hledger-web - web interface for the hledger accounting tool

hledger-web [OPTIONS]
hledger web -- [OPTIONS]

hledger is a reliable, cross-platform set of programs 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).

hledger-web is hledger's web interface. It starts a simple web application for browsing and adding transactions, and optionally opens it in a web browser window if possible. It provides a more user-friendly UI than the hledger CLI or hledger-ui interface, showing more at once (accounts, the current account register, balance charts) and allowing history-aware data entry, interactive searching, and bookmarking.

hledger-web also lets you share a ledger with multiple users, or even the public web. There is no access control, so if you need that you should put it behind a suitable web proxy. As a small protection against data loss when running an unprotected instance, it writes a numbered backup of the main journal file (only ?) on every edit.

Like hledger, it 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). For more about this see hledger(1), hledger_journal(5) etc.


Command-line options and arguments may be used to set an initial filter on the data. These filter options are not shown in the web UI, but it will be applied in addition to any search query entered there.

Note: if invoking hledger-web as a hledger subcommand, write -- before options, as shown in the synopsis above.

--serve : serve and log requests, don't browse or auto-exit

--serve-api : like --serve, but serve only the JSON web API, without the server-side web UI

--host=IPADDR : listen on this IP address (default:

--port=PORT : listen on this TCP port (default: 5000)

--socket=SOCKETFILE : use a unix domain socket file to listen for requests instead of a TCP socket. Implies --serve. It can only be used if the operating system can provide this type of socket.

--base-url=URL : set the base url (default: http://IPADDR:PORT). You would change this when sharing over the network, or integrating within a larger website.

--file-url=URL : set the static files url (default: BASEURL/static). hledger-web normally serves static files itself, but if you wanted to serve them from another server for efficiency, you would set the url with this.

--capabilities=CAP[,CAP..] : enable the view, add, and/or manage capabilities (default: view,add)

--capabilities-header=HTTPHEADER : read capabilities to enable from a HTTP header, like X-Sandstorm-Permissions (default: disabled)

hledger input options:

-f FILE --file=FILE : use a different input file. For stdin, use - (default: $LEDGER_FILE or $HOME/.hledger.journal)

--rules-file=RULESFILE : Conversion rules file to use when reading CSV (default: FILE.rules)

--separator=CHAR : Field separator to expect when reading CSV (default: ',')

--alias=OLD=NEW : rename accounts named OLD to NEW

--anon : anonymize accounts and payees

--pivot FIELDNAME : use some other field or tag for the account name

-I --ignore-assertions : disable balance assertion checks (note: does not disable balance assignments)

hledger reporting options:

-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 using period expressions syntax

--date2 : match the secondary date instead (see command help for other effects)

-U --unmarked : include only unmarked postings/txns (can combine with -P or -C)

-P --pending : include only pending postings/txns

-C --cleared : include only cleared postings/txns

-R --real : include only non-virtual postings

-NUM --depth=NUM : hide/aggregate accounts or postings more than NUM levels deep

-E --empty : show items with zero amount, normally hidden (and vice-versa in hledger-ui/hledger-web)

-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)

--auto : apply automated posting rules to modify transactions.

--forecast : generate future transactions from periodic transaction rules, for the next 6 months or till report end date. In hledger-ui, also make ordinary future transactions visible.

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.

hledger help options:

-h --help : show general usage (or after COMMAND, command usage)

--version : show version

--debug[=N] : show debug output (levels 1-9, default: 1)

A @FILE argument will be expanded to the contents of FILE, which should contain one command line option/argument per line. (To prevent this, insert a -- argument before.)

By default, hledger-web starts the web app in "transient mode" and also opens it in your default web browser if possible. In this mode the web app will keep running for as long as you have it open in a browser window, and will exit after two minutes of inactivity (no requests and no browser windows viewing it). With --serve, it just runs the web app without exiting, and logs requests to the console. With --serve-api, only the JSON web api (see below) is served, with the usual HTML server-side web UI disabled.

By default the server listens on IP address, accessible only to local requests. You can use --host to change this, eg --host to listen on all configured addresses.

Similarly, use --port to set a TCP port other than 5000, eg if you are running multiple hledger-web instances.

Both of these options are ignored when --socket is used. In this case, it creates an AF_UNIX socket file at the supplied path and uses that for communication. This is an alternative way of running multiple hledger-web instances behind a reverse proxy that handles authentication for different users. The path can be derived in a predictable way, eg by using the username within the path. As an example, nginx as reverse proxy can use the variabel $remote_user to derive a path from the username used in a HTTP basic authentication. The following proxy_pass directive allows access to all hledger-web instances that created a socket in /tmp/hledger/:

  proxy_pass http://unix:/tmp/hledger/${remote_user}.socket;

You can use --base-url to change the protocol, hostname, port and path that appear in hyperlinks, useful eg for integrating hledger-web within a larger website. The default is http://HOST:PORT/ using the server's configured host address and TCP port (or http://HOST if PORT is 80).

With --file-url you can set a different base url for static files, eg for better caching or cookie-less serving on high performance websites.


By default, hledger-web allows anyone who can reach it to view the journal and to add new transactions, but not to change existing data.

You can restrict who can reach it by

  • setting the IP address it listens on (see --host above). By default it listens on, accessible to all users on the local machine.

  • putting it behind an authenticating proxy, using eg apache or nginx

  • custom firewall rules

You can restrict what the users who reach it can do, by

  • using the --capabilities=CAP[,CAP..] flag when you start it, enabling one or more of the following capabilities. The default value is view,add:

    • view - allows viewing the journal file and all included files

    • add - allows adding new transactions to the main journal file

    • manage - allows editing, uploading or downloading the main or included files

  • using the --capabilities-header=HTTPHEADER flag to specify a HTTP header from which it will read capabilities to enable. hledger-web on Sandstorm uses the X-Sandstorm-Permissions header to integrate with Sandstorm's permissions. This is disabled by default.


If you enable the manage capability mentioned above, you'll see a new "spanner" button to the right of the search form. Clicking this will let you edit, upload, or download the journal file or any files it includes.

Note, unlike any other hledger command, in this mode you (or any visitor) can alter or wipe the data files.

Normally whenever a file is changed in this way, hledger-web saves a numbered backup (assuming file permissions allow it, the disk is not full, etc.) hledger-web is not aware of version control systems, currently; if you use one, you'll have to arrange to commit the changes yourself (eg with a cron job or a file watcher like entr).

Changes which would leave the journal file(s) unparseable or non-valid (eg with failing balance assertions) are prevented. (Probably. This needs re-testing.)


hledger-web detects changes made to the files by other means (eg if you edit it directly, outside of hledger-web), and it will show the new data when you reload the page or navigate to a new page. If a change makes a file unparseable, hledger-web will display an error message until the file has been fixed.

(Note: if you are viewing files mounted from another machine, make sure that both machine clocks are roughly in step.)


In addition to the web UI, hledger-web provides some API routes that serve JSON in response to GET requests. (And when started with --serve-api, it provides only these routes.):


Also, you can append a new transaction to the journal by sending a PUT request to /add (hledger-web only). As with the web UI's add form, hledger-web must be started with the add capability for this (enabled by default).

The payload should be a valid hledger transaction as JSON, similar to what you get from /transactions or /accounttransactions.

Another way to generate test data is with the readJsonFile/writeJsonFile helpers in Hledger.Web.Json, which can write or read most of hledger's data types to or from a file. Eg here we write the first transaction of a sample journal:

$ make ghci-web
>>> :m +*Hledger.Web.Json
>>> writeJsonFile "txn.json" (head $ jtxns samplejournal)
>>> :q
$ python -m json.tool <txn.json >txn.pretty.json  # optional: make human-readable

(sample output & discussion)

And here's how to test adding that with curl:

$ curl -s -X PUT -H 'Content-Type: application/json' --data-binary @txn.pretty.json; echo

By default, both the server-side HTML UI and the JSON API are served. Running with --serve-api disables the former, useful if you only want to serve the API.


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

A typical value is ~/DIR/YYYY.journal, where DIR is a version-controlled finance directory and YYYY is the current year. Or ~/DIR/current.journal, where current.journal is a symbolic link to YYYY.journal.

On Mac computers, you can set this and other environment variables in a more thorough way that also affects applications started from the GUI (say, an Emacs dock icon). Eg on MacOS Catalina I have a ~/.MacOSX/environment.plist file containing

  "LEDGER_FILE" : "~/finance/current.journal"

To see the effect you may need to killall Dock, or reboot.


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.

-f- doesn't work (hledger-web can't read from stdin).

Query arguments and some hledger options are ignored.

Does not work in text-mode browsers.

Does not work well on small screens.