Date of this version


Document Type



XBRL; Data Retrieval Process; EDGAR


The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has upgraded the existing system of Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval (EDGAR), to Interactive Data Electronic Applications (IDEA) platform, using eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL). In January 2009, the SEC issued its final mandate for XBRL adoption and the conversion target dates for all firms. This conversion enables users to retrieve listed companies’ financial statement information at two levels, document and the data element, compared to the document level alone under the existing system of EDGAR. Beneficial to all users, this change is particularly important to resource strapped entities such as small businesses, universities; user friendly for students researching information. With simply the industry standard tool of Microsoft Excel, without expensive proprietary XBRL modules, detailed information is now available, quickly, efficiently and at minimum cost. This paper explains the basic concept of XBRL and demonstrates the ease of the retrieval process in Microsoft Excel.

Published in

Journal of Instructional Techniques in Finance

Citation/Other Information

4(1), 12-21.