during validation.


The initial status of an inbound IDoc is 64 and successful status is 53.

Different validation steps for inbound IDocs are explained below:

50: IDoc received successfully in the system

64: IDoc is ready to be processed by IDoc processing job

53: Application document created and saved successfully. The document number can be found by expanding the status node 53



An inbound IDoc goes through all the above statuses in reverse order (50-64-53).



In this case, IDoc are processed immediately as they generated or added in the system. The check “Transfer IDoc immediately” is selected in Outbound Options and “Trigger Immediately” is selected in Inbound Option. These checks are generally used when the real time information exchange is necessary between two systems.




IDocs can also be manually processed using the TCODE BD87 in SAP.


IDoc processing by background is the most preferred way of processing the IDocs. Following Programs are used from processing the IDocs using background job:

RBDAPP01 – Inbound IDocs

RSEOUT00 – Outbound IDocs


On the basis of IDoc statuses different programs can be used for reprocessing of failed IDocs. These are given below:



IDocs can be displayed in system via TCODE WE02 and WE05. If IDoc number is not known then  search can be made on the basis of IDoc Date, Direction, BASIC TYPE, MESSAGE TYPE, and PARTNER NUMBER. Partner number can  be found in the Output Messages of the documents.



IDoc search can also be made on the basis of ISA or Transfer file Reference.



If we are looking for specific information within the IDocs Segments then this can be found using TCODE WE09. This is useful if you are searching for a particular information in similar kind of IDoc within IDoc segments. For example, if you want to search a particular Purchase Order number e.g. 100000001 in multiple IDocs which lies in Segment E1EDK01 of an IDoc under field BELNR. Then the search can be executed in the following manner.




Though, the IDoc failure may not be related to any of the above mentioned reasons, the best way to find the IDoc error is to compare the existing IDoc with the good example. Good example IDoc can be easily searched with any of the IDoc search methods as described above.


IDoc documentation can be found using TCODE WE60 and can be helpful to obtain information of the IDoc Type or its particular segment. It also provides information such as  mandatory and optional segments, minimum and maximum number of segments, etc.



The following list gives the Basic Type and Message Type combination for common idocs


As IDocs grow older they are archived and deleted from the database. Archived IDocs can be viewed using TCODE SARI in Achieve Explorer using archiving object as IDoc. Following are the few programs that are used for archiving and deletion of IDocs from database.


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      Author's profile photo B S Hada
      B S Hada

      Very Informative, thanks

      Author's profile photo Santhosh Venreddy
      Santhosh Venreddy

      Many Thanks for this information

      Author's profile photo Upendra Tiwari
      Upendra Tiwari

      It's really very helpful..


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Niranjan Nagle,
      thank you so much for this helphul information, I've read  your explanation  about IDOC and I'm thinking to use it to post a Sales Order on SAP.
      My client is asking me to post SO based on the existing data in the Purchase order.
      Based on your explanation in the "Overview" paragraph, you said " for transfer between two SAP systems, ALE is used" do you think if I used ALE it will be feasible for such requirement.
      Please let me know your opinion and if you have any explanation regarding my client requirement,
      Thank you so much,

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Mohamad,

      Yes, it is true that ALE can be used in this scenario. I am assuming you are trying to post SO in one system that triggers PO in another system.

      You still have to generate outbound IDoc (for SO) in sending system and Inbound IDoc (for PO) in receiving system. Please check with your basis consultant on the usage of ALE in this scenario.


      Author's profile photo CMA Ramesh Kolluru
      CMA Ramesh Kolluru

      Excellent Article ...aptly tailored for functional consultants like me. Thanks a lot for your efforts and time.

      Author's profile photo DAMODAR SAI MALLIKA

      Very Helpful.. Good Work

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      very useful. Thanks.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      This is Very useful document.

      Thank you Very Very much

      Respect your hard work and knowledge sharing spirit

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Very much informative.

      Thank you.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      I found this information really useful.  Well explained.  Appreciate the work you have put into this.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Great work Niranjan.



      Author's profile photo Adarsha Ak
      Adarsha Ak

      Thanks for making us to understand in simple way.



      Author's profile photo Angelo Flores
      Angelo Flores

      Great. Thanks.

      Author's profile photo Marky ACS
      Marky ACS

      Hi Niranjan Nagle

      Good day

      Do you have also an article that explain how does SAP populate IDOCS?




      Author's profile photo Raghava S
      Raghava S

      Hi Niranjan,


      Well documented...! You simply rocked it.



      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member


      Very helpful documentation. Thank you for sharing this with us.

      Best Regards,


      Author's profile photo Nripacharya Chowdhury
      Nripacharya Chowdhury

      Very helpful document.

      Author's profile photo Muniasamy G
      Muniasamy G

      Hi Niranjan...very informative docs..keep rocking

      Author's profile photo Felipe Ricardo Guerra Soto
      Felipe Ricardo Guerra Soto

      Hi Niranjan Nagle, thank you so much for this great document with very useful information.

      Author's profile photo Jeff Sirkis
      Jeff Sirkis

      I have been reading everything I can find regarding IDoc and EDI and this is the best post I have found. Thank you for sharing!

      Author's profile photo Santosh Mathew
      Santosh Mathew

      Awesome Blog. Had I read this blog before I could have got through my interview ? :). Great work and very useful for functional guys like me. This is more than basic information and everything at one place. Great!!

      Author's profile photo Rahul Ramesh
      Rahul Ramesh

      Extremely helpful read!

      Thanks for sharing.

      Author's profile photo Vijay Sonavane
      Vijay Sonavane

      Thanks for sharing.

      Very much informative doc.

      Author's profile photo Deepesh Kumar
      Deepesh Kumar

      Very Helpful

      Author's profile photo Linh Huynh
      Linh Huynh

      Thanks so much for your post.

      It is very useful information for me.

      Author's profile photo Sijin Chandran
      Sijin Chandran

      This document is GOLD especially for IDOC beginners like me. It really helped me in getting a clear picture of IDOCs. This should be a one stop document which everyone should refer before getting into IDOCs.

      And not only for Functional even for Technical(am a Technical resource) as well this document is very helpful.




      Author's profile photo Roddi Gee
      Roddi Gee

      Thanks for your post. Well written and extremely useful and helpful!

      Author's profile photo Sreemohan Sivadasan
      Sreemohan Sivadasan

      Excellent document and contains very useful information.

      Author's profile photo narayanappa k
      narayanappa k

      Thank you for in detailed explanation on IDOCs. Very informative.

      Author's profile photo nitish chawla
      nitish chawla

      Even after 8 years of publishing... document is still relevant and informative 🙂

      a big thanks !!!

      Author's profile photo Jorge Velásquez
      Jorge Velásquez



      How do you send  Product Category to CPI --> C4C



      Author's profile photo Naga Koteswara Rao Panchumarthi
      Naga Koteswara Rao Panchumarthi

      Good one...


      Author's profile photo Sai Kumar Mada
      Sai Kumar Mada

      Hats up and big thank you.

      Author's profile photo JAGANNATHAN SRINIVASAN

      Thanks a lot for a wonderful effort. Even though as a Functional Consultant I can wash off my hand to the technical consultant stating failure of idoc, after going through I can provide more inputs to the technical guy based on your document for quickly resolving the issue of why idocs failed. Great effort

      Author's profile photo Rajya Lakshmi Chithaluri
      Rajya Lakshmi Chithaluri

      Nice document (Y)

      Author's profile photo Navya Sree
      Navya Sree

      Very Informative and Thanks for the explanation.

      Author's profile photo Babu Abraham Gidla
      Babu Abraham Gidla

      Thanks a ton. Really very helpful and you did a real help here.

      Author's profile photo Bob marray
      Bob marray

      Very helpful documentation. Thank you for sharing this with us.

      Author's profile photo Halil Erdur
      Halil Erdur
      very informative article, thank you very much, we look forward to the next :) 
      Author's profile photo Tiarnan Mc Gabhann
      Tiarnan Mc Gabhann

      Really really useful post. Thank you very much.

      Author's profile photo Nikiforos Liang
      Nikiforos Liang


      Author's profile photo Veena Valsan
      Veena Valsan

      Excellent writing . Found it very useful..! Thank you!

      Author's profile photo bolin zhang
      bolin zhang

      Very Helpful!

      Thank you!

      Author's profile photo Manoranjan Tamilarasan
      Manoranjan Tamilarasan

      Its Excellent

      Author's profile photo Srujana Kalwa
      Srujana Kalwa

      Easy to understand and beginner friendly!

      Author's profile photo Daniel Junior
      Daniel Junior

      Good quality content, thanks a lot for your help.