Chain Linking for XBRL

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When to Use Chain Links

Each link can have one XBRL fact related to that value. However, sometimes you need to report the same value in several locations in a document, but the value requires different concepts at each location. In this situation, you can’t use the same source link. Instead, you must use chain linking.

For example, you might disclose $5,252 for Net Income (Loss) in the Income Statement and as a component of Retained Earnings in the Statement of Stockholders’ Equity. The Statement of Stockholders’ Equity fact requires an axis and member on values reported in the Retained Earnings column. When you add the axis and member to the XBRL tag, it appears on both facts. This means the fact on the Income Statement is using an axis and member where they should not be. If you remove the axis and member from the Income Statement fact, it also removes it from the Statement of Stockholders’ Equity. In this example, you need to use chain linking to tag each instance differently even though the value is the same.

To see if the source value is used for more than one link, select the destination link and look at its properties in the Link Properties panel.

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Creating Chain Links in Spreadsheets

To set up a chain link in a spreadsheet, use cross-sheet formulas.

  1. In the spreadsheet the same spreadsheet, create a new sheet and name it for the document section where you want to use the same number.

  2. Copy the number from its original sheet and paste it into the new sheet.

  3. Click the clipboard icon and select Create Reference. This creates a cross-sheet formula to use as the chain link.

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  4. Copy the new chain link reference from the spreadsheet and paste it over the existing link in the document.

  5. Click Yes to delete links and disconnect the XBRL, if prompted.

  6. Turn XBRL off and then on again in the document to show the Disconnected XBRL dialog box.

  7. Delete disconnected XBRL if no longer needed, or copy and paste the XBRL to reapply.

  8. Tag the new fact with the correct XBRL concept and date.

  9. Make sure all facts using this number are now correctly tagged.

  10. Share XBRL changes.

Creating Chain Links in Workbooks

To set up a chain link in a workbook, use a cell reference in the same workbook section.

  1. In the same workbook section, create a new column and label it Chain Linking.

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  2. In the new Chain Linking column, use =[cell number] as the formula to create the reference in the cell next to the source link. For example, in cell D32 type =C32 to create a reference for the value in C32. The reference cell is now the chain link source.

  3. Copy the new chain link reference from the workbook and paste it over the existing link in the document.

  4. Click Yes to delete links and disconnect the XBRL, if prompted.

  5. Turn XBRL off and then on again in the document to show the Disconnected XBRL dialog box.

  6. Delete disconnected XBRL if no longer needed, or copy and paste the XBRL to reapply.

  7. Tag the new fact with the correct XBRL concept and date.

  8. Make sure all facts using this number are now correctly tagged.

  9. Share the XBRL changes.