Changing Fact Value Signs

Negate label role next generation

Most numeric XBRL concepts represent absolute values. If you enter a negative amount, you may need to reverse the fact value sign to make its XBRL value match the true value of the number. This article has the basics about XBRL fact value signs and how to change them.

Understanding Fact Value Signs

Most numeric XBRL concepts represent absolute values. For monetary concepts, the balance type for each concept is based on accounting principles. A positive fact value can represent a debit or a credit depending on how the concept is structured. For example, expenses typically have a debit balance type, since most XBRL concepts represent absolute values, you would tag Depreciation expense with a concept that has a debit Balance Type.

When you want a number in the document to appear as a negative number, enter it with either a minus sign or parentheses. When you add a sign to an absolute value number, you need to reverse the XBRL fact value sign to keep its absolute value in the XBRL. If you don’t, you end up with negative values, which cause document errors because they don’t calculate correctly.

This is the appropriate way to handle most situations. However, there are some situations where it is okay to have negative XBRL fact values, such as when the concept is structured to represent both positive and negative amounts. For more details on these situations, see XBRL Office Hours: Are Your Negative Values Correct?.

To determine the correct sign for an XBRL value, always keep in mind that the true sign of an XBRL fact:

  • Is often a positive value.

  • Can be different than the sign it shows in the financial report.

  • Should be determined only by considering both the meaning of the concept used for the fact and what you want the fact to mean in the report.


For example, a company reports depreciation, which is a debit balance. However, they type it as (16,140). The XBRL Fact Value now shows negative depreciation, or a credit impact, until they reverse the XBRL fact value sign to get the debit impact again.

Fact value sign example

Changing Fact Value Signs

  1. Open the document and click Show XBRL.

  2. Select the fact you want to change to open it in the Fact Details panel.

    The following properties in the Fact Details panel show how the fact is set up:

    • Source Value is how the number was typed in the linked source and how it appears in the document.

    • XBRL Fact Value is how the number’s value appears in the XBRL.

  3. Select the Reverse Value Sign to change the sign in the XBRL.

Make sure to negate the concept’s label role in the XBRL outline, if necessary.

When you reverse the sign, the XBRL fact value changes, but the number in the document still appears with the sign you entered at the linked source.

Changing a fact value sign

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