csv format

This doc is for version dev.


CSV - how hledger reads CSV data, and the CSV rules file format


hledger can read CSV files, converting each CSV record into a journal entry (transaction), if you provide some conversion hints in a "rules file". This file should be named like the CSV file with an additional .rules suffix (eg: mybank.csv.rules); or, you can specify the file with --rules-file PATH. hledger will create it if necessary, with some default rules which you'll need to adjust. At minimum, the rules file must specify the date and amount fields. For an example, see How to read CSV files.

To learn about exporting CSV, see CSV output.


The following six kinds of rule can appear in the rules file, in any order. Blank lines and lines beginning with # or ; are ignored.



Skip this number of CSV records at the beginning. You'll need this whenever your CSV data contains header lines. Eg:

# ignore the first CSV line
skip 1



When your CSV date fields are not formatted like YYYY/MM/DD (or YYYY-MM-DD or YYYY.MM.DD), you'll need to specify the format. DATEFMT is a strptime-like date parsing pattern, which must parse the date field values completely. Examples:

# for dates like "6/11/2013":
date-format %-d/%-m/%Y
# for dates like "11/06/2013":
date-format %m/%d/%Y
# for dates like "2013-Nov-06":
date-format %Y-%h-%d
# for dates like "11/6/2013 11:32 PM":
date-format %-m/%-d/%Y %l:%M %p

field list


This (a) names the CSV fields, in order (names may not contain whitespace; uninteresting names may be left blank), and (b) assigns them to journal entry fields if you use any of these standard field names: date, date2, status, code, description, comment, account1, account2, amount, amount-in, amount-out, currency. Eg:

# use the 1st, 2nd and 4th CSV fields as the entry's date, description and amount,
# and give the 7th and 8th fields meaningful names for later reference:
# CSV field:
#      1     2            3 4       5 6 7          8
# entry field:
fields date, description, , amount, , , somefield, anotherfield

field assignment


This sets a journal entry field (one of the standard names above) to the given text value, which can include CSV field values interpolated by name (%CSVFIELDNAME) or 1-based position (%N). Eg:

# set the amount to the 4th CSV field with "USD " prepended
amount USD %4
# combine three fields to make a comment (containing two tags)
comment note: %somefield - %anotherfield, date: %1

Field assignments can be used instead of or in addition to a field list.

conditional block



This applies one or more field assignments, only to those CSV records matched by one of the PATTERNs. The patterns are case-insensitive regular expressions which match anywhere within the whole CSV record (it's not yet possible to match within a specific field). When there are multiple patterns they can be written on separate lines, unindented. The field assignments are on separate lines indented by at least one space. Examples:

# if the CSV record contains "groceries", set account2 to "expenses:groceries"
if groceries
 account2 expenses:groceries
# if the CSV record contains any of these patterns, set account2 and comment as shown
monthly service fee
atm transaction fee
banking thru software
 account2 expenses:business:banking
 comment  XXX deductible ? check it



Include another rules file at this point. RULESFILE is either an absolute file path or a path relative to the current file's directory. Eg:

# rules reused with several CSV files
include common.rules


Each generated journal entry will have two postings, to account1 and account2 respectively. Currently it's not possible to generate entries with more than two postings.

If the CSV has debit/credit amounts in separate fields, assign to the amount-in and amount-out pseudo fields instead of amount.

If the CSV has the currency in a separate field, assign that to the currency pseudo field which will be automatically prepended to the amount. (Or you can do the same thing with a field assignment.)

If an amount value is parenthesised, it will be de-parenthesised and sign-flipped automatically.

The generated journal entries will be sorted by date. The original order of same-day entries will be preserved, usually.