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March 2008

XBRL Taxonomy for Attachments

XBRL Taxonomy for attachments is a very simple taxonomy schema (it is just one file) that allows you to include attachments to an instance document in the same way attachments are now included in emails. This page serves as documentation about how to use the taxonomy for attachments.

Content of this page

Structure of the taxonomy for attachments
Benefits of using this taxonomy
Testing the taxonomy online
Download the taxonomy and examples

Structure of an XBRL attachment

This is the structure of an XBRL attachment:

Structure of an XBRL attachment

There are 4 concepts defined in the taxonomy for attachments.

  • The Attachment tuple: Serves as the container for the rest of the concepts.
  • The Attachment file name: Contains the document file name inserted or used for extraction of the attachment.
  • The Attachment content type: This is the MIME type of the content that helps applications to recognize what to do with the attachment.
  • The Attachment body: This is the file content base64 encoded.

The taxonomy schema contains a reference linkbases with information pointing to the suitable RFCs that are relevant for each concept. A Presentation linkbase documenting the parent child relationships between the Attachment tuple and its content. A Labels linkbase with english labels for each concept defined.


Benefits of the XBRL Taxonomy for attachments

Can we include PDF, Excel, Word, Powerpoint documents inside XBRL documents?

For those of us involved in taxonomy development projects this is a recurrent question. Most of the notes to the financial statements require additional explanatory documentation that is normally provided in PDF, Word, Excel, bmp etc.

The answer to this question is YES, this is possible, but just a few of current tools would support the generation and the extraction of attachments from instance documents. This is, in part, due to the reason that each project who has decided to include attachments is using its own proprietary concept names and the tools needs to understand how to work with that particular elements.

This page is a proposal to have one simple common standard to include attachments to instance documents.

From the taxonomy creation perspective you need to:

  • Import the Attachment taxonomy schema in your DTS.
  • If you plan to allow multiple attachments then you would have to add tuples to your taxonomy to define each attachment, then, you could either add the attachment tuple in the content of your tuple or make your tuple in the attachments tuple substitution group. (Send an email to Ignacio if you need further assistance)
  • Document in the presentation linkbase where do you expect to see the attachments included.

From the application development perspective you need to:

  • Add the special threatement you wanted to do for the attachment tuple.
  • Instance document creation tools would allow drag and drop to define the content of the attachment.
  • Instance viewers tools would allow the extraction of the attachment bu clicking in a button or a link.


This is a test page to generate sample XBRL instance documents with attachments.

This page contain the generation of an instance document with one attachment and the extraction of the attachment from the instance document.

Test the generation of instance documents. Add some contextual information:


Test the extraction of attachments from an instance document

Instance document: