EDGAR® Renderer Technical Operation

Several alternative installation strategies can be followed:

  1. Install a pre-built application.  (See Quick Start)
  2. Install from sources on gitHub.

Once installed there are three strategies for using the EDGAR renderer:

  1. Interactively from its GUI. (See Quick Start)
  2. Technical Operation
    1. From command line.  (Can be integrated to your preparation environment.)
    2. As a web service.  (Can use built-in web service, Apache CGI, or IIS CGI.)
    3. Polled operation as a daemon service.


Pre-built application

(See Quick start)

From gitHub sources

Please install the following components on your platform:

  • Python 3.4 or 3.5 from python.org or other
  • Python libraries for: lxml, numpy, isodate, regex, openpyxl, pyparsing, pywin32 (Windows only), dateutil, six, tornado, matplotlib and cherrypy. (You may use pip, easy_install, or Windows binaries on http://www.lfd.uci.edu/~gohlke/pythonlibs/)
  • Arelle® Source code on gitHub (master branch suggested)
  • EDGAR Renderer Source code on gitHub (release 16.4). Suggested installation location is under Arelle’s plugin directory – {installed Arelle location}/arelle/plugin/EdgarRenderer

User Operation

Interactively from its GUI

(See Quick start)

Command line operation

Try “about” to see if it loads correctly.

Windows pre-built app:
arelleCmdLine -a

Mac app:
Arelle.app/Contents/MacOS/arelleCmdLine -a

Windows from gitHub sources
c:\python35\python arelleCmdLine.py -a

MacOS from gitHub sources
python3.5 arelleCmdLine.py -a

Try help (showing flags only)
{arelle} -h

Load inline XBRL /somewhere/myTest.htm, validate, and put output rendering output results to /somewhere/out, also copying source document to output for ixviewer:

{arelle} -f /somewhere/myTest.htm --plugins EdgarRenderer --disclosureSystem efm-pragmatic --validate -r /somewhere/out

The -r out directory is cleared by the on each run to assure no remaining files from a prior run may be intermixed. Please don’t point the -r out directory to a shared location.

The -f parameter may be a zip file, in which case all the instances detected in the root directory of the zip are processed.

The file -f parameter may be a JSON structure (as used in EDGAR itself) to pass in more information about the filing (see validate/EFM/__init__.py) such as:

  • for a single instance filing, such as an SDR K form (without \n’s pretty printed below):

    -f '[{"file": "/Users/joe/.../gpc_gd1-20130930.htm",
    "cik": "0000350001",
    "cikNameList": {"0001306276":"BIGS FUND TRUST CO"},
    "exhibitType":"EX-99.K SDR.INS",
  • for multiple instances (SDR-L’s), add more of the {"file": ...} entries.
  • for Windows called from Java, the JSON must be quoted as thus:

    -f "[{\"file\":\"z:\\Documents\\...\\gpc_gd1-20130930.htm\",
    \"cik\": \"0000350001\",
    \"cikNameList\": {\"0000350001\":\"BIG FUND TRUST CO\"},
    \"submissionType\":\"SDR-A\", \"exhibitType\":\"EX-99.K SDR.INS\"}]"

Further details of instructions are in the comments to plugin/EdgarRenderer/__init__.py

Web service operation

You may use the built-in web server or install to Apache/CGI or IIS/CGI (see documentation – API Web Services)

To start the built-in web server:
Windows pre-built app:
arelleCmdLine --webserver locahost:8080

Mac app:
Arelle.app/Contents/MacOS/arelleCmdLine --webserver locahost:8080

Default is a single-thread web server. To add multi-threaded serving, specify the CherryPy server, {arelleCmdLine} --webserver localhost:8080:cherrypy.

To test that it is operating, from browser: http://localhost:8080/about. For help: http://localhost:8080/help.

To run a validation on a zip file containing the instance document and link bases:

curl -X POST "-HContent-type: application/zip"
-T myInstanceAndLinkbases.zip
-o edgarRendererResultsOutput.zip

The log file of messages and errors will be in the zip as “log.xml” in xml format (or .txt or .json, as you wish).

The input file (posted by web service request) may be a zip file, in which case all the instances detected in the zip file’s root directory are processed.

Polled operation as a daemon service

See directory plugin/EdgarRenderer/svc_template. Batch scripts BuilderService.bat and .sh start a polling application, which looks for input zip files in a subdirectory Filings, processes each instance detected in the zip file root directory, puts results in Reports, archives input in Archive, and errors to Errors. It’s the basis of the server behind the firewall for the SEC Previewer.

Prior instructions for EDGAR release 16.1 and a polling-based operation

This section will be deleted in a future update.

Install Python 3.4.2, its libraries, and Arelle

Install Python and Arelle for Edgar Renderer (Windows 64)version - 3.4.2 (for Edgar Renderer
filesize - 64.37 MB

Retrieve the file install-python-3.4.2-arelle-windows.zip. You can either save it, or simply open it and unzip it to a convenient location such as your Desktop.

Inside the folder is a batch script file install-for-rendering-engine.bat; double-click on it to run it.

The script will ask you to press “y” or “Enter” before proceeding with each step.  It will also notify you of errors or warnings that you can safely ignore.

The first operation will run an installation dialog for Python 3.4.2.

(The prompt, Press “ignore” to “Could not update environment variable PathExt”, expects you to press enter. On some systems (Windows 10 on Parallels on Mac) you may need to press enter more than one time for the Python installation dialog to start up.)

The Python installation dialog will present you with choices and a “Next >” button. We suggest these settings:

Select whether to install Python 3.4.2 (64-bit) for all users of this computer.

* Choose “Install for all users.”

* Click Next >

Select Destination Directory

* Important: Keep the default, which is c:\Python34

* Click Next >

Customize Python 3.4.2 (64-bit):

Register Extensions






Utility scripts




Test Suite


Add python.exe to Path


*Click Next >

Installation will run for a few moments.

* Click Finish.

After the Python installation dialog finishes, the underlying DOS command prompt window should reappear and be active with the prompt “Press any key to continue”. You’re not done yet! Please press the enter/return key, which starts batch scripts to install libraries. After installing the libraries, they will be listed and then there will be another prompt: “Press any key to continue”. The following libraries will be installed:

jdcal (1.0)
lxml (3.4.1)
matplotlib (1.4.2)
numpy (1.9.1)
openpyxl (2.1.4)
pip (1.5.6)
pyparsing (2.0.3)
python-dateutil (2.4.0)
pytz (2014.10)
pywin32 (219)
regex (2014.12.24)
setuptools (2.1)
six (1.9.0)

You may now press the enter/return key again and the MSDOS command window will be closed.

Your Start Menu should now show a new program “Python 3.4 Command line 64-bit”.

If you wish to check that the installation has succeeded so far, you can type this as a command (you may have to really type it into a DOS command window, pasting it may insert control characters from the web browser that won’t work):

c:\python34\python -m arelle.CntlrCmdLine --version

You should see this line of output (the date refers to the date of Arelle, not the current date):

Arelle(r) 64bit 2014-10-07 17:36 UTC

At this point you can safely delete the install-python-3.4.2-arelle-windows zip file and extracted folder.

Install the EDGAR Renderer

Edgar Rendererversion -
filesize - 14.61 MB
Retrieve the file edgar_renderer_3_3_0_814.zip and extract its contents to the “c:” drive.

This will create four folders:


and two batch scripts:


Double-click on the batch script c:\re3\RunSamples.bat; if everything is working correctly, it will run the EdgarRenderer.bat program on three sample XBRL filings that have been provided in the samples folder. Their outputs will be in these folders:


As the RunSamples.bat script illustrates, you run EdgarRenderer with a “-f” argument that is either an XBRL instance, a zip file containing an XBRL instance and other files, or on any folder containing XBRL files.

Go to a command shell and run this command to see all of the arguments to the program:

c:\re3\EdgarRenderer.bat --help | more

Contact and Support

End user support is by e-mail direct to SEC at: StructuredData@sec.gov

Developer issue management is by the Jira Edgar Renderer project: https://arelle.atlassian.net/projects/ER


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