This doc is for version 1.16.1 .
hledger - a command-line accounting tool
hledger [-f FILE] COMMAND [OPTIONS] [ARGS]
hledger [-f FILE] ADDONCMD -- [OPTIONS] [ARGS]
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
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 terminal 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
$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
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 assets:cash
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. Run
hledger with no arguments for a list of commands.
Two simple transactions in hledger journal format:
2015/9/30 gift received assets:cash $20 income:gifts 2015/10/16 farmers market expenses:food $10 assets:cash
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 assets cash expenses food income gifts
$ hledger balance $10 assets:cash $10 expenses:food $-20 income:gifts -------------------- 0
$ hledger register cash 2015/09/30 gift received assets:cash $20 $20 2015/10/16 farmers market assets:cash $-10 $10
$ 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 help, including general options which are supported
by most hledger commands, run
General help options:
: show general usage (or after COMMAND, command usage)
: show version
: show debug output (levels 1-9, default: 1)
General input options:
-f FILE --file=FILE
: use a different input file. For stdin, use - (default:
: Conversion rules file to use when reading CSV (default: FILE.rules)
: Field separator to expect when reading CSV (default: ‘,’)
: rename accounts named OLD to NEW
: anonymize accounts and payees
: use some other field or tag for the account name
: ignore any failing balance assertions
General reporting options:
: include postings/txns on or after this date
: include postings/txns before this date
: multiperiod/multicolumn report by day
: multiperiod/multicolumn report by week
: multiperiod/multicolumn report by month
: multiperiod/multicolumn report by quarter
: multiperiod/multicolumn report by year
: set start date, end date, and/or reporting interval all at once
using period expressions syntax
: match the secondary date instead (see command help for other
: include only unmarked postings/txns (can combine with -P or -C)
: include only pending postings/txns
: include only cleared postings/txns
: include only non-virtual postings
: hide/aggregate accounts or postings more than NUM levels deep
: show items with zero amount, normally hidden (and vice-versa in
: convert amounts to their cost at transaction time (using the
transaction price, if any)
: convert amounts to their market value on the report end date (using
the most recent applicable market
price, if any)
: apply automated posting
rules to modify
: apply periodic transaction
rules to generate future transactions, to 6 months from now or
report end date.
When a reporting option appears more than once in the command line, the last one takes precedence.
Some reporting options can also be written as query arguments.
To see options for a particular command, including command-specific
hledger COMMAND -h.
Command-specific options must be written after the command name, eg:
hledger print -x.
Additionally, if the command is an addon, you may need to
put its options after a double-hyphen, eg:
hledger ui -- --watch. Or,
you can run the addon executable directly:
Most hledger commands accept arguments after the command name, which are often a query, filtering the data in some way.
You can save a set of command line options/arguments in a file, one per
line, and then reuse them by writing
@FILENAME in a command line. To
prevent this expansion of
@-arguments, precede them with a
argument. For more, see Save frequently used
Special characters in arguments and queries¶
In shell command lines, option and argument values which contain
“problematic” characters, ie spaces, and also characters significant to
your shell such as
$, should be escaped by
enclosing them in quotes or by writing backslashes before the
hledger register -p 'last year' "accounts receivable (receivable|payable)" amt:\>100.
Characters significant both to the shell and in regular expressions may need one extra level of escaping. These include parentheses, the pipe symbol and the dollar sign. Eg, to match the dollar symbol, bash users should do:
hledger balance cur:'\$'
hledger balance cur:\\$
Even more escaping¶
When hledger runs an addon executable (eg you type
hledger ui, hledger
hledger-ui), it de-escapes command-line options and arguments
once, so you might need to triple-escape. Eg in bash, running the ui
command and matching the dollar sign, it’s:
hledger ui cur:'\\$'
hledger ui cur:\\\\$
If you asked why four slashes above, this may help:
(The number of backslashes in fish shell is left as an exercise for the reader.)
You can always avoid the extra escaping for addons by running the addon directly:
Command line tips¶
If in doubt, keep things simple:
write options after the command (
hledger CMD -OPTIONS ARGS)
run add-on executables directly (
hledger-ui -OPTIONS ARGS)
enclose problematic args in single quotes
if needed, also add a backslash to escape regexp metacharacters
To find out exactly how a command line is being parsed, add
hledger is expected to handle non-ascii characters correctly:
they should be parsed correctly in input files and on the command line, by all hledger tools (add, iadd, hledger-web’s search/add/edit forms, etc.)
they should be displayed correctly by all hledger tools, and on-screen alignment should be preserved.
This requires a well-configured environment. Here are some tips:
A system locale must be configured, and it must be one that can decode the characters being used. In bash, you can set a locale like this:
export LANG=en_US.UTF-8. There are some more details in Troubleshooting. This step is essential - without it, hledger will quit on encountering a non-ascii character (as with all GHC-compiled programs).
your terminal software (eg Terminal.app, iTerm, CMD.exe, xterm..) must support unicode
the terminal must be using a font which includes the required unicode glyphs
the terminal should be configured to display wide characters as double width (for report alignment)
on Windows, for best results you should run hledger in the same kind of environment in which it was built. Eg hledger built in the standard CMD.EXE environment (like the binaries on our download page) might show display problems when run in a cygwin or msys terminal, and vice versa. (See eg #961).
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,
C:/Users/USER/.hledger.journal). You can override this
$LEDGER_FILE environment variable:
$ setenv LEDGER_FILE ~/finance/2016.journal $ hledger stats
or with the
$ 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:|
||hledger's journal format, also some Ledger journals||
||timeclock files (precise time logging)||
||timedot files (approximate time logging)||
||comma-separated values (data interchange)||
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:
directives in one file will not affect the other files
balance assertions will not see any account balances from previous files
If you need those, either use the include
directive, or concatenate the
cat a.journal b.journal | hledger -f- CMD.
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).
||exact date, several separators allowed. Year is 4+ digits, month is 1-12, day is 1-31|
||start of year|
||start of month|
||month and day in current year|
||day in current month|
||start of month in current year|
||-1, 0, 1 days from today|
||-1, 0, 1 periods from the current period|
||8 digit YYYYMMDD with valid year month and day|
||6 digit YYYYMM with valid year and month|
Counterexamples - malformed digit sequences might give surprising results:
||6 digits with an invalid month is parsed as start of 6-digit year|
||8 digits with an invalid month is parsed as start of 8-digit year|
||8 digits with an invalid day gives an error|
||9+ digits beginning with a valid YYYYMMDD gives an error|
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
-p/--period or a
(described below). All of these accept the smart date
As in Ledger, end dates are exclusive, so you need to write the date after the last day you want to include.
As noted in reporting options: among start/end dates specified with options, the last (i.e. right-most) option takes precedence.
The effective report start and end dates are the intersection of the start/end dates from options and that from
date:queries. That is,
date:2019-01 date:2019 -p'2000 to 2030'yields January 2019, the smallest common time span.
||begin on St. Patrick's day 2016|
||end at the start of december 1st of the current year (11/30 will be the last date included)|
||all transactions on or after the 1st of the current month|
||all transactions in the current month|
||the above written as queries instead|
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
-Y/--yearly. More complex intervals may be
specified with a period expression. Report
intervals can not be specified with a query.
-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:
Dates are smart dates, so if the current year is 2009, the above can also be written as:
If you specify only one date, the missing start or end date will be the earliest or latest transaction in your journal:
||everything after january 1, 2009|
||everything before january 1, 2009|
A single date with no “from” or “to” defines both the start and end date like so:
||the year 2009; equivalent to "2009/1/1 to 2010/1/1"|
||the month of jan; equivalent to "2009/1/1 to 2009/2/1"|
||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
yearly, which have the
same effect as the
-Y flags. Between report
interval and start/end dates (if any), the word
in is optional.
yearly intervals will
always start on the first day on week, month, quarter or year
accordingly, and will end on the last day of same period, even if
associated period expression specifies different explicit start and end
The following more complex report intervals are also supported:
every N days|weeks|months|quarters|years.
All of these will start on the first day of the requested period and end on the last one, as described above.
If you want intervals that start on arbitrary day of your choosing and span a week, month or year, you need to use any of the following:
every Nth day of week,
every Nth day [of month],
every Nth weekday [of month],
every MM/DD [of year],
every Nth MMM [of year],
every MMM Nth [of year].
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 N option (short form:
-N), 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. This flag has the
same effect as a
depth: query argument (so
depth:2 are basically equivalent).
Normally hledger sums amounts, and organizes them in a hierarchy, based
on account name. The
--pivot FIELD option causes it to sum and
organize hierarchy based on the value of some other field instead. FIELD
note, or the full name (case
insensitive) of any tag. As with account names,
colon:separated:parts will be displayed
hierarchically in reports.
--pivot is a general option affecting all reports; you can think of
hledger transforming the journal before any other processing, replacing
every posting’s account name with the value of the specified field on
that posting, inheriting it from the transaction or using a blank value
if it’s not present.
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 -------------------- 0
Pivoted balance report, using member: tag values instead:
$ hledger balance --pivot member 2 EUR -2 EUR John Doe -------------------- 0
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
-B/--cost flag converts amounts to their cost (or selling price)
at transaction time, if they have a transaction
price specified. This flag is
--value=cost, described below.
-V: Market value¶
-V/--market flag converts reported amounts to their market value
in a default valuation commodity, using the market
prices in effect on a default valuation
date. For single period reports, the valuation date is today (equivalent
--value=now); for multiperiod reports, it is
the last day of each subperiod (equivalent to
The default valuation commodity is the one referenced in the latest applicable market price dated on or before the valuation date. If most of your P declarations lead to a single home currency, this will usually be what you want. (To specify the commodity, see -X below.)
Note that in hledger, market prices are always declared explicitly with P directives; we do not infer them from transaction prices as Ledger does.
Here’s a quick example of -V:
; one euro is worth this many dollars from nov 1 P 2016/11/01 € $1.10 ; purchase some euros on nov 3 2016/11/3 assets:euros €100 assets:checking ; 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 -N euros €100 assets:euros
What are they worth at end of nov 3 ?
$ hledger -f t.j bal -N euros -V -e 2016/11/4 $110.00 assets:euros
What are they worth after 2016/12/21 ? (no report end date specified, defaults to today)
$ hledger -f t.j bal -N euros -V $103.00 assets:euros
-X: Market value in specified commodity¶
-X/--exchange option is like
-V, except it specifies the target
commodity you would like to convert to. It is equivalent to
–value: Flexible valuation¶
(experimental, added 201905)
-X are special cases of the more general
--value=TYPE[,COMM] TYPE is cost, end, now or YYYY-MM-DD. COMM is an optional commodity symbol. Shows amounts converted to: - cost commodity using transaction prices (then optionally to COMM using market prices at period end(s)) - default valuation commodity (or COMM) using market prices at period end(s) - default valuation commodity (or COMM) using current market prices - default valuation commodity (or COMM) using market prices at some date
The TYPE part basically selects either “cost”, or “market value” plus a valuation date:
: Convert amounts to cost, using the prices recorded in transactions.
: Convert amounts to their value in a default valuation commodity,
using market prices on the last day of the report period (or if
unspecified, the journal’s end date); or in multiperiod reports,
market prices on the last day of each subperiod.
: Convert amounts to their value in default valuation commodity using
current market prices (as of when report is generated).
: Convert amounts to their value in default valuation commodity using
market prices on this date.
The default valuation commodity is the commodity mentioned in the most recent applicable market price declaration. When all your price declarations lead to a single home currency, this will usually do what you want.
To select a different valuation commodity, add the optional
part: a comma, then the target commodity’s symbol. Eg:
--value=now,EUR. hledger will do its best to convert amounts to
this commodity, using:
declared prices (from source commodity to valuation commodity)
reverse prices (declared prices from valuation to source commodity, inverted)
indirect prices (prices calculated from the shortest chain of declared or reverse prices from source to valuation commodity)
in that order.
Here are some examples showing the effect of
--value as seen with
P 2000-01-01 A 1 B P 2000-02-01 A 2 B P 2000-03-01 A 3 B P 2000-04-01 A 4 B 2000-01-01 (a) 1 A @ 5 B 2000-02-01 (a) 1 A @ 6 B 2000-03-01 (a) 1 A @ 7 B
Show the cost of each posting:
$ hledger -f- print --value=cost 2000/01/01 (a) 5 B 2000/02/01 (a) 6 B 2000/03/01 (a) 7 B
Show the value as of the last day of the report period (2000-02-29):
$ hledger -f- print --value=end date:2000/01-2000/03 2000-01-01 (a) 2 B 2000-02-01 (a) 2 B
With no report period specified, that shows the value as of the last day of the journal (2000-03-01):
$ hledger -f- print --value=end 2000/01/01 (a) 3 B 2000/02/01 (a) 3 B 2000/03/01 (a) 3 B
Show the current value (the 2000-04-01 price is still in effect today):
$ hledger -f- print --value=now 2000-01-01 (a) 4 B 2000-02-01 (a) 4 B 2000-03-01 (a) 4 B
Show the value on 2000/01/15:
$ hledger -f- print --value=2000-01-15 2000/01/01 (a) 1 B 2000/02/01 (a) 1 B 2000/03/01 (a) 1 B
You may need to explicitly set a commodity’s display style, when reverse prices are used. Eg this output might be surprising:
P 2000-01-01 A 2B 2000-01-01 a 1B b $ hledger print -x -X A 2000/01/01 a 0 b 0
Explanation: because there’s no amount or commodity directive specifying a display style for A, 0.5A gets the default style, which shows no decimal digits. Because the displayed amount looks like zero, the commodity symbol and minus sign are not displayed either. Adding a commodity directive sets a more useful display style for A:
P 2000-01-01 A 2B commodity 0.00A 2000-01-01 a 1B b $ hledger print -X A 2000/01/01 a 0.50A b -0.50A
Effect of –value on reports¶
Here is a reference for how
--value currently affects each part of
hledger’s reports. It’s work in progress, but may be useful for
troubleshooting or reporting bugs. See also the definitions and notes
below. If you find problems, please report them, ideally with a
reproducible example. Related:
|posting amounts||cost||value at report end or today||value at report or journal end||value at DATE/today|
|balance assertions / assignments||unchanged||unchanged||unchanged||unchanged|
|starting balance (with -H)||cost||value at day before report or journal start||value at day before report or journal start||value at DATE/today|
|posting amounts (no report interval)||cost||value at report end or today||value at report or journal end||value at DATE/today|
|summary posting amounts (with report interval)||summarised cost||value at period ends||value at period ends||value at DATE/today|
|running total/average||sum/average of displayed values||sum/average of displayed values||sum/average of displayed values||sum/average of displayed values|
|balance (bs, bse, cf, is..)|
|balances (no report interval)||sums of costs||value at report end or today of sums of postings||value at report or journal end of sums of postings||value at DATE/today of sums of postings|
|balances (with report interval)||sums of costs||value at period ends of sums of postings||value at period ends of sums of postings||value at DATE/today of sums of postings|
|starting balances (with report interval and -H)||sums of costs of postings before report start||sums of postings before report start||sums of postings before report start||sums of postings before report start|
|budget amounts with --budget||like balances||like balances||like balances||like balances|
|grand total (no report interval)||sum of displayed values||sum of displayed values||sum of displayed values||sum of displayed values|
|row totals/averages (with report interval)||sums/averages of displayed values||sums/averages of displayed values||sums/averages of displayed values||sums/averages of displayed values|
|column totals||sums of displayed values||sums of displayed values||sums of displayed values||sums of displayed values|
|grand total/average||sum/average of column totals||sum/average of column totals||sum/average of column totals||sum/average of column totals|
cost : calculated using price(s) recorded in the transaction(s).
value : market value using available market price declarations, or the unchanged amount if no conversion rate can be found.
report start : the first day of the report period specified with -b or -p or date:, otherwise today.
report or journal start : the first day of the report period specified with -b or -p or date:, otherwise the earliest transaction date in the journal, otherwise today.
report end : the last day of the report period specified with -e or -p or date:, otherwise today.
report or journal end : the last day of the report period specified with -e or -p or date:, otherwise the latest transaction date in the journal, otherwise today.
report interval : a flag (-D/-W/-M/-Q/-Y) or period expression that activates the report’s multi-period mode (whether showing one or many subperiods).
Combining -B, -V, -X, –value¶
The rightmost of these flags wins.
Some commands (print, register, stats, the balance commands) can write
their output to a destination other than the console. This is controlled
$ hledger balance -o - # write to stdout (the default) $ hledger balance -o FILE # write to FILE
Some commands can write their output in other formats. Eg print and
register can output CSV, and the balance commands can output CSV or
HTML. This is controlled by the
-O/--output-format option, or by
.html file extension with
$ hledger balance -O csv # write CSV to stdout $ hledger balance -o FILE.csv # write CSV to FILE.csv
hledger uses regular expressions in a number of places:
query terms, on the command line and in the hledger-web search form:
CSV rules conditional blocks:
if REGEX ...
account alias directives and options:
alias /REGEX/ = REPLACEMENT,
hledger’s regular expressions come from the regex-tdfa library. In general they:
are case insensitive
are infix matching (do not need to match the entire thing being matched)
also support GNU word boundaries (\<, \>, \b, \B)
and parenthesised capturing groups and numeric backreferences in replacement strings
do not support mode modifiers like (?s)
Some things to note:
--aliasoption, regular expressions must be enclosed in forward slashes (
/REGEX/). Elsewhere in hledger, these are not required.
In queries, to match a regular expression metacharacter like
$as a literal character, prepend a backslash. Eg to search for amounts with the dollar sign in hledger-web, write
On the command line, some metacharacters like
$have a special meaning to the shell and so must be escaped at least once more. See Special characters.
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, prefixes to match specific fields, a not: prefix to negate the match.
We do not yet support arbitrary boolean combinations of search terms; instead most commands show transactions/postings/accounts which match (or negatively match):
any of the description terms AND
any of the account terms AND
any of the status terms AND
all the other terms.
The print command instead shows transactions which:
match any of the description terms AND
have any postings matching any of the positive account terms AND
have no postings matching any of the negative account terms AND
match all the other terms.
The following kinds of search terms can be used. Remember these can also
be prefixed with
not:, eg to exclude a particular subaccount.
: match account names by this regular expression. (With no prefix,
acct: is assumed.)
: 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
: 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
.*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
date:lastweek-. If the
line flag is present, this matches secondary
: match secondary dates within the specified period.
: match (or display, depending on command) accounts at or above this
: match transaction notes (part of
description right of
|, or whole description when there’s no
: match transaction payee/payer names
(part of description left of
|, or whole description when there’s
: match real or virtual postings respectively
status:, status:!, status:*
: match unmarked, pending, or cleared 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
The following special search term is used automatically in hledger-web, only:
: tells hledger-web to show the transaction register for this account.
Can be filtered further with
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
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
Run a subcommand by writing its name as first argument (eg
hledger incomestatement). You can also write one of the standard short
aliases displayed in parentheses in the command list (
hledger b), or
any any unambiguous prefix of a command name (
Here are all the builtin commands in alphabetical order. See also
hledger for a more organised command list, and
hledger CMD -h for
detailed command help.
Show account names.
This command lists account names, either declared with account
directives (–declared), posted to (–used), or both (the default). With
query arguments, only matched account names and account names referenced
by matched postings 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. Account names can be depth-clipped with
--depth N or
$ hledger accounts assets:bank:checking assets:bank:saving assets:cash expenses:food expenses:supplies income:gifts income:salary liabilities:debts
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 ******* 2008-07-01 2008-10-01 **
Prompt for transactions and add them to the journal.
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
-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.
add tries to provide useful defaults, using the most similar (by description) recent transaction (filtered by the query, if any) as a template.
You can also set the initial defaults with command line arguments.
Readline-style edit keys can be used during data entry.
The tab key will auto-complete whenever possible - accounts, descriptions, dates (
tomorrow). If the input area is empty, it will insert the default value.
If the journal defines a default commodity, it will be added to any bare numbers entered.
A parenthesised transaction code may be entered following a date.
Comments and tags may be entered following a description or amount.
If you make a mistake, enter
<at any prompt to restart the transaction.
Input prompts are displayed in a different colour when the terminal supports it.
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]: Saved. Starting the next transaction (. or ctrl-D/ctrl-C to quit) Date [2015/05/22]: <CTRL-D> $
On Microsoft Windows, the add command makes sure that no part of the file path ends with a period, as it can cause data loss on that platform (cf #1056).
balance, bal, b
Show accounts and their balances.
The balance command is hledger’s most versatile command. Note, despite the name, it is not always used for showing real-world account balances; the more accounting-aware balancesheet and incomestatement may be more convenient for that.
By default, it displays all accounts, and each account’s change in balance during the entire period of the journal. Balance changes are calculated by adding up the postings in each account. You can limit the postings matched, by a query, to see fewer accounts, changes over a different time period, changes from only cleared transactions, etc.
If you include an account’s complete history of postings in the report, the balance change is equivalent to the account’s current ending balance. For a real-world account, typically you won’t have all transactions in the journal; instead you’ll have all transactions after a certain date, and an “opening balances” transaction setting the correct starting balance on that date. Then the balance command will show real-world account balances. In some cases the -H/–historical flag is used to ensure this (more below).
The balance command can produce several styles of report:
Classic balance report¶
This is the original balance report, as found in Ledger. It usually looks like this:
$ hledger balance $-1 assets $1 bank:saving $-2 cash $2 expenses $1 food $1 supplies $-2 income $-1 gifts $-1 salary $1 liabilities:debts -------------------- 0
By default, accounts are displayed hierarchically, with subaccounts
indented below their parent. At each level of the tree, accounts are
sorted by account code if any, then
by account name. Or with
-S/--sort-amount, by their balance amount.
-S has a problem in hledger 1.11-1.18).
“Boring” accounts, which contain a single interesting subaccount and no
balance of their own, are elided into the following line for more
compact output. (Eg above, the “liabilities” account.) Use
to prevent this.
Account balances are “inclusive” - they include the balances of any subaccounts.
Accounts which have zero balance (and no non-zero subaccounts) are
-E/--empty to show them.
A final total is displayed by default; use
-N/--no-total to suppress
$ hledger balance -p 2008/6 expenses --no-total $2 expenses $1 food $1 supplies
Customising the classic balance report¶
You can customise the layout of classic balance reports with
$ 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 --------------------------------- 0
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:
MIN pads with spaces to at least this width (optional)
MAX truncates at this width (optional)
FIELDNAME must be enclosed in parentheses, and can be one of:
depth_spacer- a number of spaces equal to the account’s depth, or if MIN is specified, MIN * depth spaces.
account- the account’s name
total- the account’s balance/posted total, right justified
Also, FMT can begin with an optional prefix to control how multi-commodity amounts are rendered:
%_- render on multiple lines, bottom-aligned (the default)
%^- render on multiple lines, top-aligned
%,- render on one line, comma-separated
There are some quirks. Eg in one-line mode,
%(depth_spacer) has no
%(account) has indentation built in. Experimentation may be needed to get pleasing results.
Some example formats:
%(total)- the account’s total
%-20.20(account)- the account’s name, left justified, padded to 20 characters and clipped at 20 characters
%,%-50(account) %25(total)- account name padded to 50 characters, total padded to 20 characters, with multiple commodities rendered on one line
%20(total) %2(depth_spacer)%-(account)- the default format for the single-column balance report
The balance command shows negative amounts in red, if:
TERMenvironment variable is not set to
the output is not being redirected or piped anywhere
To see a flat list instead of the default hierarchical display, use
--flat. In this mode, accounts (unless depth-clipped) show their full
names and “exclusive” balance, excluding any subaccount balances. In
this mode, you can also use
--drop N to omit the first few account
$ hledger balance -p 2008/6 expenses -N --flat --drop 1 $1 food $1 supplies
Depth limited balance reports¶
--depth N or
depth:N or just
-N, balance reports show
accounts only to the specified numeric depth. This is very useful to
summarise a complex set of accounts and get an overview.
$ hledger balance -N -1 $-1 assets $2 expenses $-2 income $1 liabilities
Flat-mode balance reports, which normally show exclusive balances, show inclusive balances at the depth limit.
--percent, balance reports show each account’s value
expressed as a percentage of the column’s total. This is useful to get
an overview of the relative sizes of account balances. For example to
obtain an overview of expenses:
$ hledger balance expenses -% 100.0 % expenses 50.0 % food 50.0 % supplies -------------------- 100.0 %
--tree does not have an effect on
-%. The percentages are
always relative to the total sum of each column, they are never relative
to the parent account.
Since the percentages are relative to the columns sum, it is usually not
useful to calculate percentages if the signs of the amounts are mixed.
Although the results are technically correct, they are most likely
useless. Especially in a balance report that sums up to zero (eg
hledger balance -B) all percentage values will be zero.
This flag does not work if the report contains any mixed commodity
accounts. If there are mixed commodity accounts in the report be sure to
-B to coerce the report into using a single commodity.
Multicolumn balance report¶
Multicolumn or tabular balance reports are a very useful hledger feature, and usually the preferred style. They share many of the above features, but they show the report as a table, with columns representing time periods. This mode is activated by providing a reporting interval.
There are three types of multicolumn balance report, showing different information:
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: <!– multicolumn income statement:
$ hledger balance ^income ^expense -p ‘monthly this year’ –depth 3
or cashflow statement:
$ hledger balance ^assets ^liabilities ‘not:(receivable|payable)’ -p ‘weekly this month’ –>
$ 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
--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
--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
since summing end balances generally does not make sense.
Multicolumn balance reports display accounts in flat mode by default; to
see the hierarchy, use
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.
-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
-T/--row-total flag adds an additional column showing the total
for each row.
-A/--average flag adds a column showing the average value in each
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
In multicolumn reports the
-V/--value flag uses the
market price on the report end date, for all columns (not the price on
each column’s end date).
Eliding of boring parent accounts in tree mode, as in the classic balance report, is not yet supported in multicolumn reports.
--budget, extra columns are displayed showing budget goals for
each account and period, if any. Budget goals are defined by periodic
transactions. This is very useful
for comparing planned and actual income, expenses, time usage, etc.
–budget is most often combined with a report
For example, you can take average monthly expenses in the common expense categories to construct a minimal monthly budget:
;; Budget ~ monthly income $2000 expenses:food $400 expenses:bus $50 expenses:movies $30 assets:bank:checking ;; Two months worth of expenses 2017-11-01 income $1950 expenses:food $396 expenses:bus $49 expenses:movies $30 expenses:supplies $20 assets:bank:checking 2017-12-01 income $2100 expenses:food $412 expenses:bus $53 expenses:gifts $100 assets:bank:checking
You can now see a monthly budget report:
$ hledger balance -M --budget Budget performance in 2017/11/01-2017/12/31: || Nov Dec ======================++==================================================== assets || $-2445 [ 99% of $-2480] $-2665 [ 107% of $-2480] assets:bank || $-2445 [ 99% of $-2480] $-2665 [ 107% of $-2480] assets:bank:checking || $-2445 [ 99% of $-2480] $-2665 [ 107% of $-2480] expenses || $495 [ 103% of $480] $565 [ 118% of $480] expenses:bus || $49 [ 98% of $50] $53 [ 106% of $50] expenses:food || $396 [ 99% of $400] $412 [ 103% of $400] expenses:movies || $30 [ 100% of $30] 0 [ 0% of $30] income || $1950 [ 98% of $2000] $2100 [ 105% of $2000] ----------------------++---------------------------------------------------- || 0 [ 0] 0 [ 0]
Note this is different from a normal balance report in several ways:
Only accounts with budget goals during the report period are shown, by default.
In each column, in square brackets after the actual amount, budgeted amounts are shown, along with the percentage of budget used.
All parent accounts are always shown, even in flat mode. Eg assets, assets:bank, and expenses above.
Amounts always include all subaccounts, budgeted or unbudgeted, even in flat mode.
This means that the numbers displayed will not always add up! Eg above,
expenses actual amount includes the gifts and supplies
transactions, but the
are not shown, as they have no budget amounts declared.
This can be confusing. When you need to make things clearer, use the
-E/--empty flag, which will reveal all accounts including unbudgeted
ones, giving the full picture. Eg:
$ hledger balance -M --budget --empty Budget performance in 2017/11/01-2017/12/31: || Nov Dec ======================++==================================================== assets || $-2445 [ 99% of $-2480] $-2665 [ 107% of $-2480] assets:bank || $-2445 [ 99% of $-2480] $-2665 [ 107% of $-2480] assets:bank:checking || $-2445 [ 99% of $-2480] $-2665 [ 107% of $-2480] expenses || $495 [ 103% of $480] $565 [ 118% of $480] expenses:bus || $49 [ 98% of $50] $53 [ 106% of $50] expenses:food || $396 [ 99% of $400] $412 [ 103% of $400] expenses:gifts || 0 $100 expenses:movies || $30 [ 100% of $30] 0 [ 0% of $30] expenses:supplies || $20 0 income || $1950 [ 98% of $2000] $2100 [ 105% of $2000] ----------------------++---------------------------------------------------- || 0 [ 0] 0 [ 0]
You can roll over unspent budgets to next period with
$ hledger balance -M --budget --cumulative Budget performance in 2017/11/01-2017/12/31: || Nov Dec ======================++==================================================== assets || $-2445 [ 99% of $-2480] $-5110 [ 103% of $-4960] assets:bank || $-2445 [ 99% of $-2480] $-5110 [ 103% of $-4960] assets:bank:checking || $-2445 [ 99% of $-2480] $-5110 [ 103% of $-4960] expenses || $495 [ 103% of $480] $1060 [ 110% of $960] expenses:bus || $49 [ 98% of $50] $102 [ 102% of $100] expenses:food || $396 [ 99% of $400] $808 [ 101% of $800] expenses:movies || $30 [ 100% of $30] $30 [ 50% of $60] income || $1950 [ 98% of $2000] $4050 [ 101% of $4000] ----------------------++---------------------------------------------------- || 0 [ 0] 0 [ 0]
For more examples, see Budgeting and Forecasting.
You can add budgets to any account in your account hierarchy. If you have budgets on both parent account and some of its children, then budget(s) of the child account(s) would be added to the budget of their parent, much like account balances behave.
In the most simple case this means that once you add a budget to any account, all its parents would have budget as well.
To illustrate this, consider the following budget:
~ monthly from 2019/01 expenses:personal $1,000.00 expenses:personal:electronics $100.00 liabilities
With this, monthly budget for electronics is defined to be $100 and
budget for personal expenses is an additional $1000, which implicity
means that budget for both
expenses is $1100.
expenses:personal:electronics will be counted both
towards its $100 budget and $1100 of
expenses:personal , and
transactions in any other subaccount of
expenses:personal would be
counted towards only towards the budget of
For example, let’s consider these transactions:
~ monthly from 2019/01 expenses:personal $1,000.00 expenses:personal:electronics $100.00 liabilities 2019/01/01 Google home hub expenses:personal:electronics $90.00 liabilities $-90.00 2019/01/02 Phone screen protector expenses:personal:electronics:upgrades $10.00 liabilities 2019/01/02 Weekly train ticket expenses:personal:train tickets $153.00 liabilities 2019/01/03 Flowers expenses:personal $30.00 liabilities
As you can see, we have transactions in
expenses:personal:train tickets, and since both of these accounts are
without explicitly defined budget, these transactions would be counted
towards budgets of
$ hledger balance --budget -M Budget performance in 2019/01: || Jan ===============================++=============================== expenses || $283.00 [ 26% of $1100.00] expenses:personal || $283.00 [ 26% of $1100.00] expenses:personal:electronics || $100.00 [ 100% of $100.00] liabilities || $-283.00 [ 26% of $-1100.00] -------------------------------++------------------------------- || 0 [ 0]
--empty, we can get a better picture of budget allocation and
$ hledger balance --budget -M --empty Budget performance in 2019/01: || Jan ========================================++=============================== expenses || $283.00 [ 26% of $1100.00] expenses:personal || $283.00 [ 26% of $1100.00] expenses:personal:electronics || $100.00 [ 100% of $100.00] expenses:personal:electronics:upgrades || $10.00 expenses:personal:train tickets || $153.00 liabilities || $-283.00 [ 26% of $-1100.00] ----------------------------------------++------------------------------- || 0 [ 0]
This command displays a simple balance sheet, showing historical ending balances of asset and liability accounts (ignoring any report begin date). It assumes that these accounts are under a top-level
liability account (case insensitive, plural forms also allowed).
Note this report shows all account balances with normal positive sign (like conventional financial statements, unlike balance/print/register) (experimental).
$ hledger balancesheet Balance Sheet Assets: $-1 assets $1 bank:saving $-2 cash -------------------- $-1 Liabilities: $1 liabilities:debts -------------------- $1 Total: -------------------- 0
With a reporting interval, multiple columns will
be shown, one for each report period. As with multicolumn balance
reports, you can alter the report mode
--historical. Normally balancesheet
shows historical ending balances, which is what you need for a balance
sheet; note this means it ignores report begin dates (and
-T/--row-total, since summing end balances generally does not make
sense). Instead of absolute values percentages can be
Just like balancesheet, but also reports Equity (which it assumes is under a top-level
$ hledger balancesheetequity Balance Sheet With Equity Assets: $-2 assets $1 bank:saving $-3 cash -------------------- $-2 Liabilities: $1 liabilities:debts -------------------- $1 Equity: $1 equity:owner -------------------- $1 Total: -------------------- 0
This command displays a simple cashflow statement, showing changes in “cash” accounts. It assumes that these accounts are under a top-level
asset account (case insensitive, plural forms also allowed) and do not
A/R in their name. Note this report shows all
account balances with normal positive sign (like conventional financial
statements, unlike balance/print/register) (experimental).
$ hledger cashflow Cashflow Statement Cash flows: $-1 assets $1 bank:saving $-2 cash -------------------- $-1 Total: -------------------- $-1
With a reporting interval, multiple columns will
be shown, one for each report period. Normally cashflow shows changes in
assets per period, though as with multicolumn balance
reports you can alter the report mode
--historical. Instead of absolute
values percentages can be displayed with
Check that transactions are sorted by increasing date. With –date2, checks secondary dates instead. With –strict, dates must also be unique. With a query, only matched transactions’ dates are checked. Reads the default journal file, or another specified with -f.
Reports account names having the same leaf but different prefixes. In other words, two or more leaves that are categorized differently. Reads the default journal file, or another specified as an argument.
An example: http://stefanorodighiero.net/software/hledger-dupes.html
Prints a “closing balances” transaction and an “opening balances” transaction that bring account balances to and from zero, respectively. Useful for bringing asset/liability balances forward into a new journal file, or for closing out revenues/expenses to retained earnings at the end of a period.
The closing transaction transfers balances to “equity:closing balances”.
The opening transaction transfers balances from “equity:opening
balances”. You can choose to print just one of the transactions by using
If you split your journal files by time (eg yearly), you will typically
run this command at the end of the year, and save the closing
transaction as last entry of the old file, and the opening transaction
as the first entry of the new file. This makes the files self contained,
so that correct balances are reported no matter which of them are
loaded. Ie, if you load just one file, the balances are initialised
correctly; or if you load several files, the redundant closing/opening
transactions cancel each other out. (They will show up in print or
register reports; you can exclude them with a query like
If you’re running a business, you might also use this command to “close the books” at the end of an accounting period, transferring income statement account balances to retained earnings. (You may want to change the equity account name to something like “equity:retained earnings”.)
By default, the closing transaction is dated yesterday, the balances are
calculated as of end of yesterday, and the opening transaction is dated
today. To close on some other date, use:
hledger close -e OPENINGDATE.
Eg, to close/open on the 2018/2019 boundary, use
-e 2019. You can also
use -p or
date:PERIOD (any starting date is ignored).
Both transactions will include balance assertions for the
closed/reopened accounts. You probably shouldn’t use status or realness
filters (like -C or -R or
status:) with this command, or the generated
balance assertions will depend on these flags. Likewise, if you run this
command with –auto, the balance assertions will probably always require
When account balances have cost information (transaction prices), the closing/opening transactions will preserve it, so that eg balance -B reports will not be affected.
Carrying asset/liability balances into a new file for 2019, all from command line:
Warning: we use
>> here to append; be careful not to type a single
> which would wipe your journal!
$ hledger close -f 2018.journal -e 2019 assets liabilities --opening >>2019.journal $ hledger close -f 2018.journal -e 2019 assets liabilities --closing >>2018.journal
$ hledger bs -f 2019.journal # one file - balances are correct $ hledger bs -f 2018.journal -f 2019.journal # two files - balances still correct $ hledger bs -f 2018.journal not:desc:closing # to see year-end balances, must exclude closing txn
Transactions spanning the closing date can complicate matters, breaking balance assertions:
2018/12/30 a purchase made in 2018, clearing the following year expenses:food 5 assets:bank:checking -5 ; [2019/1/2]
Here’s one way to resolve that:
; in 2018.journal: 2018/12/30 a purchase made in 2018, clearing the following year expenses:food 5 liabilities:pending ; in 2019.journal: 2019/1/2 clearance of last year's pending transactions liabilities:pending 5 = 0 assets:checking
List all commodity/currency symbols used or declared in the journal.
descriptions Show descriptions.
This command lists all descriptions that appear in transactions.
$ hledger descriptions Store Name Gas Station | Petrol Person A
Compares a particular account’s transactions in two input files. It shows any transactions to this account which are in one file but not in the other.
More precisely, for each posting affecting this account in either file, it looks for a corresponding posting in the other file which posts the same amount to the same account (ignoring date, description, etc.) Since postings not transactions are compared, this also works when multiple bank transactions have been combined into a single journal entry.
This is useful eg if you have downloaded an account’s transactions from your bank (eg as CSV data). When hledger and your bank disagree about the account balance, you can compare the bank data with your journal to find out the cause.
$ hledger diff -f $LEDGER_FILE -f bank.csv assets:bank:giro These transactions are in the first file only: 2014/01/01 Opening Balances assets:bank:giro EUR ... ... equity:opening balances EUR -... These transactions are in the second file only:
List all files included in the journal. With a REGEX argument, only file names matching the regular expression (case sensitive) are shown.
Show any of the hledger manuals.
help command displays any of the main hledger
manuals, in one of several ways. Run it with no argument to
list the manuals, or provide a full or partial manual name to select
hledger manuals are available in several formats. hledger help will use
the first of these display methods that it finds: info, man, $PAGER,
less, stdout (or when non-interactive, just stdout). You can force a
particular viewer with the
$ hledger help Please choose a manual by typing "hledger help MANUAL" (a substring is ok). Manuals: hledger hledger-ui hledger-web journal csv timeclock timedot
$ hledger help h --man hledger(1) hledger User Manuals hledger(1) NAME hledger - a command-line accounting tool SYNOPSIS hledger [-f FILE] COMMAND [OPTIONS] [ARGS] hledger [-f FILE] ADDONCMD -- [OPTIONS] [ARGS] hledger DESCRIPTION hledger is a cross-platform program for tracking money, time, or any ...
Read new transactions added to each FILE since last run, and add them to the main journal file. Or with –dry-run, just print the transactions that would be added. Or with –catchup, just mark all of the FILEs’ transactions as imported, without actually importing any.
The input files are specified as arguments - no need to write -f before
each one. So eg to add new transactions from all CSV files to the main
journal, it’s just:
hledger import *.csv
New transactions are detected in the same way as print –new: by
assuming transactions are always added to the input files in increasing
date order, and by saving
.latest.FILE state files.
The –dry-run output is in journal format, so you can filter it, eg to see only uncategorised transactions:
$ hledger import --dry ... | hledger -f- print unknown --ignore-assertions
Importing balance assignments¶
Entries added by import will have their posting amounts made explicit
hledger print -x). This means that any balance
assignments in imported files must
be evaluated; but, imported files don’t get to see the main file’s
account balances. As a result, importing entries with balance
assignments (eg from an institution that provides only balances and not
posting amounts) will probably generate incorrect posting amounts. To
avoid this problem, use print instead of import:
$ hledger print IMPORTFILE [--new] >> $LEDGER_FILE
(If you think import should leave amounts implicit like print does, please test it and send a pull request.)
This command displays a simple income statement, showing revenues and expenses during a period. It assumes that these accounts are under a top-level
expense account (case insensitive,
plural forms also allowed). Note this report shows all account balances
with normal positive sign (like conventional financial statements,
unlike balance/print/register) (experimental).
This command displays a simple income
statement. It currently
assumes that you have top-level accounts named
expense (plural forms also allowed.)
$ hledger incomestatement Income Statement Revenues: $-2 income $-1 gifts $-1 salary -------------------- $-2 Expenses: $2 expenses $1 food $1 supplies -------------------- $2 Total: -------------------- 0
With a reporting interval, multiple columns will
be shown, one for each report period. Normally incomestatement shows
revenues/expenses per period, though as with multicolumn balance
reports you can alter the report mode
--historical. Instead of absolute
values percentages can be displayed with
notes Show notes.
This command lists all notes that appear in transactions.
$ hledger notes Petrol Snacks
payees Show payee names.
This command lists all payee names that appear in transactions.
$ hledger payees Store Name Gas Station Person A
Print market price directives from the journal. With –costs, also print synthetic market prices based on transaction prices. With –inverted-costs, also print inverse prices based on transaction prices. Prices (and postings providing prices) can be filtered by a query. Price amounts are always displayed with their full precision.
print, txns, p
Show transaction journal entries, sorted by date.
The print command displays full journal entries (transactions) from the journal file in date order, tidily formatted. With –date2, transactions are sorted by secondary date instead.
print’s output is always a valid hledger journal.
It preserves all transaction information, but it does not preserve directives or inter-transaction comments
$ 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
Normally, the journal entry’s explicit or implicit amount style is
preserved. Ie 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.
-x will cause postings with a multi-commodity amount (these can
arise when a multi-commodity transaction has an implicit amount) will be
split into multiple single-commodity postings, for valid journal output.
--cost, amounts with transaction
prices are converted to cost using
that price. This can be used for troubleshooting.
--match and a STR argument, print will show at most one
transaction: the one one whose description is most similar to STR, and
is most recent. STR should contain at least two characters. If there is
no similar-enough match, no transaction will be shown.
--new, for each FILE being read, hledger reads (and writes) a
special state file (
.latest.FILE in the same directory), containing
the latest transaction date(s) that were seen last time FILE was read.
When this file is found, only transactions with newer dates (and new
transactions on the latest date) are printed. This is useful for
ignoring already-seen entries in import data, such as downloaded CSV
$ hledger -f bank1.csv print --new # shows transactions added since last print --new on this file
This assumes that transactions added to FILE always have same or increasing dates, and that transactions on the same day do not get reordered. See also the import command.
$ hledger print -Ocsv "txnidx","date","date2","status","code","description","comment","account","amount","commodity","credit","debit","posting-status","posting-comment" "1","2008/01/01","","","","income","","assets:bank:checking","1","$","","1","","" "1","2008/01/01","","","","income","","income:salary","-1","$","1","","","" "2","2008/06/01","","","","gift","","assets:bank:checking","1","$","","1","","" "2","2008/06/01","","","","gift","","income:gifts","-1","$","1","","","" "3","2008/06/02","","","","save","","assets:bank:saving","1","$","","1","","" "3","2008/06/02","","","","save","","assets:bank:checking","-1","$","1","","","" "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","","",""
There is one CSV record per posting, with the parent transaction’s fields repeated.
The “txnidx” (transaction index) field shows which postings belong to the same transaction. (This number might change if transactions are reordered within the file, files are parsed/included in a different order, etc.)
The amount is separated into “commodity” (the symbol) and “amount” (numeric quantity) fields.
The numeric amount is repeated in either the “credit” or “debit” column, for convenience. (Those names are not accurate in the accounting sense; it just puts negative amounts under credit and zero or greater amounts under debit.)
Print transactions which do not reuse an already-seen description.
$ cat unique.journal 1/1 test (acct:one) 1 2/2 test (acct:two) 2 $ LEDGER_FILE=unique.journal hledger print-unique (-f option not supported) 2015/01/01 test (acct:one) 1
register, reg, r
Show postings and their running total.
The register command displays postings in date order, 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
With –date2, it shows and sorts by secondary date instead.
-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
--depth option limits the amount of sub-account detail displayed.
-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
below). It is affected by
--historical. It works best when showing
just one account and one commodity.
-r flag shows the other postings in the transactions
of the postings which would normally be shown.
--invert flag negates all amounts. For example, it can be used on
an income account where amounts are normally displayed as negative
numbers. It’s also useful to show postings on the checking account
together with the related account:
$ hledger register --related --invert assets:checking
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
-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
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
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 (won’t display correctly in –help):
<--------------------------------- 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, & description width 40
Print the one posting whose transaction description is closest to DESC, in the style of the register command. If there are multiple equally good matches, it shows the most recent. Query options (options, not arguments) can be used to restrict the search space. Helps ledger-autosync detect already-seen transactions when importing.
Print all transactions, rewriting the postings of matched transactions. For now the only rewrite available is adding new postings, like print –auto.
This is a start at a generic rewriter of transaction entries. It reads the default journal and prints the transactions, like print, but adds one or more specified postings to any transactions matching QUERY. The posting amounts can be fixed, or a multiplier of the existing transaction’s first posting amount.
$ hledger-rewrite.hs ^income --add-posting '(liabilities:tax) *.33 ; income tax' --add-posting '(reserve:gifts) $100' $ hledger-rewrite.hs expenses:gifts --add-posting '(reserve:gifts) *-1"' $ hledger-rewrite.hs -f rewrites.hledger
rewrites.hledger may consist of entries like:
= ^income amt:<0 date:2017 (liabilities:tax) *0.33 ; tax on income (reserve:grocery) *0.25 ; reserve 25% for grocery (reserve:) *0.25 ; reserve 25% for grocery
Note the single quotes to protect the dollar sign from bash, and the two spaces between account and amount.
$ hledger rewrite -- [QUERY] --add-posting "ACCT AMTEXPR" ... $ hledger rewrite -- ^income --add-posting '(liabilities:tax) *.33' $ hledger rewrite -- expenses:gifts --add-posting '(budget:gifts) *-1"' $ hledger rewrite -- ^income --add-posting '(budget:foreign currency) *0.25 JPY; diversify'
--add-posting option is a usual posting of transaction
with an exception for amount specification. More precisely, you can use
'*' (star symbol) before the amount to indicate that that this is a
factor for an amount of original matched posting. If the amount includes
a commodity name, the new posting amount will be in the new commodity;
otherwise, it will be in the matched posting amount’s commodity.
Re-write rules in a file¶
During the run this tool will execute so called “Automated Transactions” found in any journal it process. I.e instead of specifying this operations in command line you can put them in a journal file.
Make contents look like this:
= ^income (liabilities:tax) *.33 = expenses:gifts budget:gifts *-1 assets:budget *1
'=' (equality symbol) that is used instead of date in
transactions you usually write. It indicates the query by which you want
to match the posting to add new ones.
$ hledger rewrite -- -f input.journal -f rewrite-rules.journal > rewritten-tidy-output.journal
This is something similar to the commands pipeline:
$ hledger rewrite -- -f input.journal '^income' --add-posting '(liabilities:tax) *.33' \ | hledger rewrite -- -f - expenses:gifts --add-posting 'budget:gifts *-1' \ --add-posting 'assets:budget *1' \ > rewritten-tidy-output.journal
It is important to understand that relative order of such entries in journal is important. You can re-use result of previously added postings.
Diff output format¶
To use this tool for batch modification of your journal files you may find useful output in form of unified diff.
$ hledger rewrite -- --diff -f examples/sample.journal '^income' --add-posting '(liabilities:tax) *.33'
Output might look like:
--- /tmp/examples/sample.journal +++ /tmp/examples/sample.journal @@ -18,3 +18,4 @@ 2008/01/01 income - assets:bank:checking $1 + assets:bank:checking $1 income:salary + (liabilities:tax) 0 @@ -22,3 +23,4 @@ 2008/06/01 gift - assets:bank:checking $1 + assets:bank:checking $1 income:gifts + (liabilities:tax) 0
If you’ll pass this through
patch tool you’ll get transactions
containing the posting that matches your query be updated. Note that
multiple files might be update according to list of input files
--file options and
include directives inside of these
Be careful. Whole transaction being re-formatted in a style of output
rewrite vs. print –auto¶
This command predates print –auto, and currently does much the same thing, but with these differences:
with multiple files, rewrite lets rules in any file affect all other files. print –auto uses standard directive scoping; rules affect only child files.
rewrite’s query limits which transactions can be rewritten; all are printed. print –auto’s query limits which transactions are printed.
rewrite applies rules specified on command line or in the journal. print –auto applies rules specified in the journal.
Shows the time-weighted (TWR) and money-weighted (IRR) rate of return on your investments.
This command assumes that you have account(s) that hold nothing but your investments and whenever you record current appraisal/valuation of these investments you offset unrealized profit and loss into account(s) that, again, hold nothing but unrealized profit and loss.
Any transactions affecting balance of investment account(s) and not originating from unrealized profit and loss account(s) are assumed to be your investments or withdrawals.
At a minimum, you need to supply a query (which could be just an account
name) to select your investments with
--inv, and another query to
identify your profit and loss transactions with
It will compute and display the internalized rate of return (IRR) and time-weighted rate of return (TWR) for your investments for the time period requested. Both rates of return are annualized before display, regardless of the length of reporting interval.
Show some journal statistics.
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.
$ 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 ($) Market prices : 12 ($)
Run built-in unit tests.
This command runs the unit tests built in to hledger and hledger-lib, printing the results on stdout. If any test fails, the exit code will be non-zero.
This is mainly used by hledger developers, but you can also use it to sanity-check the installed hledger executable on your platform. All tests are expected to pass - if you ever see a failure, please report as a bug!
This command also accepts tasty test runner options, written after a – (double hyphen). Eg to run only the tests in Hledger.Data.Amount, with ANSI colour codes disabled:
$ hledger test -- -pData.Amount --color=never
For help on these, see https://github.com/feuerbach/tasty#options
-- --help currently doesn’t show them).
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,
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,
hledger -h webshows hledger’s help, while
hledger web -hshows hledger-web’s help.
Flags specific to the add-on must have a preceding
--to hide them from hledger. So
hledger web --serve --port 9000will be rejected; you must use
hledger web -- --serve --port 9000.
You can always run add-ons directly if preferred:
hledger-web --serve --port 9000.
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:
These are maintained and released along with hledger.
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-interest generates interest transactions for an account according to various schemes.
These are available in source form in the hledger repo’s bin/ directory. 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.
COLUMNS The screen width used by the register command. Default: the full terminal width.
LEDGER_FILE The journal file path when not specified with
~/.hledger.journal (on windows, perhaps
Reads data from one or more files in hledger journal, timeclock,
timedot, or CSV format specified with
$HOME/.hledger.journal (on windows, perhaps
The need to precede addon command options with
-- when invoked from
hledger is awkward.
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.
In a Microsoft Windows CMD window, non-ascii characters and colours are not supported.
On Windows, non-ascii characters may not display correctly when running a hledger built in CMD in MSYS/CYGWIN, or vice-versa.
In a Cygwin/MSYS/Mintty window, the tab key is not supported in hledger add.
Not all of Ledger’s journal file syntax is supported. See file format differences.
On large data files, hledger is slower and uses more memory than Ledger.
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
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
“Illegal byte sequence” or “Invalid or incomplete multibyte or wide
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 C en_US.utf8 # <- a UTF8-aware locale is available POSIX $ 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
$ apt-get install language-pack-fr $ locale -a C en_US.utf8 fr_BE.utf8 fr_CA.utf8 fr_CH.utf8 fr_FR.utf8 fr_LU.utf8 POSIX $ LANG=fr_FR.utf8 hledger -f my.journal print
Note some platforms allow variant locale spellings, but not all (ubuntu
fr_FR.UTF8, mac osx requires exactly