Taxonomy Builder

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DTS Builder What it is

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More information about Taxonomy Builder here:

DTS Builder product page


The DTS Builder from Excel file is a tool that converts Excel files into XBRL Taxonomies. Reporting Standard believes that Excel + the Taxonomy Definition language developed by Reporting Standard is the perfect combination for taxonomy building in all possible scenarios as has been demonstrated all around the globe in several projects in different countries.

The following sections in the wiki are an introduction via examples to the capabilities of the DTS Definition Language and the implementation in Excel.

These are the main characteristics of the DTS Builder:

  1. Allows users to create base taxonomies and taxonomy extensions of existing taxonomies
  2. Provides a complete isolation between the metadata that will be stored in the taxonomy (called the information model) and the taxonomy modularization. The Business and technical sides of a taxonomy development project are considered separately
  3. It is possible to gather all data for the development of the taxonomy using a business user interface (Excel base) and prepare different modularization approaches for the same meta-data without any change in the meta-data itself
  4. Supports the creation of taxonomy schemas, namespaces, prefixes, XBRL concept definitions, XBRL Tuple definitions, XML concept definitions, standard presentation linkbases, standard calculation linkbases, standard label linkbases, standard reference linkbases and standard dimensions linkbases
  5. It utilizes business views over the metadata as, for example, Data Matrix schema for the development of multidimensional information. Regular indentation for parent-child relationships in the presentation linkbases, simple Excel formulae for the calculation linkbase, labels for concept definitions to define the preferred label in the presentation linkase etc. This simplifies the development of the taxonomy by allowing non technical people to use advances XBRL features easily
  6. Provides a high level of consistency rules implemented in order to detect possible inconsistencies in the information model
  7. Provides a mechanism for error detections (true inconsistencies) found during the taxonomy development phase
  8. Reduces the risks of creating inconsistencies in the taxonomy development
  9. Reduces the amount of time required for taxonomy testing
  10. Reduces the development time
  11. Reduces the dependency of the XBRL experts during the taxonomy development

Benefits of using Excel rather than a general purpose Taxonomy Editor

Among several benefits, here are just a few of them:

  1. Excel is a flexible data container. The user is free to add documentation, colors, formulas and whatever the user considers for the purpose of better documenting and keep track of the issues during the taxonomy development phase.
  2. Excel files are understandable by XBRL experts and non XBRL experts. This means that non XBRL Experts but business experts can provide useful feedback during a Taxonomy development project.
  3. The implementation defined by Reporting Standard is based on two things: common table structures and a DTS definition language that allows technical experts to do even more things that they can do with other taxonomy editors in the markets
  4. The Excel Based Taxonomy Builder is the most simple and flexible way to develop high quality XBRL taxonomies as it allows you to be consistent in your taxonomy creation and concentrate in the important things rather than in the geeck technical details that provides no value


  1. The starting point could be the presentation forms for the Primary Financial Statements (the balance sheet, profit and loss, changes in equity, etc…)
  2. Then, put them in Excel, each one in a new sheet. Preferably in column “C” (in order to add a column for numbers on the left Column “B” and some space on Column “A”, but the columns are not important as the instructions can read the required information from any other column of your choice.
  3. Document presentation structures (presentation relationships) using indentation on the text at column “C”
  4. Now go row by row, identifying if an existing concept already exist in the “parent” taxonomies. It is a good idea creating a single file called “parentDTSEntryPoint.xsd” that will load everything that is in the parent DTS (and cannot be discovered by the rules of the DTS Discovery). For example; If you just add IFRSFullEntryPoint.xsd this is fine. If you wish to add labels in another languages you would have to create a new entry point and include the full entry point and the label links for that language as the standard full entry point for IFRS only includes labels in English.
    1. Annotate the concept prefix in column “E” and the element name in column “F”. For elements that DO NOT EXIST on the parent taxonomy we will create our own concept definitions later in a concepts definition table. Just put there a prefix of your choice and an element name of your choice too. Element prefixes and names MUST satisfy the rules of XML Schema element names. It is a good practice you change the color of the elements defined in your taxonomy so it will be easier to identify all them later.
    2. Make sure the human readable text used in column “C” exactly matches with existing labels used in the parent taxonomies and included in the entry point created in point 4. The tool automatically recognizes the use of “preferred labels” but in order to do so, a label MUST already exist for the concept definition as represented in Excel. For new concept definitions, make sure there is a labels links created inside a labels linkbase before the presentation linkbase is created.
  5. Add a column for element numbers at column “B”. You can use auto numbering 10 by 10 or whatever numbers you wish.
  6. Create new concept definition table for new concepts all marked in a different color (in a different sheet or in the same sheet… it is up to you).
  7. Add the labels using a column per role right to the concept definitions.
  8. Document calculation linkbases in column “D” using either the assigned numbers or concatenating the numbers in the rows.
  9. Now add dimensions in columns G,H … one column per dimension an element may be reported with. The dimension members for a particular primary item will be documented later in a separate part of the excel spreadsheet.
  10. … depending on what your needs are, pay attention to other instructions and what other instructions input data is and require to be documented in the Excel sheets…

At whatever moment, after point 7 in the previous list is finished, the technical team can start creating the DTS sheet content.

  1. Start with a VERSION instruction. Use version 2 as this is the latest one and includes all functionality of version 1.
  2. Remember to add NOP instructions in order to create “parameters” that will be used later by another instructions. For example the output directory names etc. It is a good practice assigning a cell name to the cell with the value. Later you will use =’name’ in order to use the cell value.
  3. Use one LOAD instruction in order to load the entry point defined at point 4 after the VERSION instruction.
  4. Start creating BOT-EOT instruction blocks and inside that BOT instructions put the required BOL-EOL instruction blocks.
  5. It is a good practice start the taxonomy files in the following order:
    1. Schemas for concept definitions.
    2. Add the required linkbases to them. Labels and References should be attached to the concept definitions (experiment with embedded linkbases at this point as the labels and references will always be used)
  6. Now start defining an xsd schema for each one of the PFSs defined in different sheets. There is no need to IMPORT the concepts taxonomy as it will be added by the linkbases using concepts in that schema.

Tool detailed documentation

A copy of the PDF document is installed in your hard drive when you install the core Reporting Standard Tools.

Reporting Standard has created a wiki page for the documentation of the DTS Definition Language. where the latest information about the instructions will be always available.


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