General Filters 1.0

Recommendation 22 June 2009

Copyright ©2009 XBRL International Inc., All Rights Reserved.

This version:
Phillip Engel, Morgan Stanley <>
Herm Fischer, UBMatrix / Mark V Systems <>
Victor Morilla, Banco de España <>
Jim Richards, JDR & Associates <>
Geoff Shuetrim, Galexy <>
David vun Kannon, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP <>
Hugh Wallis, XBRL International <>
Cliff Binstock, Coyote Reporting <>
Paul Bull, Morgan Stanley <>
Masatomo Goto, Fujitsu <>
Walter Hamscher, Standard Advantage / Consultant to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP <>
Ignacio Hernández-Ros, Reporting Estandar S.L. <>
Roland Hommes, Rhocon / Consultant to Netherlands Tax and Customs Administration <>
Andy Harris, UBMatrix <>
Takahide Muramoto, Fujitsu <>
Hitoshi Okumura, Fujitsu <>
Pablo Navarro Salvador, Atos Origin sae <>
Michele Romanelli, Banca d'Italia <>
Nathan Summers, CompSci Resources <>
Masaru Uchida, Fujitsu <>


Circulation of this Recommendation is unrestricted. This document is normative. Recipients are invited to submit comments to, and to submit notification of any relevant patent rights of which they are aware and provide supporting documentation.


This specification is an extension to the XBRL Variables Specification [VARIABLES]. It defines a simple filter that can be applied when other more specific filters are not suitable. The general filter is particularly suitable when a filter is required that conditions on several aspects of a fact.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction
1.1 Background
1.2 Relationship to other work
1.3 Language independence
1.4 Terminology
1.5 Document conventions (non-normative)
1.6 Namespaces and namespace prefixes
1.7 XPath usage
2 Syntax
2.1 General filter


A Normative schema
B References
C Intellectual property status (non-normative)
D Acknowledgements (non-normative)
E Document history (non-normative)
F Errata corrections in this document


1 Namespaces and namespace prefixes


1 General filters


general filter

1 Introduction

This specification is an extension to the XBRL Variables 1.0 Specification [VARIABLES]. It defines XML syntax [XML] for a simple filter that can be applied when other more specific filters are not suitable. The general filter is particularly suitable when a filter is required that conditions on several aspects of a fact. An example of a general filter is a filter that tests for facts with a period instant that is later than a particular date if the entity identifier scheme has a particular value.

1.1 Background

This specification is a member of a suite of similar specifications that define specific types of criteria that can be used to select facts from XBRL instances. It enhances the fact selection capabilities of the XBRL Variables Specification [VARIABLES].

1.2 Relationship to other work

This specification depends upon the XBRL Specification [XBRL 2.1], and the XBRL Variables Specification [VARIABLES]. In the event of any conflicts between this specification and the specifications upon which it depends, this specification does not prevail.

1.3 Language independence

The official language of XBRL International's own work products is English and the preferred spelling convention is UK English.

1.4 Terminology

This specification is consistent with the definitions of any of the terms defined in specifications that it depends on.

1.5 Document conventions (non-normative)

Documentation conventions follow those set out in the XBRL Variables Specification [VARIABLES].

1.6 Namespaces and namespace prefixes

Namespace prefixes [XML NAMES] will be used for elements and attributes in the form ns:name where ns is the namespace prefix and name is the local name. Throughout this specification, the mappings from namespace prefixes to actual namespaces is consistent with Table 1.

The prefix column in Table 1 is non normative. The namespace URI column is normative.

Table 1: Namespaces and namespace prefixes
Prefix Namespace URI

1.7 XPath usage

XPath usage is identical to that in the XBRL Variables Specification [VARIABLES].

2 Syntax

This specification only provides a textual declaration of syntax constraints when those constraints are not expressed by the normative schema supplied with this specification.

Explanations of elements and attributes are only supplied when explanations are not already provided in other specifications.

Unless explicitly stated otherwise, a reference to a specific element MUST be read as a reference to that element or to any element in its substitution group.

2.1 General filter

A general filter is declared by a <gf:general> element.

The syntax for the <gf:general> element is defined by the normative schema supplied with this specification.

The general filter does not cover any aspect.

The XPath expression implied by a general filter is:


where #test is the value of the @test attribute on the general filter.

Example 1: General filters
Filter @test attribute Selection criteria
. eq 0 The value must equal zero
. gt 0 The value must be greater than zero
. lt 0 The value must be less than zero
(. le 0) or @xsi:nil The value must be less than or equal to zero or nil
. eq 'hello world' The value must be the string value "hello world".
@eg:custom eq 'confidential' The fact must have a custom attribute called @eg:custom with a value of confidential
( xfi:is-instant-period(xfi:period(.)) and (xfi:period-instant(xfi:period(.)) lt xfi:scenario(.)/eg:restatementDate) ) or ( xfi:is-start-end-period(xfi:period(.)) and (xfi:period-end(xfi:period(.)) lt xfi:scenario(.)/eg:restatementDate) ) The fact must be reported with an instant or a duration end date that is less than the value of the <eg:restatementDate> element in the fact's scenario.

Appendix A Normative schema

The following is the XML schema provided as part of this specification. This is normative. Non-normative versions (which should be identical to these except for appropriate comments indicating their non-normative status) are also provided as separate files for convenience of users of the specification.

NOTE: (non-normative) Following the schema maintenance policy of XBRL International, it is the intent (but is not guaranteed) that the location of non-normative versions of these schemas on the web will be as follows:

  1. While any schema is the most current RECOMMENDED version and until it is superseded by any additional errata corrections a non-normative version will reside on the web in the directory - during the drafting process for this specification this directory should contain a copy of the most recent published version of the schema at
  2. A non-normative version of each schema as corrected by any update to the RECOMMENDATION will be archived in perpetuity on the web in a directory that will contain a unique identification indicating the date of the update.
<schema xmlns:gf="" xmlns:variable="" xmlns="" targetNamespace="" elementFormDefault="qualified">
<import namespace="" schemaLocation=""/>
<import namespace="" schemaLocation="variable.xsd"/>
<element id="xml-general-filter" name="general" substitutionGroup="variable:filter">
<complexType mixed="true">
<complexContent mixed="true">
<extension base="variable:resource.type">
<attribute name="test" type="variable:expression" use="optional"/>

Appendix B References

XBRL International Inc.. "XBRL Variables 1.0"
Phillip Engel, Herm Fischer, Victor Morilla, Jim Richards, Geoff Shuetrim, David vun Kannon, and Hugh Wallis.
(See ../../variables/REC-2009-06-22/variables-REC-2009-06-22.html)
XBRL 2.1
XBRL International Inc.. "Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) 2.1"
Phillip Engel, Walter Hamscher, Geoff Shuetrim, David vun Kannon, and Hugh Wallis.
W3C (World Wide Web Consortium). "Extensible Markup Language (XML) 1.0 (Fourth Edition)"
Tim Bray, Jean Paoli, C. M. Sperberg-McQueen, Eve Maler, and François Yergeau.
W3C (World Wide Web Consortium). "Namespaces in XML 1.0 (Second Edition)"
Tim Bray, Dave Hollander, Andrew Layman, and Richard Tobin.
W3C (World Wide Web Consortium). "XML Schema Part 1: Structures Second Edition"
Henry S. Thompson, David Beech, Murray Maloney, and Noah Mendelsohn.

Appendix C Intellectual property status (non-normative)

This document and translations of it may be copied and furnished to others, and derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it or assist in its implementation may be prepared, copied, published and distributed, in whole or in part, without restriction of any kind, provided that the above copyright notice and this paragraph are included on all such copies and derivative works. However, this document itself may not be modified in any way, such as by removing the copyright notice or references to XBRL International or XBRL organizations, except as required to translate it into languages other than English. Members of XBRL International agree to grant certain licenses under the XBRL International Intellectual Property Policy (


The attention of users of this document is directed to the possibility that compliance with or adoption of XBRL International specifications may require use of an invention covered by patent rights. XBRL International shall not be responsible for identifying patents for which a license may be required by any XBRL International specification, or for conducting legal inquiries into the legal validity or scope of those patents that are brought to its attention. XBRL International specifications are prospective and advisory only. Prospective users are responsible for protecting themselves against liability for infringement of patents. XBRL International takes no position regarding the validity or scope of any intellectual property or other rights that might be claimed to pertain to the implementation or use of the technology described in this document or the extent to which any license under such rights might or might not be available; neither does it represent that it has made any effort to identify any such rights. Members of XBRL International agree to grant certain licenses under the XBRL International Intellectual Property Policy (

Appendix D Acknowledgements (non-normative)

This document could not have been written without the contributions of many people including the participants in the Formula Working Group.

Appendix E Document history (non-normative)

01 May 2007Geoff Shuetrim

First internal working draft created.

24 July 2007Hugh Wallis

Edited for public working draft publication.

05 November 2007Geoff Shuetrim

Converted the specification to XML format.

Added in the definitions and the hyperlinks to the relevant sections of the normative schema.

Added a suggestion that we allow instances of general filters to nominate the aspects that they cover.

26 November 2007Jim Richards

Minor grammatical corrections.

29 November 2007Geoff Shuetrim

Added examples.

31 January 2008Geoff Shuetrim

Standardised the format of the hyperlinks to the normative schema.

Changed the example to use value comparison operators and to reflect the fact that the @eg:custom attribute is an attribute and not an element.

08 February 2008Geoff Shuetrim

Moved the examples for the value filter into the examples for the general filter because the general filter is equivalent to the value filter that has now been deleted.

Corrected the custom attribute name in the custom attribute example for general filters as suggested by Masatomo Goto.

14 April 2008Geoff Shuetrim

Changed the general filter XPath expression in the first example for the comparison of period information to scenario restatement date information to balance the parentheses and to use the <xbrli:period> element as the function argument for period functions rather than the <xbrli:item> element. These problems were identified by Takahide Muramoto.

Appendix F Errata corrections in this document

This appendix contains a list of the errata that have been incorporated into this document. This represents all those errata corrections that have been approved by the XBRL International Formula Working Group up to and including 22 June 2009. Hyperlinks to relevant e-mail threads may only be followed by those who have access to the relevant mailing lists. Access to internal XBRL mailing lists is restricted to members of XBRL International Inc.

No errata have been incorporated into this document.