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The Usage Guideline Editor allows the formalization of a field/element format as an MT Format. The MT format language is defined by Swift. It describes how a field is structure by specifying :

  • which type of characters can be used in that field
  • what are the restrictions on the length of the field (i.e. how many times each type of character can appear and in which order)

Here is a simplified definition of those two attributes: 

Types of characters allowed
n numeric digits (0 to 9) only
a alphabetic letters (A through Z), upper case only
c alphabetic letters (upper case) and digits only
h hexadecimal letters A through F (upper case) and digits only
x any character of the X permitted set, upper and lower case allowed
y any character of the EDIFACT level A character set as defined in ISO 9735 upper case only
z any character as defined by the Information Service
e blank space
d decimals
Restrictions on Length
nn maximum length (minimum is 1)                       
nn..nn minimum and maximum length
nn! fixed length  
nn*nn maximum number of lines times maximum line length


2n : up to 2 digits

3!a : exactly 3 uppercase letters

4*35x : up to 4 lines of up to 35 characters each

16..64h : at least 16 and up to 64 hexadecimal digits