XBRL Detailed Footnote Tagging Requirements (and definitions)

As we’ve learned from previous filings of XBRL, the SEC requires four levels of tagging for each financial report.  All reports for periods ended after June 15, 2012 requires tagging with DFN.

The four levels of tagging required are:

  • Level 1 – Block tagging.  Each footnote is tagged as a single block of text
  • Level 2 – Policy text blocks.  Each accounting policy is tagged as a single block of text
  • Level 3 – Table text blocks.  Each table of data in the footnotes is tagged separately
  • Level 4 – Each number, amount or percentage requires tagging whether presented in a table or within the footnote narrative.

DFN and Dimensions 

Dimensions provide a way to express complex or multidimensional relationships in disclosures. They allow you to further describe reported information by associating the information with more than one characteristic. Dimensions are comprised of Tables, Axis, Domains, Members and Line Items.


XBRL Tables are a collection of facts arranged in a structured manner by using Dimensions and Members.

  • Dimensions, represented by the Axes, apply to a common theme about which more detailed information is provided. 

Axes are dimensional components used to differentiate facts; examples are:

    • Segment Axis
    • Country Axis
    • Product Axis
  • The Domains are a collection of Members.  The Members are descriptors (ie. nouns and adjectives) that further define a fact to represent one of the possibilities within a domain.

A Domain is a set of members used to classify facts along the axis of a table;

    • “Minnesota” is a member in the domain “States”
    • The Minnesota member would be used to classify Revenue or Assets in Minnesota as distinct from other states
    • When a fact applies to the entire domain (e.g., a “Total”), it does not have any member specified
  • A “Dimensional Qualification” is a fact defined dimensionally with a member and maybe defined with multiple dimensions.

A Member is an element representing one of the possibilities within a domain.   For example:

    • Individual Segments
    • Types of Debt
  • Line Items are used to tag numeric facts.  Line items are also referred to as “concepts” or “elements.”

Line Items carry the core attributes relating to the fact being tagged. Line items contain:

    • Unit Type
    • Period type
    • Balance attribute

 Key Point: Members are the adjectives that add further meaning to the line items

Wow. My brain is about to explode now.

Have a great day.

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