Tagging Footnotes in iXBRL Reports

ESMA's requirements states that a footnote MUST be tagged if it contains additional financial information. In this article we'll show you how to tag footnotes as well as give you a way to avoid tagging footnotes altogether.

When tagging your footnotes you are left with the choice between a detailed tag, which is tagging a specific element within the note that contains additional monetary information, and block tagging the entire note. However, it is not possible to tag both the entire footnote and the separate amount in the same footnote.

When to Tag Footnotes

  1. If a row/amount in an income statement or balance sheet refers to a note (in a separate notes section), it is not mandatory to tag this note;
  2. If a row/amount in an income statement or balance sheet, for instance, refers to a footnote and the footnote information is moved to a separate line in the income statement of the balance sheet, it can be tagged automatically from Excel;
  3. If you have footnote information which does not contain additional monetary information it is not mandatory to tag this footnote;
  4. If you have footnote information which does contain additional monetary information, it is mandatory to tag this information.

How to Avoid Tagging the Footnotes

When reporting in iXBRL having footnotes in your report is actually a lot of extra work, because you will need to tag them separately, but there is a way to avoid this.

Instead of adding footnotes you can have your row/amount in an income statement or balance sheet refer to a note in your notes section, it is not mandatory to tag this note before such a time when block tagging of the notes becomes mandatory.

How to Tag Footnotes with Detailed Monetary Information

Tagging additional monetary information within the footnotes is a process much like the normal tagging process, which means after it has been set up, it is handled automatically in the conversion, as long as the same amounts appear in the same order.

When you went through the onboarding process, the following steps were likely handled for you, but if you have changes to your footnote placement or if you want to add footnotes, we urge you to follow these steps or contact our support team through support@parseport.com.

  1. First you need to navigate to the section of your Excel where you want to add a footnote.  You need to place the footnotes in the same place in the template as it is in your PDF. For instance if a footnote appears after the Comprehensive Income table in your PDF, the same footnote needs to appear after the Comprehensive Income table in your Excel template as well;
  2. Afterwards you need to type in the labels in the label row and the figures in the relevant period row, just as if you were adding a new row to your income statement or balance sheet, all the while bearing in mind, that they appear in the same order in the Excel as they do in the PDF;
  3. When you are naming your footnotes, you cannot simply copy the footnote into the label section. You need to come up with a short, descriptive name that will let our converter know what it is. A good rule of thumb is, to name the footnote in the same way you would name a line in your financial statement;
  4. Lastly you need to add a simplified tag for the footnotes. You can do this by copying the simplified tag from the same section, add "footnote=true," before the specification of the label range and update the label range to reflect the position of the footnotes, like in the example below: 
    /Income Statement By Nature(footnote=true,labels=A34:A35,values=B34:B35[period=1];C34:C35[period=2])
  5. When you have saved your Excel template, you can then convert the Excel file along with your PDF, and the amounts in your footnotes will then light up in the same way as the figures of your financial statements. If any of the tagged elements doesn't light up, you can contact our support team, and they will help you.

    How to Block Tag the Footnotes

    Block tagging the footnotes is carried out in the same way as block tagging the notes section, which means that it needs to be done via Hypertagging. You can perform hypertagging with any software that allows you to edit a PDF file such as InDesign or Adobe Acrobat, but you need to be aware that hypertagging needs to be carried out during the design phase and not during the conversion phase.

    For the purpose of this guide, we’re assuming, that you will be editing the PDF file with Adobe Acrobat. If you are using another software, the process may vary from what is described here, but the overall goal remains the same; you want to add hyperlinks to the sections you want to tag.


    1. Open the Excel template you use for tagging, and navigate to the ... where you want the footnote to reference;
    2. Select the column you want to reference and add a note starting with the marker "ref=", this could for instance be "ref=Hedging". This will let the engine know, that you want to reference something called hedging;
    3. Now open the PDF version of your annual report in a software that lets you edit the PDF;
    4. Navigate to the page with the footnote you want to block tag;
    5. Choose "add link" or “add web link” depending on your chosen software;
    6. Next you need to select the footnote by marking it with your cursor;
    7. A window opens which prompts you to add a hyperlink. Here you need to type in pp://footnotes?id=[uniquely identifiable label]. An example could be "pp://footnotes?id=hedging";
    8. Afterwards you need to open your Excel template and find the cell you want the footnote to point towards;
    9. Then all you need to do is add a comment to the cell, where you add a reference to the hyperlink-id in your PDF, in the example previously the correct comment would look like this: [ref=”hedging”]
    10. Afterwards you repeat the process for each footnote you want to block tag;
    11. When you are done, go to esef.parseport.com and use your credentials to log in to the conversion portal;
    12. After logging in, upload the hypertagged PDF version of your annual report along with the Excel file containing the simplified tags and your financial statements and press “convert and combine”;
    13. When your report has been successfully converted it will launch in our viewer, where you are able to highlight mapped elements as well as view the entire report. Now you can scroll down to the page containing your footnotes and see that they have been tagged.