This doc is for version dev.


hledger - a command-line accounting tool




hledger is a cross-platform program for tracking money, time, or any other commodity, using double-entry accounting and a simple, editable file format. hledger is inspired by and largely compatible with ledger(1).
Tested on unix, mac, windows, hledger aims to be a reliable, practical tool for daily use.

This is hledger’s command-line interface (there are also curses and web interfaces). Its basic function is to read a plain text file describing financial transactions (in accounting terms, a general journal) and print useful reports on standard output, or export them as CSV. hledger can also read some other file formats such as CSV files, translating them to journal format. Additionally, hledger lists other hledger-* executables found in the user’s $PATH and can invoke them as subcommands.

hledger reads data from one or more files in hledger journal, timeclock, timedot, or CSV format specified with -f, or $LEDGER_FILE, or $HOME/.hledger.journal (on windows, perhaps C:/Users/USER/.hledger.journal). If using $LEDGER_FILE, note this must be a real environment variable, not a shell variable. You can specify standard input with -f-.

Transactions are dated movements of money between two (or more) named accounts, and are recorded with journal entries like this:

2015/10/16 bought food
 expenses:food          $10

For more about this format, see hledger_journal(5).

Most users use a text editor to edit the journal, usually with an editor mode such as ledger-mode for added convenience. hledger’s interactive add command is another way to record new transactions. hledger never changes existing transactions.

To get started, you can either save some entries like the above in ~/.hledger.journal, or run hledger add and follow the prompts. Then try some commands like hledger print or hledger balance. See COMMANDS and EXAMPLES below.


Two simple transactions in hledger journal format:

2015/9/30 gift received
  assets:cash   $20

2015/10/16 farmers market
  expenses:food    $10

Some basic reports:

$ hledger print
2015/09/30 gift received
    assets:cash            $20
    income:gifts          $-20

2015/10/16 farmers market
    expenses:food           $10
    assets:cash            $-10
$ hledger accounts --tree
$ hledger balance
                 $10  assets:cash
                 $10  expenses:food
                $-20  income:gifts
$ hledger register cash
2015/09/30 gift received   assets:cash               $20           $20
2015/10/16 farmers market  assets:cash              $-10           $10

More commands:

$ hledger                                 # show available commands
$ hledger add                             # add more transactions to the journal file
$ hledger balance                         # all accounts with aggregated balances
$ hledger balance --help                  # show detailed help for balance command
$ hledger balance --depth 1               # only top-level accounts
$ hledger register                        # show account postings, with running total
$ hledger reg income                      # show postings to/from income accounts
$ hledger reg 'assets:some bank:checking' # show postings to/from this checking account
$ hledger print desc:shop                 # show transactions with shop in the description
$ hledger activity -W                     # show transaction counts per week as a bar chart


To see general usage and the command list: hledger -h or just hledger. To see usage for a specific command: hledger COMMAND -h.

hledger has several kinds of options:

Command arguments may also follow the command name. In most cases these specify a query which filters the data. Command options and arguments can be intermixed.

Option and argument values containing problematic characters should be escaped with double quotes, backslashes, or (best) single quotes. This means spaces, but also characters which are significant to your command shell, such as less-than/greater-than. Eg: hledger register -p 'last year' "accounts receivable (receivable|payable)" amt:\>100.

Characters which are significant to the shell and also in regular expressions, like parentheses, the pipe symbol and the dollar sign, must sometimes be double-escaped. Eg, to match the dollar symbol: hledger balance cur:'\$' or hledger balance cur:\\$.

There's more.. options and arguments being passed by hledger to an add-on executable get de-escaped once in the process. In this case you might need triple-escaping. Eg: hledger ui cur:'\\$' or hledger ui cur:\\\\$.

If in doubt, keep things simple:

If you're really curious, add --debug=2 for troubleshooting.

General options

Always available, can be written before or after COMMAND.

show general usage (or after COMMAND, the command's usage)
show the current program's manual as plain text (or after an add-on COMMAND, the add-on's manual)
show the current program's manual with man
show the current program's manual with info
show version
show debug output (levels 1-9, default: 1)
-f FILE --file=FILE
use a different input file. For stdin, use -
Conversion rules file to use when reading CSV (default: FILE.rules)
display accounts named OLD as NEW
-I --ignore-assertions
ignore any failing balance assertions in the journal

Reporting options

Common reporting options, must be written after COMMAND.

-b --begin=DATE
include postings/txns on or after this date
-e --end=DATE
include postings/txns before this date
-D --daily
multiperiod/multicolumn report by day
-W --weekly
multiperiod/multicolumn report by week
-M --monthly
multiperiod/multicolumn report by month
-Q --quarterly
multiperiod/multicolumn report by quarter
-Y --yearly
multiperiod/multicolumn report by year
-p --period=PERIODEXP
set start date, end date, and/or reporting interval all at once (overrides the flags above)
show, and match with -b/-e/-p/date:, secondary dates instead
-C --cleared
include only cleared postings/txns
include only pending postings/txns
-U --uncleared
include only uncleared (and pending) postings/txns
-R --real
include only non-virtual postings
hide accounts/postings deeper than N
-E --empty
show items with zero amount, normally hidden
-B --cost
convert amounts to their cost at transaction time (using the transaction price, if any)
-V --value
convert amounts to their market value on the report end date (using the most recent applicable market price, if any)
--pivot TAGNAME
organize reports by some tag's value instead of by account
show anonymized accounts and payees

If a reporting option occurs more than once on the command line, the last one takes precedence. Eg -p jan -p feb is equivalent to -p feb.

Input files

hledger reads transactions from a data file (and the add command writes to it). By default this file is $HOME/.hledger.journal (or on Windows, something like C:/Users/USER/.hledger.journal). You can override this with the $LEDGER_FILE environment variable:

$ setenv LEDGER_FILE ~/finance/2016.journal
$ hledger stats

or with the -f/--file option:

$ hledger -f /some/file stats

The file name - (hyphen) means standard input:

$ cat some.journal | hledger -f-

Usually the data file is in hledger's journal format, but it can also be one of several other formats, listed below. hledger detects the format automatically based on the file extension, or if that is not recognised, by trying each built-in "reader" in turn:

Reader: Reads: Used for file extensions:
journal hledger's journal format, also some Ledger journals .journal .j .hledger .ledger
timeclock timeclock files (precise time logging) .timeclock
timedot timedot files (approximate time logging) .timedot
csv comma-separated values (data interchange) .csv

If needed (eg to ensure correct error messages when a file has the "wrong" extension), you can force a specific reader/format by prepending it to the file path with a colon. Examples:

$ hledger -f csv:/some/csv-file.dat stats
$ echo 'i 2009/13/1 08:00:00' | hledger print -ftimeclock:-

You can also specify multiple -f options, to read multiple files as one big journal. There are some limitations with this:

If you need those, either use the include directive, or concatenate the files, eg: cat a.journal b.journal | hledger -f- CMD.

Smart dates

hledger's user interfaces accept a flexible "smart date" syntax (unlike dates in the journal file). Smart dates allow some english words, can be relative to today's date, and can have less-significant date parts omitted (defaulting to 1).


2009/1/1, 2009/01/01, 2009-1-1, 2009.1.1 simple dates, several separators allowed
2009/1, 2009 same as above - a missing day or month defaults to 1
1/1, january, jan, this year relative dates, meaning january 1 of the current year
next year january 1 of next year
this month the 1st of the current month
this week the most recent monday
last week the monday of the week before this one
lastweek spaces are optional
today, yesterday, tomorrow

Report start & end date

Most hledger reports show the full span of time represented by the journal data, by default. So, the effective report start and end dates will be the earliest and latest transaction or posting dates found in the journal.

Often you will want to see a shorter time span, such as the current month. You can specify a start and/or end date using -b/--begin, -e/--end, -p/--period or a date: query (described below). All of these accept the smart date syntax. One important thing to be aware of when specifying end dates: as in Ledger, end dates are exclusive, so you need to write the date after the last day you want to include.


-b 2016/3/17 begin on St. Patrick's day 2016
-e 12/1 end at the start of december 1st of the current year (11/30 will be the last date included)
-b thismonth all transactions on or after the 1st of the current month
-p thismonth all transactions in the current month
date:2016/3/17- the above written as queries instead

Report intervals

A report interval can be specified so that commands like register, balance and activity will divide their reports into multiple subperiods. The basic intervals can be selected with one of -D/--daily, -W/--weekly, -M/--monthly, -Q/--quarterly, or -Y/--yearly. More complex intervals may be specified with a period expression. Report intervals can not be specified with a query, currently.

Period expressions

The -p/--period option accepts period expressions, a shorthand way of expressing a start date, end date, and/or report interval all at once.

Here's a basic period expression specifying the first quarter of 2009. Note, hledger always treats start dates as inclusive and end dates as exclusive:

-p "from 2009/1/1 to 2009/4/1"

Keywords like "from" and "to" are optional, and so are the spaces, as long as you don't run two dates together. "to" can also be written as "-". These are equivalent to the above:

-p "2009/1/1 2009/4/1"

Dates are smart dates, so if the current year is 2009, the above can also be written as:

-p "1/1 4/1"
-p "january-apr"
-p "this year to 4/1"

If you specify only one date, the missing start or end date will be the earliest or latest transaction in your journal:

-p "from 2009/1/1" everything after january 1, 2009
-p "from 2009/1" the same
-p "from 2009" the same
-p "to 2009" everything before january 1, 2009

A single date with no "from" or "to" defines both the start and end date like so:

-p "2009" the year 2009; equivalent to "2009/1/1 to 2010/1/1"
-p "2009/1" the month of jan; equivalent to "2009/1/1 to 2009/2/1"
-p "2009/1/1" just that day; equivalent to "2009/1/1 to 2009/1/2"

The argument of -p can also begin with, or be, a report interval expression. The basic report intervals are daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly, which have the same effect as the -D,-W,-M,-Q, or -Y flags. Between report interval and start/end dates (if any), the word in is optional. Examples:

-p "weekly from 2009/1/1 to 2009/4/1"
-p "monthly in 2008"
-p "quarterly"

The following more complex report intervals are also supported: biweekly, bimonthly, every N days|weeks|months|quarters|years, every Nth day [of month], every Nth day of week.


-p "bimonthly from 2008"
-p "every 2 weeks"
-p "every 5 days from 1/3"

Show historical balances at end of 15th each month (N is exclusive end date):

hledger balance -H -p "every 16th day"

Group postings from start of wednesday to end of next tuesday (N is start date and exclusive end date):

hledger register checking -p "every 3rd day of week"

Depth limiting

With the --depth N option, commands like account, balance and register will show only the uppermost accounts in the account tree, down to level N. Use this when you want a summary with less detail.


Normally hledger sums amounts, and organizes them in a hierarchy, based on account name. The --pivot TAGNAME option causes it to sum and organize hierarchy based on some other field instead.

TAGNAME is the full, case-insensitive name of a tag you have defined, or one of the built-in implicit tags (like code or payee). As with account names, when tag values have multiple:colon-separated:parts hledger will build hierarchy, displayed in tree-mode reports, summarisable with a depth limit, and so on.

--pivot affects all reports, and is one of those options you can write before the command name if you wish. You can think of hledger transforming the journal before any other processing, replacing every posting's account name with the value of the specified tag on that posting, inheriting it from the transaction or using a blank value if it's not present.

An example:

2016/02/16 Member Fee Payment
    assets:bank account                    2 EUR
    income:member fees                    -2 EUR  ; member: John Doe

Normal balance report showing account names:

$ hledger balance
               2 EUR  assets:bank account
              -2 EUR  income:member fees

Pivoted balance report, using member: tag values instead:

$ hledger balance --pivot member
               2 EUR
              -2 EUR  John Doe

One way to show only amounts with a member: value (using a query, described below):

$ hledger balance --pivot member tag:member=.
              -2 EUR  John Doe
              -2 EUR

Another way (the acct: query matches against the pivoted "account name"):

$ hledger balance --pivot member acct:.
              -2 EUR  John Doe
              -2 EUR

Regular expressions

hledger uses regular expressions in a number of places:

hledger's regular expressions come from the regex-tdfa library. In general they:

Some things to note:


One of hledger's strengths is being able to quickly report on precise subsets of your data. Most commands accept an optional query expression, written as arguments after the command name, to filter the data by date, account name or other criteria. The syntax is similar to a web search: one or more space-separated search terms, quotes to enclose whitespace, optional prefixes to match specific fields. Multiple search terms are combined as follows:

All commands except print: show transactions/postings/accounts which match (or negatively match)

The print command: show transactions which

The following kinds of search terms can be used:

match account names by this regular expression
same as above
amt:N, amt:<N, amt:<=N, amt:>N, amt:>=N
match postings with a single-commodity amount that is equal to, less than, or greater than N. (Multi-commodity amounts are not tested, and will always match.) The comparison has two modes: if N is preceded by a + or - sign (or is 0), the two signed numbers are compared. Otherwise, the absolute magnitudes are compared, ignoring sign.
match by transaction code (eg check number)
match postings or transactions including any amounts whose currency/commodity symbol is fully matched by REGEX. (For a partial match, use .*REGEX.*). Note, to match characters which are regex-significant, like the dollar sign ($), you need to prepend \. And when using the command line you need to add one more level of quoting to hide it from the shell, so eg do: hledger print cur:'\$' or hledger print cur:\\$.
match transaction descriptions
match dates within the specified period. PERIODEXPR is a period expression (with no report interval). Examples: date:2016, date:thismonth, date:2000/2/1-2/15, date:lastweek-. If the --date2 command line flag is present, this matches secondary dates instead.
match secondary dates within the specified period.
match (or display, depending on command) accounts at or above this depth
real:, real:0
match real or virtual postings respectively
status:*, status:!, status:
match cleared, pending, or uncleared/pending transactions respectively
match by tag name, and optionally also by tag value. Note a tag: query is considered to match a transaction if it matches any of the postings. Also remember that postings inherit the tags of their parent transaction.
before any of the above negates the match.
a special term used automatically when you click an account name in hledger-web, specifying the account register we are currently in (selects the transactions of that account and how to show them, can be filtered further with acct etc). Not supported elsewhere in hledger.

Some of these can also be expressed as command-line options (eg depth:2 is equivalent to --depth 2). Generally you can mix options and query arguments, and the resulting query will be their intersection (perhaps excluding the -p/--period option).


hledger provides a number of subcommands; hledger with no arguments shows a list.

If you install additional hledger-* packages, or if you put programs or scripts named hledger-NAME in your PATH, these will also be listed as subcommands.

Run a subcommand by writing its name as first argument (eg hledger incomestatement). You can also write any unambiguous prefix of a command name (hledger inc), or one of the standard short aliases displayed in the command list (hledger is).


Show account names.

show short account names, as a tree
show full account names, as a list (default)
in flat mode: omit N leading account name parts

This command lists all account names that are in use (ie, all the accounts which have at least one transaction posting to them). With query arguments, only matched account names are shown.

It shows a flat list by default. With --tree, it uses indentation to show the account hierarchy.

In flat mode you can add --drop N to omit the first few account name components.


$ hledger accounts --tree
$ hledger accounts --drop 1
$ hledger accounts


Show an ascii barchart of posting counts per interval.

The activity command displays an ascii histogram showing transaction counts by day, week, month or other reporting interval (by day is the default). With query arguments, it counts only matched transactions.

$ hledger activity --quarterly
2008-01-01 **
2008-04-01 *******
2008-10-01 **


Prompt for transactions and add them to the journal.

don't allow creating new accounts; helps prevent typos when entering account names

Many hledger users edit their journals directly with a text editor, or generate them from CSV. For more interactive data entry, there is the add command, which prompts interactively on the console for new transactions, and appends them to the journal file (if there are multiple -f FILE options, the first file is used.) Existing transactions are not changed. This is the only hledger command that writes to the journal file.

To use it, just run hledger add and follow the prompts. You can add as many transactions as you like; when you are finished, enter . or press control-d or control-c to exit.


Example (see the tutorial for a detailed explanation):

$ hledger add
Adding transactions to journal file /src/hledger/examples/sample.journal
Any command line arguments will be used as defaults.
Use tab key to complete, readline keys to edit, enter to accept defaults.
An optional (CODE) may follow transaction dates.
An optional ; COMMENT may follow descriptions or amounts.
If you make a mistake, enter < at any prompt to restart the transaction.
To end a transaction, enter . when prompted.
To quit, enter . at a date prompt or press control-d or control-c.
Date [2015/05/22]: 
Description: supermarket
Account 1: expenses:food
Amount  1: $10
Account 2: assets:checking
Amount  2 [$-10.0]: 
Account 3 (or . or enter to finish this transaction): .
2015/05/22 supermarket
    expenses:food             $10
    assets:checking        $-10.0

Save this transaction to the journal ? [y]: 
Starting the next transaction (. or ctrl-D/ctrl-C to quit)
Date [2015/05/22]: <CTRL-D> $


Show accounts and their balances. Alias: bal.

show balance change in each period (default)
show balance change accumulated across periods (in multicolumn reports)
-H --historical
show historical ending balance in each period (includes postings before report start date)
show accounts as a tree; amounts include subaccounts (default in simple reports)
show accounts as a list; amounts exclude subaccounts except when account is depth-clipped (default in multicolumn reports)
-A --average
show a row average column (in multicolumn mode)
-T --row-total
show a row total column (in multicolumn mode)
-N --no-total
don't show the final total row
omit N leading account name parts (in flat mode)
don't squash boring parent accounts (in tree mode)
in single-column balance reports: use this custom line format
-O FMT --output-format=FMT
select the output format. Supported formats: txt, csv.
-o FILE --output-file=FILE
write output to FILE. A file extension matching one of the above formats selects that format.

The balance command displays accounts and balances. It is hledger's most featureful and most useful command.

$ hledger balance
                 $-1  assets
                  $1    bank:saving
                 $-2    cash
                  $2  expenses
                  $1    food
                  $1    supplies
                 $-2  income
                 $-1    gifts
                 $-1    salary
                  $1  liabilities:debts

More precisely, the balance command shows the change to each account's balance caused by all (matched) postings. In the common case where you do not filter by date and your journal sets the correct opening balances, this is the same as the account's ending balance.

By default, accounts are displayed hierarchically, with subaccounts indented below their parent. "Boring" accounts, which contain a single interesting subaccount and no balance of their own, are elided into the following line for more compact output. (Use --no-elide to prevent this.)

Each account's balance is the "inclusive" balance - it includes the balances of any subaccounts.

Accounts which have zero balance (and no non-zero subaccounts) are omitted. Use -E/--empty to show them.

A final total is displayed by default; use -N/--no-total to suppress it:

$ hledger balance -p 2008/6 expenses --no-total
                  $2  expenses
                  $1    food
                  $1    supplies

Flat mode

To see a flat list of full account names instead of the default hierarchical display, use --flat. In this mode, accounts (unless depth-clipped) show their "exclusive" balance, excluding any subaccount balances. In this mode, you can also use --drop N to omit the first few account name components.

$ hledger balance -p 2008/6 expenses -N --flat --drop 1
                  $1  food
                  $1  supplies

Depth limited balance reports

With --depth N, balance shows accounts only to the specified depth. This is very useful to show a complex charts of accounts in less detail. In flat mode, balances from accounts below the depth limit will be shown as part of a parent account at the depth limit.

$ hledger balance -N --depth 1
                 $-1  assets
                  $2  expenses
                 $-2  income
                  $1  liabilities

Multicolumn balance reports

With a reporting interval, multiple balance columns will be shown, one for each report period. There are three types of multi-column balance report, showing different information:

  1. By default: each column shows the sum of postings in that period, ie the account's change of balance in that period. This is useful eg for a monthly income statement:

    $ hledger balance --quarterly income expenses -E
    Balance changes in 2008:
                       ||  2008q1  2008q2  2008q3  2008q4 
     expenses:food     ||       0      $1       0       0 
     expenses:supplies ||       0      $1       0       0 
     income:gifts      ||       0     $-1       0       0 
     income:salary     ||     $-1       0       0       0 
                       ||     $-1      $1       0       0 
  2. With --cumulative: each column shows the ending balance for that period, accumulating the changes across periods, starting from 0 at the report start date:

    $ hledger balance --quarterly income expenses -E --cumulative
    Ending balances (cumulative) in 2008:
                       ||  2008/03/31  2008/06/30  2008/09/30  2008/12/31 
     expenses:food     ||           0          $1          $1          $1 
     expenses:supplies ||           0          $1          $1          $1 
     income:gifts      ||           0         $-1         $-1         $-1 
     income:salary     ||         $-1         $-1         $-1         $-1 
                       ||         $-1           0           0           0 
  3. With --historical/-H: each column shows the actual historical ending balance for that period, accumulating the changes across periods, starting from the actual balance at the report start date. This is useful eg for a multi-period balance sheet, and when you are showing only the data after a certain start date:

    $ hledger balance ^assets ^liabilities --quarterly --historical --begin 2008/4/1
    Ending balances (historical) in 2008/04/01-2008/12/31:
                          ||  2008/06/30  2008/09/30  2008/12/31 
     assets:bank:checking ||          $1          $1           0 
     assets:bank:saving   ||          $1          $1          $1 
     assets:cash          ||         $-2         $-2         $-2 
     liabilities:debts    ||           0           0          $1 
                          ||           0           0           0 

Multi-column balance reports display accounts in flat mode by default; to see the hierarchy, use --tree.

With a reporting interval (like --quarterly above), the report start/end dates will be adjusted if necessary so that they encompass the displayed report periods. This is so that the first and last periods will be "full" and comparable to the others.

The -E/--empty flag does two things in multicolumn balance reports: first, the report will show all columns within the specified report period (without -E, leading and trailing columns with all zeroes are not shown). Second, all accounts which existed at the report start date will be considered, not just the ones with activity during the report period (use -E to include low-activity accounts which would otherwise would be omitted).

The -T/--row-total flag adds an additional column showing the total for each row.

The -A/--average flag adds a column showing the average value in each row.

Here's an example of all three:

$ hledger balance -Q income expenses --tree -ETA
Balance changes in 2008:

            ||  2008q1  2008q2  2008q3  2008q4    Total  Average 
 expenses   ||       0      $2       0       0       $2       $1 
   food     ||       0      $1       0       0       $1        0 
   supplies ||       0      $1       0       0       $1        0 
 income     ||     $-1     $-1       0       0      $-2      $-1 
   gifts    ||       0     $-1       0       0      $-1        0 
   salary   ||     $-1       0       0       0      $-1        0 
            ||     $-1      $1       0       0        0        0 

# Average is rounded to the dollar here since all journal amounts are

Market value

The -V/--value flag converts the reported amounts to their market value on the report end date, using the most recent applicable market prices, when known. Specifically, when there is a market price (P directive) for the amount's commodity, dated on or before the report end date (see hledger -> Report start & end date), the amount will be converted to the price's commodity. If multiple applicable prices are defined, the latest-dated one is used (and if dates are equal, the one last parsed).

For example:

# one euro is worth this many dollars from nov 1
P 2016/11/01 € $1.10

# purchase some euros on nov 3
    assets:euros        €100

# the euro is worth fewer dollars by dec 21
P 2016/12/21 € $1.03

How many euros do I have ?

$ hledger -f t.j bal euros
                €100  assets:euros

What are they worth on nov 3 ? (no report end date specified, defaults to the last date in the journal)

$ hledger -f t.j bal euros -V
             $110.00  assets:euros

What are they worth on dec 21 ?

$ hledger -f t.j bal euros -V -e 2016/12/21
             $103.00  assets:euros

Currently, hledger's -V only uses market prices recorded with P directives, not transaction prices (unlike Ledger).

Using -B and -V together is allowed.

Custom balance output

In simple (non-multi-column) balance reports, you can customise the output with --format FMT:

$ hledger balance --format "%20(account) %12(total)"
              assets          $-1
         bank:saving           $1
                cash          $-2
            expenses           $2
                food           $1
            supplies           $1
              income          $-2
               gifts          $-1
              salary          $-1
   liabilities:debts           $1

The FMT format string (plus a newline) specifies the formatting applied to each account/balance pair. It may contain any suitable text, with data fields interpolated like so:


Also, FMT can begin with an optional prefix to control how multi-commodity amounts are rendered:

There are some quirks. Eg in one-line mode, %(depth_spacer) has no effect, instead %(account) has indentation built in. Experimentation may be needed to get pleasing results.

Some example formats:

Output destination

The balance, print, register and stats commands can write their output to a destination other than the console. This is controlled by the -o/--output-file option.

$ hledger balance -o -     # write to stdout (the default)
$ hledger balance -o FILE  # write to FILE

CSV output

The balance, print and register commands can write their output as CSV. This is useful for exporting data to other applications, eg to make charts in a spreadsheet. This is controlled by the -O/--output-format option, or by specifying a .csv file extension with -o/--output-file.

$ hledger balance -O csv       # write CSV to stdout
$ hledger balance -o FILE.csv  # write CSV to FILE.csv


Show a balance sheet. Alias: bs.

show full account names, as a list (default)
-N --no-total
don't show the final total row
in flat mode: omit N leading account name parts
don't squash boring parent accounts (in tree mode)
in single-column balance reports: use this custom line format

This command displays a simple balance sheet. It currently assumes that you have top-level accounts named asset and liability (plural forms also allowed.)

$ hledger balancesheet
Balance Sheet

                 $-1  assets
                  $1    bank:saving
                 $-2    cash

                  $1  liabilities:debts



Show a cashflow statement. Alias: cf.

show full account names, as a list (default)
-N --no-total
don't show the final total row
in flat mode: omit N leading account name parts
don't squash boring parent accounts (in tree mode)
in single-column balance reports: use this custom line format

This command displays a simple cashflow statement It shows the change in all "cash" (ie, liquid assets) accounts for the period. It currently assumes that cash accounts are under a top-level account named asset and do not contain receivable or A/R (plural forms also allowed.)

$ hledger cashflow
Cashflow Statement

Cash flows:
                 $-1  assets
                  $1    bank:saving
                 $-2    cash



Show any of the hledger manuals.

The help command displays any of the main hledger man pages. (Unlike hledger --help, which displays only the hledger man page.) Run it with no arguments to list available topics (their names are shortened for easier typing), and run hledger help TOPIC to select one. The output is similar to a man page, but fixed width. It may be long, so you may wish to pipe it into a pager. See also info and man.

$ hledger help
Choose a topic, eg: hledger help cli
cli, ui, web, api, journal, csv, timeclock, timedot
$ hledger help cli | less

hledger(1)                   hledger User Manuals                   hledger(1)

       hledger - a command-line accounting tool

       hledger [-f FILE] COMMAND [OPTIONS] [CMDARGS]
       hledger [-f FILE] ADDONCMD -- [OPTIONS] [CMDARGS]


Show an income statement. Alias: is.

show full account names, as a list (default)
-N --no-total
don't show the final total row
in flat mode: omit N leading account name parts
don't squash boring parent accounts (in tree mode)
in single-column balance reports: use this custom line format

This command displays a simple income statement. It currently assumes that you have top-level accounts named income (or revenue) and expense (plural forms also allowed.)

$ hledger incomestatement
Income Statement

                 $-2  income
                 $-1    gifts
                 $-1    salary

                  $2  expenses
                  $1    food
                  $1    supplies



Show any of the hledger manuals using info.

The info command displays any of the hledger reference manuals using the info hypertextual documentation viewer. This can be a very efficient way to browse large manuals. It requires the "info" program to be available in your PATH.

As with help, run it with no arguments to list available topics (manuals).


Show any of the hledger manuals using man.

The man command displays any of the hledger reference manuals using man, the standard documentation viewer on unix systems. This will fit the text to your terminal width, and probably invoke a pager automatically. It requires the "man" program to be available in your PATH.

As with help, run it with no arguments to list available topics (manuals).


Show transactions from the journal.

show all amounts explicitly
-m STR --match=STR
show the transaction whose description is most similar to STR, and is most recent
-O FMT --output-format=FMT
select the output format. Supported formats: txt, csv.
-o FILE --output-file=FILE
write output to FILE. A file extension matching one of the above formats selects that format.
$ hledger print
2008/01/01 income
    assets:bank:checking            $1
    income:salary                  $-1

2008/06/01 gift
    assets:bank:checking            $1
    income:gifts                   $-1

2008/06/02 save
    assets:bank:saving              $1
    assets:bank:checking           $-1

2008/06/03 * eat & shop
    expenses:food                $1
    expenses:supplies            $1
    assets:cash                 $-2

2008/12/31 * pay off
    liabilities:debts               $1
    assets:bank:checking           $-1

The print command displays full journal entries (transactions) from the journal file, tidily formatted.

As of hledger 1.2, print's output is always a valid hledger journal. However it may not preserve all original content, eg it does not print directives or inter-transaction comments.

Normally, transactions' implicit/explicit amount style is preserved: when an amount is omitted in the journal, it will be omitted in the output. You can use the --explicit flag to make all amounts explicit, which can be useful for troubleshooting or for making your journal more readable and robust against data entry errors. Note, in this mode postings with a multi-commodity amount (possible with an implicit amount in a multi-commodity transaction) will be split into multiple single-commodity postings, for valid journal output.

With -B/--cost, amounts with transaction prices are converted to cost (using the transaction price).

The print command also supports output destination and CSV output. Here's an example of print's CSV output:

$ hledger print -Ocsv
"4","2008/06/03","","*","","eat & shop","","expenses:food","1","$","","1","",""
"4","2008/06/03","","*","","eat & shop","","expenses:supplies","1","$","","1","",""
"4","2008/06/03","","*","","eat & shop","","assets:cash","-2","$","2","","",""
"5","2008/12/31","","*","","pay off","","liabilities:debts","1","$","","1","",""
"5","2008/12/31","","*","","pay off","","assets:bank:checking","-1","$","1","","",""


Show postings and their running total. Alias: reg.

show running total from report start date (default)
-H --historical
show historical running total/balance (includes postings before report start date)
-A --average
show running average of posting amounts instead of total (implies --empty)
-r --related
show postings' siblings instead
-w N --width=N
set output width (default: terminal width or COLUMNS. -wN,M sets description width as well)
-O FMT --output-format=FMT
select the output format. Supported formats: txt, csv.
-o FILE --output-file=FILE
write output to FILE. A file extension matching one of the above formats selects that format.

The register command displays postings, one per line, and their running total. This is typically used with a query selecting a particular account, to see that account's activity:

$ hledger register checking
2008/01/01 income               assets:bank:checking            $1            $1
2008/06/01 gift                 assets:bank:checking            $1            $2
2008/06/02 save                 assets:bank:checking           $-1            $1
2008/12/31 pay off              assets:bank:checking           $-1             0

The --historical/-H flag adds the balance from any undisplayed prior postings to the running total. This is useful when you want to see only recent activity, with a historically accurate running balance:

$ hledger register checking -b 2008/6 --historical
2008/06/01 gift                 assets:bank:checking            $1            $2
2008/06/02 save                 assets:bank:checking           $-1            $1
2008/12/31 pay off              assets:bank:checking           $-1             0

The --depth option limits the amount of sub-account detail displayed.

The --average/-A flag shows the running average posting amount instead of the running total (so, the final number displayed is the average for the whole report period). This flag implies --empty (see below). It is affected by --historical. It works best when showing just one account and one commodity.

The --related/-r flag shows the other postings in the transactions of the postings which would normally be shown.

With a reporting interval, register shows summary postings, one per interval, aggregating the postings to each account:

$ hledger register --monthly income
2008/01                 income:salary                          $-1           $-1
2008/06                 income:gifts                           $-1           $-2

Periods with no activity, and summary postings with a zero amount, are not shown by default; use the --empty/-E flag to see them:

$ hledger register --monthly income -E
2008/01                 income:salary                          $-1           $-1
2008/02                                                          0           $-1
2008/03                                                          0           $-1
2008/04                                                          0           $-1
2008/05                                                          0           $-1
2008/06                 income:gifts                           $-1           $-2
2008/07                                                          0           $-2
2008/08                                                          0           $-2
2008/09                                                          0           $-2
2008/10                                                          0           $-2
2008/11                                                          0           $-2
2008/12                                                          0           $-2

Often, you'll want to see just one line per interval. The --depth option helps with this, causing subaccounts to be aggregated:

$ hledger register --monthly assets --depth 1h
2008/01                 assets                                  $1            $1
2008/06                 assets                                 $-1             0
2008/12                 assets                                 $-1           $-1

Note when using report intervals, if you specify start/end dates these will be adjusted outward if necessary to contain a whole number of intervals. This ensures that the first and last intervals are full length and comparable to the others in the report.

Custom register output

register uses the full terminal width by default, except on windows. You can override this by setting the COLUMNS environment variable (not a bash shell variable) or by using the --width/-w option.

The description and account columns normally share the space equally (about half of (width - 40) each). You can adjust this by adding a description width as part of --width's argument, comma-separated: --width W,D . Here's a diagram:

<--------------------------------- width (W) ---------------------------------->
date (10)  description (D)       account (W-41-D)     amount (12)   balance (12)
DDDDDDDDDD dddddddddddddddddddd  aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa  AAAAAAAAAAAA  AAAAAAAAAAAA

and some examples:

$ hledger reg                     # use terminal width (or 80 on windows)
$ hledger reg -w 100              # use width 100
$ COLUMNS=100 hledger reg         # set with one-time environment variable
$ export COLUMNS=100; hledger reg # set till session end (or window resize)
$ hledger reg -w 100,40           # set overall width 100, description width 40
$ hledger reg -w $COLUMNS,40      # use terminal width, and set description width

The register command also supports the -o/--output-file and -O/--output-format options for controlling output destination and CSV output.


Show some journal statistics.

-o FILE --output-file=FILE
write output to FILE. A file extension matching one of the above formats selects that format.
$ hledger stats
Main journal file        : /src/hledger/examples/sample.journal
Included journal files   : 
Transactions span        : 2008-01-01 to 2009-01-01 (366 days)
Last transaction         : 2008-12-31 (2333 days ago)
Transactions             : 5 (0.0 per day)
Transactions last 30 days: 0 (0.0 per day)
Transactions last 7 days : 0 (0.0 per day)
Payees/descriptions      : 5
Accounts                 : 8 (depth 3)
Commodities              : 1 ($)

The stats command displays summary information for the whole journal, or a matched part of it. With a reporting interval, it shows a report for each report period.

The stats command also supports -o/--output-file for controlling output destination.


Run built-in unit tests.

$ hledger test
Cases: 74  Tried: 74  Errors: 0  Failures: 0

This command runs hledger's built-in unit tests and displays a quick report. With a regular expression argument, it selects only tests with matching names. It's mainly used in development, but it's also nice to be able to check your hledger executable for smoke at any time.


hledger also searches for external add-on commands, and will include these in the commands list. These are programs or scripts in your PATH whose name starts with hledger- and ends with a recognised file extension (currently: no extension, bat,com,exe, hs,lhs,pl,py,rb,rkt,sh).

Add-ons can be invoked like any hledger command, but there are a few things to be aware of. Eg if the hledger-web add-on is installed,

Add-ons are a relatively easy way to add local features or experiment with new ideas. They can be written in any language, but haskell scripts have a big advantage: they can use the same hledger (and haskell) library functions that built-in commands do, for command-line options, journal parsing, reporting, etc.

Here are some hledger add-ons available:

Official add-ons

These are maintained and released along with hledger.


hledger-api serves hledger data as a JSON web API.


hledger-ui provides an efficient curses-style interface.


hledger-web provides a simple web interface.

Third party add-ons

These are maintained separately, and usually updated shortly after a hledger release.


hledger-diff shows differences in an account's transactions between one journal file and another.


hledger-iadd is a curses-style, more interactive replacement for the add command.


hledger-interest generates interest transactions for an account according to various schemes.


hledger-irr calculates the internal rate of return of an investment account.

Experimental add-ons

These are available in source form in the hledger repo's bin/ directory; installing them is pretty easy. They may be less mature and documented than built-in commands. Reading and tweaking these is a good way to start making your own!


hledger-autosync is a symbolic link for easily running ledger-autosync, if installed. ledger-autosync does deduplicating conversion of OFX data and some CSV formats, and can also download the data if your bank offers OFX Direct Connect.


hledger-budget.hs adds more budget-tracking features to hledger.


hledger-chart.hs is an old pie chart generator, in need of some love.


hledger-check.hs checks more powerful account balance assertions.


hledger-check-dates.hs checks that journal entries are ordered by date.


hledger-dupes.hs checks for account names sharing the same leaf name.


hledger-equity.hs prints balance-resetting transactions, useful for bringing account balances across file boundaries.


hledger-prices.hs prints all prices from the journal.

hledger-print-unique.hs prints transactions which do not reuse an already-seen description.


hledger-register-match.hs helps ledger-autosync detect already-seen transactions when importing.


hledger-rewrite.hs Adds one or more custom postings to matched transactions.


Run-time problems

Here are some issues you might encounter when you run hledger (and remember you can also seek help from the IRC channel, mail list or bug tracker):

Successfully installed, but "No command 'hledger' found"
stack and cabal install binaries into a special directory, which should be added to your PATH environment variable. Eg on unix-like systems, that is ~/.local/bin and ~/.cabal/bin respectively.

I set a custom LEDGER_FILE, but hledger is still using the default file
LEDGER_FILE should be a real environment variable, not just a shell variable. The command env | grep LEDGER_FILE should show it. You may need to use export. Here's an explanation.

"Illegal byte sequence" or "Invalid or incomplete multibyte or wide character" errors
In order to handle non-ascii letters and symbols (like £), hledger needs an appropriate locale. This is usually configured system-wide; you can also configure it temporarily. The locale may need to be one that supports UTF-8, if you built hledger with GHC < 7.2 (or possibly always, I'm not sure yet).

Here's an example of setting the locale temporarily, on ubuntu gnu/linux:

$ file my.journal
my.journal: UTF-8 Unicode text                 # <- the file is UTF8-encoded
$ locale -a
en_US.utf8                             # <- a UTF8-aware locale is available
$ LANG=en_US.utf8 hledger -f my.journal print   # <- use it for this command

Here's one way to set it permanently, there are probably better ways:

$ echo "export LANG=en_US.UTF-8" >>~/.bash_profile
$ bash --login

If we preferred to use eg fr_FR.utf8, we might have to install that first:

$ apt-get install language-pack-fr
$ locale -a
$ LANG=fr_FR.utf8 hledger -f my.journal print

Note some platforms allow variant locale spellings, but not all (ubuntu accepts fr_FR.UTF8, mac osx requires exactly fr_FR.UTF-8).

Known limitations

Command line interface

Add-on command options, unless they are also understood by the main hledger executable, must be written after --, like this: hledger web -- --server

Differences from Ledger

Not all of Ledger's journal file syntax is supported. See file format differences.

hledger is slower than Ledger, and uses more memory, on large data files.

Windows limitations

In a windows CMD window, non-ascii characters and colours are not supported.

In a windows Cygwin/MSYS/Mintty window, the tab key is not supported in hledger add.


COLUMNS The screen width used by the register command. Default: the full terminal width.

LEDGER_FILE The journal file path when not specified with -f. Default: ~/.hledger.journal (on windows, perhaps C:/Users/USER/.hledger.journal).


Reads data from one or more files in hledger journal, timeclock, timedot, or CSV format specified with -f, or $LEDGER_FILE, or $HOME/.hledger.journal (on windows, perhaps C:/Users/USER/.hledger.journal).


The need to precede options with -- when invoked from hledger is awkward.

hledger can't render non-ascii characters when run from a Windows command prompt (up to Windows 7 at least).

When input data contains non-ascii characters, a suitable system locale must be configured (or there will be an unhelpful error). Eg on POSIX, set LANG to something other than C.