Thursday, 24 November 2011

Easy access to SEC XBRL spreadsheets via a web app

Thought I ought to act on my last blog post and make things even easier. So I've created a simple web app to speed up downloading XBRL spreadsheets into Excel. Nothing special - just saves you a few clicks and some messing around when all you want to do is analyse a company in Excel. It can be found at All that's required is a simple login, a couple of clicks and away you go.


This has been updated so you can now download and compare multiple companies using their XBRL tags. See my later post Instant comparisons of XBRL data in Excel. It's still possible to access the SEC financial report spreadsheet by clicking on the filing type (e.g 10-K) in a list of filings produced by a search.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Accessing SEC XBRL spreadsheets directly

As I mentioned in a previous post - Seeing XBRL for free, you can circumnavigate the SEC viewer and go directly to a pre-canned spreadsheet of the entire filing!

Here's the specifics of how to do it:

Use a URL with the following format:[CIK]/[Accession No]/Financial_Report.xls

where [CIK] and [Accession No] are the unique filer and filing identifiers you need to insert which can be found by doing an Edgar search or in an RSS feed of Edgar filings. The Accession Number must be a fixed length of 18 digits so must include any leading zero's. The opposite is true for the CIK - variable length and no leading zero's.

So if you wanted the 2011 Apple 10-K in Excel you would create the following link. Click on it and it will download.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Firefox XBRL Add-on

Continuing my trawl through the free viewers.....

As I mentioned in my previous post, the Firefox XBRL Add-on, although apparently not supported, has a couple of tricks up it's sleeve.

With the Firefox XBRL Add-on you can view any of the taxonomies used in the creation of the XBRL and you can drill down into the notes for a financial statement item by clicking on it to reveal a pop up box that will show any links, providing these have been enforced in the original document. Charles Hoffman calls this "metadata leveraging".

He also discovered that you can do some crazy stuff by dragging & dropping the headings around like you can in an Excel pivot table to totally customise the view. You can do this with any heading with a triangle in the top left hand corner. You can swap them round or drop them onto "[DRAG PAGING COLUMNS HERE]". Not sure how useful it is at this level but it's mildly entertaining. Perhaps more usefully, you can choose to view only specific data items or periods by clicking on the "Item" and "Date" headings (with the triangles in the corner) to reveal lists with check boxes. You can't however save these settings to use with other documents.

And It will turn XBRL into iXBRL and vice versa, although the iXBRL doesn’t always render perfectly but if you wanna turn XBRL into a single document to read offline, it’s fairly adequate.

The Add-on is not based on the Rivet open source code. Don't be put off by the fact that Firefox says it's not compatible with version 5. It will install and work once you relax Mozilla's strict compatibility enforcement in the options. Click on a copy of the instance document on an Edgar filing page and (after a short interlude) the add on will kick in to enable you to see the document. You can also view documents on your hard drive, although it will need a connection to download the taxonomies before it will load.

Of course the fact it is in Firefox maybe a problem. I moved over from Firefox to Chrome last year so it's not where I'd ideally like it.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Seeing XBRL for free

Continuation of previous post - Where do I want to see XBRL?

So what can the free viewers do for us? Starting with the SEC viewer, this fires up as soon as you choose the interactive data option from a list of Edgar filings. You can choose to view any of the financial statements or notes from a side menu or more significantly you can click on a link to dump all the data into Excel, except for the fact that it doesn't, as the data is already there! - more on this later as this creates an interesting possibility. You can only view one company at a time but of course you can always Edgar search for another company in a new tab in your browser. Clicking on the name of a data item brings up a pop up box from which you can expand an option to view a definition or important details such as the name of the tag.

Rivet CrossView Preview as a viewer has a number of advantages over the SEC one. You don’t have to wade through a large list of filings to find the one you want as the index only deals in XBRL. Each filing you choose comes up as a separate tab so it's easy to view more than one company at a time. The last option on the tool bar will mark which data items are from the filer's extended taxonomy i.e. not a standard item and hence which are not very useful when comparing one company with another. This option will even be greyed out if none of the data items have been extended - always a very good sign!

The catchily titled RR Donnelly XBRL Interactive Viewer does all the things the CrossView viewer does but has a worse look and feel. Also rather annoyingly, when you select a company, it shows the bottom of the list of filings so you invariably have to page up to get to the latest ones.

Most significantly, all three viewers let you download the entire document into Excel (minus the really rather useful tags) in an identical format with each section in a separate sheet in the workbook. These spreadsheets are pre-canned so in the case of the SEC viewer this brings us back to the interesting possibility that you can circumnavigate the software and go directly to the spreadsheet! e.g. this link will take you to a spreadsheet of Apple's 2011 10-K. More on this in a following post.

You can also link directly to a specific section in a report using both the SEC viewer or CrossView Preview. Charles Hoffman has more on this.

It is also worth mentioning the Firefox XBRL Add-on which, although apparently not supported, has a couple of tricks up it's sleeve which I will come to in my next post.