Open iXBRL Quick Start Guide


This guide offers a brief overview in how to use IRIS OpeniXBRL to convert accounts written in Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel to an iXBRL or XBRL document. It should be used in conjunction with the IRIS OpeniXBRL User Manual which gives in-depth explanation of all of the available features. The User Manual can be accessed by clicking Help on any page when logged in to IRIS OpeniXBRL.

This guide does not cover the principles of XBRL or iXBRL nor how they apply to the tagging of accounts. It also assumes that a user has already successfully logged into IRIS OpeniXBRL and changed their password from the default assigned by their support desk.

Preparing the accounts

In order to upload a set of accounts to IRIS OpeniXBRL the document containing them must be in Microsoft Word 2007 and up (".docx") or Microsoft Excel 2007 and up (".xlsx") format. Files in other formats must be converted prior to uploading to IRIS OpeniXBRL. There are also various other requirements surrounding the formatting of the accounts, including:

  • File size
  • Table format
  • Text format
  • Defined print areas
  • Use of embedded objects/special text types and rich content
  • Required information (taxonomy dependent)

Users are strongly advised to refer to the detailed requirements outlined in the User Manual when preparing their accounts.

Create a new filing

This guide refers to both filers and filings with the following meanings:

  • filer is the entity that is the subject of the document being tagged.
  • filing represents a single document containing company accounts. All filings must be associated with a filer to allow documents relating to a particular entity to be grouped together.

To create a new filing, click on Add New Filing on either of IRIS OpeniXBRL's Home or Filings pages. The Add Filing wizard will then appear from where you can create a new filer, choose whether to base the new filing on an existing filing, choose the taxonomy required, enter the dates for the accounting period and give the filing a descriptive name. It is also possible to select what tags should be exported and confirm what decimal separator your accounts use.

Depending on what taxonomy you are using, you may then be prompted to complete some Fact Information in a subsequent dialog, before a final pop-up will appear allowing you to browse to the accounts you wish to upload. By default your document will be autotagged upon import, but there is a checkbox here which can be unticked should this not be required. At this stage users can also choose to create a new filing based on a previous filing – this roll forward support is discussed in more detail in IRIS OpeniXBRL's User Manual.

The presentation of the final iXBRL document can be reviewed at this point by clicking on Tag Document.

Tagging a filing

There are three different types of tags that can be created in IRIS OpeniXBRL:

  • Table tags: These are created by the intersection of a tagged row and a tagged column.
  • Text tags: These can be applied to any text in the document including numbers. Text tags can also be used to tag numbers in a table where the table does not fall into the normal table structure.
  • Hidden tags: These are tags for which there is typically no text within the document with which to associate them.

Tag creation in IRIS OpeniXBRL can be either automatic, meaning that the tags have either been suggested by the suggestion engine or migrated from a previous filing, or manual. Further information is provided in the User Manual.

Suggested tagging workflow

IRIS OpeniXBRL is designed with a particular tagging workflow in mind. This consists of three main tagging stages which are summarised in the text and workflow diagram below:

  • Automatic tagging is the automatic identification and tagging of context and line items by IRIS OpeniXBRL for data in financial tables. By default, auto tagging is carried out automatically when a new document is uploaded into IRIS OpeniXBRL and so users will need to review the line item and column contexts suggested by IRIS OpeniXBRL's suggestion engine. If the filing has been created based on a previous filing then these migrated tags can also be confirmed during the review process (see the User Manual for more information about migrated tags).
  • Manual tagging is the identification and tagging of any information not tagged using IRIS OpeniXBRL's auto tagging capability.
  • Hidden tagging is the addition of tags defined by the chosen XBRL taxonomy but not usually found in company accounts.

The review page

Auto tagged tables can be quickly reviewed and confirmed using the review pane, accessible from the main tagging interface via the Review button.

The main part of the review screen (left hand side) shows the converted iXBRL document; the right hand side allows you to choose whether to review, update or delete both column contexts and line items.

It is also possible to bulk review line item suggestions for a table using the Bulk Review button available on table mouseover. This opens the Bulk Review Line Items Dialog which shows you the line item suggestions for a table, along with their confidence levels. By using the checkboxes next to the line items in the dialog, you can swiftly bulk review an entire table.

Further reading

For further information on reviewing line items and contexts created by auto tagging, refer to the User Manual.

Manual tagging

Whilst auto tagging the document provides automatic suggestions for financial tables in a document, users may need to insert additional manual tags either within the document's text, or manually tag numerical values inside tables which cannot be auto tagged.

To manually tag a fact in the filing, select the relevant text in the main review window. A list of concept suggestions will appear in the tagging pane. If the correct concept appears in the list, click on it and then click Select Concept. Otherwise, use the Browse Concept feature to browse the taxonomy tree to find the relevant concept.

After selecting a concept, the Tag Details and Dimensions can be reviewed before a tag is applied. Text that has been tagged will be highlighted in yellow. To update or delete a manually entered tag, select the highlighted text from the main review window and make the necessary changes in the tagging pane.

There are a variety of other features available to enable efficient and valid tagging, including:

  • Common tags (UK filings only) – allows quick addition of tags that are either required, or commonly used, in filings.
  • Nested tags – allows tagging portions of text already included in another tag; distinguished by alternate yellow and orange highlighting.
  • Multiple tags –IRIS OpeniXBRL allows tagging of identical portions of text with different concepts.

If during the tagging process, you attempt to either create or update a tag such that a duplicate tag will be formed, IRIS OpeniXBRL will provide you with a Duplicates Warning. At this point there is the option to either proceed with the duplicate tag by pressing OK, or the option to Cancel and return to the tagging screen to amend the tag's details. This warning will occur when duplicate tags are about to be created both during manual text tagging and when auto tagging tables. Different jurisdictions have different rules about whether inconsistent or consistent duplicate tags are permitted, and IRIS OpeniXBRL adheres to these rules appropriately on a per taxonomy basis – more information about specific jurisdictions are provided in the User Manual.

In some cases, users may also need to manually tag a table, for example when it is not be possible for IRIS OpeniXBRL to auto tag a table. The process is similar to creating manual text tags. Users should navigate to the table, select the arrow above the column and confirm the details in the tagging pane. Then the appropriate rows should be selected, the Line Item radio button enabled and the desired suggestion applied.

Further reading

More detailed information about manual tagging is included in the User Manual.

Hidden tags

Information that is usually not exposed as text in accounts but must be reported in the filing is stored in an iXBRL document as Hidden Tags. These include information such as whether the company is trading or not.

The hidden tags can be created and edited using the hidden tags screen, accessible by selecting Add Hidden Tags from the main tagging page.

Further reading

For UK filers seeking a guide to the HMRC tagging requirements, please refer to the HMRC XBRL Guide and the IRIS OpeniXBRL Filers' Guide.

Adding comments to a filing

IRIS OpeniXBRL allows comments to be added to any selection of text, or any tags (i.e., manual tags, line items, columns and hidden tags). Free selection comments can be made by selecting the text you wish to comment on, and tag comments can be added when creating tags (except common tags), or when editing any tags using the comments section on the tagging pane. Comments will not be included in the exported iXBRL, XBRL, Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel document, but will be listed in the exported Microsoft Excel review spreadsheet.

Further reading

More information on commenting is provided in the User Manual.

Adding footnotes to a filing

IRIS OpeniXBRL allows you to create footnotes within your iXBRL/XBRL document using the main tagging interface. To create a footnote, highlight the text you wish to use and select the Footnote radio button from the tagging pane. Footnotes created in IRIS OpeniXBRL will then be indicated within the document screen by grey highlighting. It is then possible to assign a name to the footnote and choose the language from the dropdown menu (defaulted to English), before clicking Apply to finish creating the footnote. These footnotes can then be associated with manual and line item tags via the main tagging interface, or with hidden tags via the Hidden Tags page.

Further reading

More information on creating and associating footnotes is provided in the User Manual.

Modifying a Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel document while tagging

IRIS OpeniXBRL provides support for you to export your Microsoft Word 2007 and up or Microsoft Excel 2007 and up document during the tagging process and then re-import an edited version, via the process of round-tripping. For example, you may want to:

  • Edit some figures.
  • Alter the formatting of the document.
  • Add or remove content from the document.

To export a Microsoft Word/Excel document part way through the tagging process, open the filing from the Home or Filings page and click on Export Microsoft Word Document or Export Microsoft Excel Document. Confirming the export will lock the document to further tagging until it has been re-imported. After marking the document as exported, you can download it, make edits in Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel, and then re-import the document back into IRIS OpeniXBRL using the Import Document button.

NOTE:  Only the exported document can be re-imported to IRIS OpeniXBRL – it is not possible to re-import two exported filings which have been merged into one document.

When re-importing an exported document, IRIS OpeniXBRL will report any changes made to the content of confirmed tags during this round-trip process.

Validating a filing

Throughout the tagging process it is possible to check the validity of your iXBRL document by clicking on Validate document in the tagging pane. This will bring up a pop-up dialog showing the current validation errors for your filing. Users will only be able to export their filing as an iXBRL or XBRL document provided there are no validation errors in the document.

NOTE (UK filings only):  The Additional HMRC Rules section will list any warnings related to known HMRC bugs, however users will still be able to choose to continue with the export of their valid iXBRL or XBRL despite these warnings.

Exporting a filing

Exporting iXBRL

NOTE:  The option to export iXBRL will only be available to users of certain taxonomies (e.g., UK GAAP, UK IFRS and DCCA). Users belonging to service providers with only demo access will not be able to export the iXBRL document, although they will see the validation results for their tagged document.

Clicking Export iXBRL will start the IRIS OpeniXBRL iXBRL validation process. If the iXBRL is valid, download will begin automatically and your browser will prompt you to "Open" or "Save" the iXBRL file to your computer. The iXBRL file contains the formatted document and all of the tagging that has been applied in IRIS OpeniXBRL. Once tagging is complete, this is the file that should be submitted to HMRC.

Should the iXBRL fail IRIS OpeniXBRL's validation process, you will be given the option to see the errors found or return to tagging your document.

Exporting XBRL

NOTE:  The option to export XBRL will only be available to users of certain taxonomies (e.g., IN GAAP). Users belonging to service providers with only demo access will not be able to export the XBRL document, although they will see the validation results for their tagged document.

The export XBRL function works similarly to that of exporting iXBRL. Provided both the XBRL and iXBRL is valid, download will begin automatically and your browser will prompt you to "Open" or "Save" the XBRL file to your computer. If for some reason the validation process fails, you will be given the opportunity to look at the errors found or return to tagging your document.

Submitting to Companies House

NOTE:  This functionality is made available on a per deployment basis and as such will only be available to certain users for specific taxonomies (e.g., UK GAAP).

To submit a filing to the Companies House gateway, click on the hyperlink Submit to Companies House on the Filing Details page. You will be prompted to enter your Presenter ID, Presenter Authentication Code and your Company Authentication Code (as well as confirming your Company Name, which defaults to your filer name). Clicking Submit will then begin the submission process to Companies House.

Further reading

For further information on submitting your filing to the Companies House gateway, refer to the User Manual.



Adding a new filing, Create a new filing
Auto tagging, The review page


Bulk review, The review page


Comments, Adding comments to a filing
Companies House submission, Submitting to Companies House
Concept browser, Manual tagging
Consistent duplicates, Manual tagging


Duplicates warning, Manual tagging


Embedded objects, Preparing the accounts
Exportinga filing, Exporting a filing
XBRL, Exporting a filing
Microsoft Excel document, Modifying a Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel document while tagging, Exporting a filing
Microsoft Word document, Modifying a Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel document while taggingExporting a filing
XBRL, Exporting XBRL


File size limit, Preparing the accounts
Footnotes, Adding footnotes to a filing


Get suggestions, Manual tagging


Headers, Preparing the accounts
Hidden tags, Hidden tags
HMRC requirements, Hidden tags


Importing Microsoft Excel document, Modifying a Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel document while tagging
Importing Microsoft Word document, Modifying a Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel document while tagging
Inconsistent duplicates, Manual tagging
iXBRL Validation, Exporting a filing


Joint Filing Common Validation Checks, Preparing the accounts


Line items, The review page


Manual tagging, Manual tagging
Minimum tagging set, Create a new filingTagging a filing


Preparing the accounts, Preparing the accounts


Required information, Preparing the accountsCreate a new filingReview page, The review page
ReviewingBulk, The review page
Rich content, Preparing the accounts
Round-tripping, Modifying a Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel document while tagging


Special text types, Preparing the accounts
Submitting to Companies House, Submitting to Companies House
Suggested tagging workflow, Suggested tagging workflow


Tagging Hidden tags, Hidden tags
Manual tagging, Manual tagging
Tagging a filing, Tagging a filing
Tagging colours, The review page


Uploading a document, Create a new filing


Validate document, Exporting a filing
Viewing duplicate tags, Manual tagging