hledger-ui - terminal interface (TUI) for hledger, a robust, friendly plain text accounting app.


hledger-ui [OPTS] [QUERYARGS]
hledger ui -- [OPTS] [QUERYARGS]


This manual is for hledger's terminal interface, version 1.34. See also the hledger manual for common concepts and file formats.

hledger is a robust, user-friendly, 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), and largely interconvertible with beancount(1).

hledger-ui is hledger's terminal interface, providing an efficient full-window text UI for viewing accounts and transactions, and some limited data entry capability. It is easier than hledger's command-line interface, and sometimes quicker and more convenient than the web interface.

Like hledger, it reads from (and appends to) a journal file specified by the LEDGER_FILE environment variable (defaulting to $HOME/.hledger.journal); or you can specify files with -f options. It can also read timeclock files, timedot files, or any CSV/SSV/TSV file with a date field. (See hledger(1) -> Input for details.)

Unlike hledger, hledger-ui hides all future-dated transactions by default. They can be revealed, along with any rule-generated periodic transactions, by pressing the F key (or starting with --forecast) to enable "forecast mode".


Any arguments are interpreted as a hledger query which filters the data. hledger-ui provides the following options:

  -w --watch                watch for data and date changes and reload
     --theme=THEME          use this custom display theme (default,
                            greenterm, terminal, dark)
     --cash                 start in the cash accounts screen
     --bs                   start in the balance sheet accounts screen
     --is                   start in the income statement accounts screen
     --all                  start in the all accounts screen
     --register=ACCTREGEX   start in the (first matched) account's register
     --change               show period balances (changes) at startup instead
                            of historical balances
  -l --flat                 show accounts as a flat list (default)
  -t --tree                 show accounts as a tree

and also supports many of hledger's general options:

General input/data transformation flags:
  -f --file=FILE            Read data from FILE, or from stdin if -. Can be
                            specified more than once. If not specified, reads
                            from $LEDGER_FILE or $HOME/.hledger.journal.
     --rules-file=RULEFILE  Use conversion rules from this file for
                            converting subsequent CSV/SSV/TSV files. If not
                            specified, uses FILE.rules for each such FILE.
     --alias=A=B|/RGX/=RPL  transform account names from A to B, or by
                            replacing regular expression matches
     --auto                 generate extra postings by applying auto posting
                            rules ("=") to all transactions
     --forecast[=PERIOD]    Generate extra transactions from periodic rules
                            ("~"), from after the latest ordinary transaction
                            until 6 months from now. Or, during the specified
                            PERIOD (the equals is required). Auto posting rules
                            will also be applied to these transactions. In
                            hledger-ui, also make future-dated transactions
                            visible at startup.
  -I --ignore-assertions    don't check balance assertions by default
     --infer-costs          infer conversion equity postings from costs
     --infer-equity         infer costs from conversion equity postings
     --infer-market-prices  infer market prices from costs
     --pivot=TAGNAME        use a different field or tag as account names
  -s --strict               do extra error checks (and override -I)
     --verbose-tags         add tags indicating generated/modified data

General output/reporting flags (supported by some commands):
  -b --begin=DATE           include postings/transactions on/after this date
  -e --end=DATE             include postings/transactions before this date
                            (with a report interval, will be adjusted to
                            following subperiod end)
  -D --daily                multiperiod report with 1 day interval
  -W --weekly               multiperiod report with 1 week interval
  -M --monthly              multiperiod report with 1 month interval
  -Q --quarterly            multiperiod report with 1 quarter interval
  -Y --yearly               multiperiod report with 1 year interval
  -p --period=PERIODEXP     set begin date, end date, and/or report interval,
                            with more flexibility
     --today=DATE           override today's date (affects relative dates)
     --date2                match/use secondary dates instead (deprecated)
  -U --unmarked             include only unmarked postings/transactions
  -P --pending              include only pending postings/transactions
  -C --cleared              include only cleared postings/transactions
                            (-U/-P/-C can be combined)
  -R --real                 include only non-virtual postings
     --depth=NUM            or -NUM: show only top NUM levels of accounts
  -E --empty                Show zero items, which are normally hidden.
                            In hledger-ui & hledger-web, do the opposite.
  -B --cost                 show amounts converted to their cost/sale amount
  -V --market               Show amounts converted to their value at period
                            end(s) in their default valuation commodity.
                            Equivalent to --value=end.
  -X --exchange=COMM        Show amounts converted to their value at period
                            end(s) in the specified commodity.
                            Equivalent to --value=end,COMM.
     --value=WHEN[,COMM]    show amounts converted to their value on the
                            specified date(s) in their default valuation
                            commodity or a specified commodity. WHEN can be:
                            'then':     value on transaction dates
                            'end':      value at period end(s)
                            'now':      value today
                            YYYY-MM-DD: value on given date
  -c --commodity-style=S    Override a commodity's display style.
                            Eg: -c '.' or -c '1.000,00 EUR'
     --color=YN --colour    Use ANSI color codes in text output? Can be
                            'y'/'yes'/'always', 'n'/'no'/'never' or 'auto'.
     --pretty[=YN]          Use box-drawing characters in text output? Can be
                            'y'/'yes' or 'n'/'no'.
                            If YN is specified, the equals is required.
     --debug=[1-9]          show this level of debug output (default: 1)

General help flags:
  -h --help                 show command line help
     --tldr                 show command examples with tldr
     --info                 show the manual with info
     --man                  show the manual with man
     --version              show version information

With hledger-ui, the --debug option sends debug output to a hledger-ui.log file in the current directory.


In most modern terminals, you can navigate through the screens with a mouse or touchpad:

  • Use mouse wheel or trackpad to scroll up and down
  • Click on list items to go deeper
  • Click on the left margin (column 0) to go back.


Keyboard gives more control.

? shows a help dialog listing all keys. (Some of these also appear in the quick help at the bottom of each screen.) Press ? again (or ESCAPE, or LEFT, or q) to close it. The following keys work on most screens:

The cursor keys navigate: RIGHT or ENTER goes deeper, LEFT returns to the previous screen, UP/DOWN/PGUP/PGDN/HOME/END move up and down through lists. Emacs-style (CTRL-p/CTRL-n/CTRL-f/CTRL-b) and VI-style (k,j,l,h) movement keys are also supported. A tip: movement speed is limited by your keyboard repeat rate, to move faster you may want to adjust it. (If you're on a mac, the karabiner app is one way to do that.)

With shift pressed, the cursor keys adjust the report period, limiting the transactions to be shown (by default, all are shown). SHIFT-DOWN/UP steps downward and upward through these standard report period durations: year, quarter, month, week, day. Then, SHIFT-LEFT/RIGHT moves to the previous/next period. T sets the report period to today. With the -w/--watch option, when viewing a "current" period (the current day, week, month, quarter, or year), the period will move automatically to track the current date. To set a non-standard period, you can use / and a date: query.

(Mac users: SHIFT-DOWN/UP keys do not work by default in Terminal, as of MacOS Monterey. You can configure them as follows: open Terminal, press CMD-comma to open preferences, click Profiles, select your current terminal profile on the left, click Keyboard on the right, click + and add this for Shift-Down: \033[1;2B, click + and add this for Shift-Up: \033[1;2A. Press the Escape key to enter the \033 part, you can't type it directly.)

/ lets you set a general filter query limiting the data shown, using the same query terms as in hledger and hledger-web. While editing the query, you can use CTRL-a/e/d/k, BS, cursor keys; press ENTER to set it, or ESCAPEto cancel. There are also keys for quickly adjusting some common filters like account depth and transaction status (see below). BACKSPACE or DELETE removes all filters, showing all transactions.

As mentioned above, by default hledger-ui hides future transactions - both ordinary transactions recorded in the journal, and periodic transactions generated by rule. F toggles forecast mode, in which future/forecasted transactions are shown.

ESCAPE resets the UI state and jumps back to the top screen, restoring the app's initial state at startup. Or, it cancels minibuffer data entry or the help dialog.

CTRL-l redraws the screen and centers the selection if possible (selections near the top won't be centered, since we don't scroll above the top).

g reloads from the data file(s) and updates the current screen and any previous screens. (With large files, this could cause a noticeable pause.)

I toggles balance assertion checking. Disabling balance assertions temporarily can be useful for troubleshooting.

a runs command-line hledger's add command, and reloads the updated file. This allows some basic data entry.

A is like a, but runs the hledger-iadd tool, which provides a terminal interface. This key will be available if hledger-iadd is installed in $path.

E runs $HLEDGER_UI_EDITOR, or $EDITOR, or a default (emacsclient -a "" -nw) on the journal file. With some editors (emacs, vi), the cursor will be positioned at the current transaction when invoked from the register and transaction screens, and at the error location (if possible) when invoked from the error screen.

B toggles cost mode, showing amounts converted to their cost's commodity (see hledger manual > Cost reporting.

V toggles value mode, showing amounts converted to their market value (see hledger manual > Valuation flag). More specifically,

  1. By default, the V key toggles showing end value (--value=end) on or off. The valuation date will be the report end date if specified, otherwise today.

  2. If you started hledger-ui with some other valuation (such as --value=then,EUR), the V key toggles that off or on.

Cost/value tips: - When showing end value, you can change the report end date without restarting, by pressing / and adding a query like date:..YYYY-MM-DD. - Either cost mode, or value mode, can be active, but not both at once. Cost mode takes precedence. - There's not yet any visual indicator that cost or value mode is active, other than the amount values.

q quits the application.

Additional screen-specific keys are described below.


At startup, hledger-ui shows a menu screen by default. From here you can navigate to other screens using the cursor keys: UP/DOWN to select, RIGHT to move to the selected screen, LEFT to return to the previous screen. Or you can use ESC to return directly to the top menu screen.

You can also use a command line flag to specific a different startup screen (--cs, --bs, --is, --all, or --register=ACCT).

This is the top-most screen. From here you can navigate to several screens listing accounts of various types. Note some of these may not show anything until you have configured account types.

Cash accounts screen

This screen shows "cash" (ie, liquid asset) accounts (like hledger balancesheet type:c). It always shows balances (historical ending balances on the date shown in the title line).

Balance sheet accounts screen

This screen shows asset, liability and equity accounts (like hledger balancesheetequity). It always shows balances.

Income statement accounts screen

This screen shows revenue and expense accounts (like hledger incomestatement). It always shows changes (balance changes in the period shown in the title line).

All accounts screen

This screen shows all accounts in your journal (unless filtered by a query; like hledger balance). It shows balances by default; you can toggle showing changes with the H key.

Register screen

This screen shows the transactions affecting a particular account. Each line represents one transaction, and shows:

  • the other account(s) involved, in abbreviated form. (If there are both real and virtual postings, it shows only the accounts affected by real postings.)

  • the overall change to the current account's balance; positive for an inflow to this account, negative for an outflow.

  • the running total after the transaction. With the H key you can toggle between

    • the period total, which is from just the transactions displayed
    • or the historical total, which includes any undisplayed transactions before the start of the report period (and matching the filter query if any). This will be the running historical balance (what you would see on a bank's website, eg) if not disturbed by a query.

Note, this screen combines each transaction's in-period postings to a single line item, dated with the earliest in-period transaction or posting date (like hledger's aregister). So custom posting dates can cause the running balance to be temporarily inaccurate. (See hledger manual > aregister and posting dates.)

Transactions affecting this account's subaccounts will be included in the register if the accounts screen is in tree mode, or if it's in list mode but this account has subaccounts which are not shown due to a depth limit. In other words, the register always shows the transactions contributing to the balance shown on the accounts screen. Tree mode/list mode can be toggled with t here also.

U toggles filtering by unmarked status, showing or hiding unmarked transactions. Similarly, P toggles pending transactions, and C toggles cleared transactions. (By default, transactions with all statuses are shown; if you activate one or two status filters, only those transactions are shown; and if you activate all three, the filter is removed.)

R toggles real mode, in which virtual postings are ignored.

z toggles nonzero mode, in which only transactions posting a nonzero change are shown (hledger-ui shows zero items by default, unlike command-line hledger).

Press RIGHT to view the selected transaction in detail.

Transaction screen

This screen shows a single transaction, as a general journal entry, similar to hledger's print command and journal format (hledger_journal(5)).

The transaction's date(s) and any cleared flag, transaction code, description, comments, along with all of its account postings are shown. Simple transactions have two postings, but there can be more (or in certain cases, fewer).

UP and DOWN will step through all transactions listed in the previous account register screen. In the title bar, the numbers in parentheses show your position within that account register. They will vary depending on which account register you came from (remember most transactions appear in multiple account registers). The #N number preceding them is the transaction's position within the complete unfiltered journal, which is a more stable id (at least until the next reload).

On this screen (and the register screen), the E key will open your text editor with the cursor positioned at the current transaction if possible.

This screen has a limitation with showing file updates: it will not show them until you exit and re-enter it. So eg to see the effect of using the E key, currently you must: - press E, edit and save the file, then exit the editor, returning to hledger-ui - press g to reload the file (or use -w/--watch mode) - press LEFT then RIGHT to exit and re-enter the transaction screen.

Error screen

This screen will appear if there is a problem, such as a parse error, when you press g to reload. Once you have fixed the problem, press g again to reload and resume normal operation. (Or, you can press escape to cancel the reload attempt.)


One of hledger-ui's best features is the auto-reloading -w/--watch mode. With this flag, it will update the display automatically whenever changes are saved to the data files.

This is very useful when reconciling. A good workflow is to have your bank's online register open in a browser window, for reference; the journal file open in an editor window; and hledger-ui in watch mode in a terminal window, eg:

$ hledger-ui --watch --register checking -C

As you mark things cleared in the editor, you can see the effect immediately without having to context switch. This leaves more mental bandwidth for your accounting. Of course you can still interact with hledger-ui when needed, eg to toggle cleared mode, or to explore the history.

There are currently some limitations with --watch:

It may not work correctly for you, depending on platform or system configuration. (Eg #836.)

At least on mac, there can be a slow build-up of CPU usage over time, until the program is restarted (or, suspending and restarting with CTRL-z fg may be enough).

It will not detect file changes made by certain editors, such as Jetbrains IDEs or gedit, or on certain less common filesystems. (To work around, press g to reload manually, or try #1617's fs.inotify.max_user_watches workaround and let us know.)

If you are viewing files mounted from another machine, the system clocks on both machines should be roughly in agreement.


COLUMNS The screen width to use. Default: the full terminal width.

LEDGER_FILE The main journal file to use when not specified with -f/--file. Default: $HOME/.hledger.journal.


We welcome bug reports in the hledger issue tracker (shortcut: http://bugs.hledger.org), or on the #hledger chat or hledger mail list (https://hledger.org/support).

Some known issues:

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

If you press g with large files, there could be a noticeable pause.

The Transaction screen does not update from file changes until you exit and re-endter it (see SCREENS > Transaction above).

--watch is not yet fully robust on all platforms (see Watch mode above).