HLEDGER-UI(1) hledger User Manuals HLEDGER-UI(1)

hledger-ui is a terminal interface (TUI) for the hledger accounting tool. This manual is for hledger-ui 1.22.2.

hledger-ui [OPTIONS] [QUERYARGS]

hledger ui -- [OPTIONS] [QUERYARGS]

hledger is a reliable, cross-platform set of programs for tracking money, time, or any other commodity, using double-entry accounting and a simple, editable file format. hledger is inspired by and largely compatible with ledger(1).

hledger-ui is hledger's terminal interface, providing an efficient full-window text UI for viewing accounts and transactions, and some limited data entry capability. It is easier than hledger's command-line interface, and sometimes quicker and more convenient than the web interface.

Like hledger, it reads data from one or more files in hledger journal, timeclock, timedot, or CSV format specified with -f, or $LEDGER_FILE, or $HOME/.hledger.journal (on windows, perhaps C:/Users/USER/.hledger.journal). For more about this see hledger(1), hledger_journal(5) etc.

Unlike hledger, hledger-ui hides all future-dated transactions by default. They can be revealed, along with any rule-generated periodic transactions, by pressing the F key (or starting with --forecast) to enable "forecast mode".

Note: if invoking hledger-ui as a hledger subcommand, write -- before options as shown above.

Any QUERYARGS are interpreted as a hledger search query which filters the data.

watch for data and date changes and reload automatically
use this custom display theme
start in the (first) matched account's register screen
show period balances (changes) at startup instead of historical balances
show accounts as a flat list (default)
show accounts as a tree

hledger input options:

use a different input file. For stdin, use - (default: $LEDGER_FILE or $HOME/.hledger.journal)
Conversion rules file to use when reading CSV (default: FILE.rules)
Field separator to expect when reading CSV (default: ',')
rename accounts named OLD to NEW
anonymize accounts and payees
use some other field or tag for the account name
disable balance assertion checks (note: does not disable balance assignments)
do extra error checking (check that all posted accounts are declared)

hledger reporting options:

include postings/txns on or after this date (will be adjusted to preceding subperiod start when using a report interval)
include postings/txns before this date (will be adjusted to following subperiod end when using a report interval)
multiperiod/multicolumn report by day
multiperiod/multicolumn report by week
multiperiod/multicolumn report by month
multiperiod/multicolumn report by quarter
multiperiod/multicolumn report by year
set start date, end date, and/or reporting interval all at once using period expressions syntax
match the secondary date instead (see command help for other effects)
include only unmarked postings/txns (can combine with -P or -C)
include only pending postings/txns
include only cleared postings/txns
include only non-virtual postings
hide/aggregate accounts or postings more than NUM levels deep
show items with zero amount, normally hidden (and vice-versa in hledger-ui/hledger-web)
convert amounts to their cost/selling amount at transaction time
convert amounts to their market value in default valuation commodities
convert amounts to their market value in commodity COMM
convert amounts to cost or market value, more flexibly than -B/-V/-X
use transaction prices (recorded with @ or @@) as additional market prices, as if they were P directives
apply automated posting rules to modify transactions.
generate future transactions from periodic transaction rules, for the next 6 months or till report end date. In hledger-ui, also make ordinary future transactions visible.
Should color-supporting commands use ANSI color codes in text output. 'auto' (default): whenever stdout seems to be a color-supporting terminal. 'always' or 'yes': always, useful eg when piping output into 'less -R'. 'never' or 'no': never. A NO_COLOR environment variable overrides this.

When a reporting option appears more than once in the command line, the last one takes precedence.

Some reporting options can also be written as query arguments.

hledger help options:

show general or COMMAND help
show general or COMMAND user manual with man
show general or COMMAND user manual with info
show general or ADDONCMD version
show debug output (levels 1-9, default: 1)

A @FILE argument will be expanded to the contents of FILE, which should contain one command line option/argument per line. (To prevent this, insert a -- argument before.)

? shows a help dialog listing all keys. (Some of these also appear in the quick help at the bottom of each screen.) Press ? again (or ESCAPE, or LEFT, or q) to close it. The following keys work on most screens:

The cursor keys navigate: right (or enter) goes deeper, left returns to the previous screen, up/down/page up/page down/home/end move up and down through lists. Emacs-style (ctrl-p/ctrl-n/ctrl-f/ctrl-b) movement keys are also supported (but not vi-style keys, since hledger-1.19, sorry!). A tip: movement speed is limited by your keyboard repeat rate, to move faster you may want to adjust it. (If you're on a mac, the karabiner app is one way to do that.)

With shift pressed, the cursor keys adjust the report period, limiting the transactions to be shown (by default, all are shown). shift-down/up steps downward and upward through these standard report period durations: year, quarter, month, week, day. Then, shift-left/right moves to the previous/next period. T sets the report period to today. With the --watch option, when viewing a "current" period (the current day, week, month, quarter, or year), the period will move automatically to track the current date. To set a non-standard period, you can use / and a date: query.

/ lets you set a general filter query limiting the data shown, using the same query terms as in hledger and hledger-web. While editing the query, you can use CTRL-a/e/d/k, BS, cursor keys; press ENTER to set it, or ESCAPEto cancel. There are also keys for quickly adjusting some common filters like account depth and transaction status (see below). BACKSPACE or DELETE removes all filters, showing all transactions.

As mentioned above, by default hledger-ui hides future transactions - both ordinary transactions recorded in the journal, and periodic transactions generated by rule. F toggles forecast mode, in which future/forecasted transactions are shown.

ESCAPE resets the UI state and jumps back to the top screen, restoring the app's initial state at startup. Or, it cancels minibuffer data entry or the help dialog.

CTRL-l redraws the screen and centers the selection if possible (selections near the top won't be centered, since we don't scroll above the top).

g reloads from the data file(s) and updates the current screen and any previous screens. (With large files, this could cause a noticeable pause.)

I toggles balance assertion checking. Disabling balance assertions temporarily can be useful for troubleshooting.

a runs command-line hledger's add command, and reloads the updated file. This allows some basic data entry.

A is like a, but runs the hledger-iadd tool, which provides a terminal interface. This key will be available if hledger-iadd is installed in $path.

E runs $HLEDGER_UI_EDITOR, or $EDITOR, or a default (emacsclient -a "" -nw) on the journal file. With some editors (emacs, vi), the cursor will be positioned at the current transaction when invoked from the register and transaction screens, and at the error location (if possible) when invoked from the error screen.

B toggles cost mode, showing amounts in their transaction price's commodity (like toggling the -B/--cost flag).

V toggles value mode, showing amounts' current market value in their default valuation commodity (like toggling the -V/--market flag). Note, "current market value" means the value on the report end date if specified, otherwise today. To see the value on another date, you can temporarily set that as the report end date. Eg: to see a transaction as it was valued on july 30, go to the accounts or register screen, press /, and add date:-7/30 to the query.

At most one of cost or value mode can be active at once.

There's not yet any visual reminder when cost or value mode is active; for now pressing b b v should reliably reset to normal mode.

q quits the application.

Additional screen-specific keys are described below.

This is normally the first screen displayed. It lists accounts and their balances, like hledger's balance command. By default, it shows all accounts and their latest ending balances (including the balances of subaccounts). If you specify a query on the command line, it shows just the matched accounts and the balances from matched transactions.

Account names are shown as a flat list by default; press t to toggle tree mode. In list mode, account balances are exclusive of subaccounts, except where subaccounts are hidden by a depth limit (see below). In tree mode, all account balances are inclusive of subaccounts.

To see less detail, press a number key, 1 to 9, to set a depth limit. Or use - to decrease and +/= to increase the depth limit. 0 shows even less detail, collapsing all accounts to a single total. To remove the depth limit, set it higher than the maximum account depth, or press ESCAPE.

H toggles between showing historical balances or period balances. Historical balances (the default) are ending balances at the end of the report period, taking into account all transactions before that date (filtered by the filter query if any), including transactions before the start of the report period. In other words, historical balances are what you would see on a bank statement for that account (unless disturbed by a filter query). Period balances ignore transactions before the report start date, so they show the change in balance during the report period. They are more useful eg when viewing a time log.

U toggles filtering by unmarked status, including or excluding unmarked postings in the balances. Similarly, P toggles pending postings, and C toggles cleared postings. (By default, balances include all postings; if you activate one or two status filters, only those postings are included; and if you activate all three, the filter is removed.)

R toggles real mode, in which virtual postings are ignored.

Z toggles nonzero mode, in which only accounts with nonzero balances are shown (hledger-ui shows zero items by default, unlike command-line hledger).

Press right or enter to view an account's transactions register.

This screen shows the transactions affecting a particular account, like a check register. Each line represents one transaction and shows:

the other account(s) involved, in abbreviated form. (If there are both real and virtual postings, it shows only the accounts affected by real postings.)
the overall change to the current account's balance; positive for an inflow to this account, negative for an outflow.
the running historical total or period total for the current account, after the transaction. This can be toggled with H. Similar to the accounts screen, the historical total is affected by transactions (filtered by the filter query) before the report start date, while the period total is not. If the historical total is not disturbed by a filter query, it will be the running historical balance you would see on a bank register for the current account.

Transactions affecting this account's subaccounts will be included in the register if the accounts screen is in tree mode, or if it's in list mode but this account has subaccounts which are not shown due to a depth limit. In other words, the register always shows the transactions contributing to the balance shown on the accounts screen. Tree mode/list mode can be toggled with t here also.

U toggles filtering by unmarked status, showing or hiding unmarked transactions. Similarly, P toggles pending transactions, and C toggles cleared transactions. (By default, transactions with all statuses are shown; if you activate one or two status filters, only those transactions are shown; and if you activate all three, the filter is removed.)

R toggles real mode, in which virtual postings are ignored.

Z toggles nonzero mode, in which only transactions posting a nonzero change are shown (hledger-ui shows zero items by default, unlike command-line hledger).

Press right (or enter) to view the selected transaction in detail.

This screen shows a single transaction, as a general journal entry, similar to hledger's print command and journal format (hledger_journal(5)).

The transaction's date(s) and any cleared flag, transaction code, description, comments, along with all of its account postings are shown. Simple transactions have two postings, but there can be more (or in certain cases, fewer).

up and down will step through all transactions listed in the previous account register screen. In the title bar, the numbers in parentheses show your position within that account register. They will vary depending on which account register you came from (remember most transactions appear in multiple account registers). The #N number preceding them is the transaction's position within the complete unfiltered journal, which is a more stable id (at least until the next reload).

This screen will appear if there is a problem, such as a parse error, when you press g to reload. Once you have fixed the problem, press g again to reload and resume normal operation. (Or, you can press escape to cancel the reload attempt.)

One of hledger-ui's best features is the auto-reloading --watch mode. With this flag, it will update the display automatically whenever changes are saved to the data files.

This is very useful when reconciling. A good workflow is to have your bank's online register open in a browser window, for reference; the journal file open in an editor window; and hledger-ui in watch mode in a terminal window, eg:

$ hledger-ui --watch --register checking -C

As you mark things cleared in the editor, you can see the effect immediately without having to context switch. This leaves more mental bandwidth for your accounting. Of course you can still interact with hledger-ui when needed, eg to toggle cleared mode, or to explore the history.

There are situations in which it won't work, ie the display will not update when you save a change (because the underlying inotify library does not support it). Here are some that we know of:

Certain editors: saving with gedit, and perhaps any Gnome application, won't be detected (#1617). Jetbrains IDEs, such as IDEA, also may not work (#911).
Certain unusual filesystems might not be supported. (All the usual ones on unix, mac and windows are supported.)

In such cases, the workaround is to switch to the hledger-ui window and press g each time you want it to reload. (Actually, see #1617 for another workaround, and let us know if it works for you.)

If you leave hledger-ui --watch running for days, on certain platforms (?), perhaps with many transactions in your journal (?), perhaps with large numbers of other files present (?), you may see it gradually using more and more memory and CPU over time, as seen in top or Activity Monitor or Task Manager.

A workaround is to quit and restart it, or to suspend it (CTRL-z) and restart it (fg) if your shell supports that.

COLUMNS The screen width to use. Default: the full terminal width.

LEDGER_FILE The journal file path when not specified with -f. Default: ~/.hledger.journal (on windows, perhaps C:/Users/USER/.hledger.journal).

A typical value is ~/DIR/YYYY.journal, where DIR is a version-controlled finance directory and YYYY is the current year. Or ~/DIR/current.journal, where current.journal is a symbolic link to YYYY.journal.

On Mac computers, you can set this and other environment variables in a more thorough way that also affects applications started from the GUI (say, an Emacs dock icon). Eg on MacOS Catalina I have a ~/.MacOSX/environment.plist file containing


"LEDGER_FILE" : "~/finance/current.journal" }

To see the effect you may need to killall Dock, or reboot.

Reads data from one or more files in hledger journal, timeclock, timedot, or CSV format specified with -f, or $LEDGER_FILE, or $HOME/.hledger.journal (on windows, perhaps C:/Users/USER/.hledger.journal).

The need to precede options with -- when invoked from hledger is awkward.

-f- doesn't work (hledger-ui can't read from stdin).

-V affects only the accounts screen.

When you press g, the current and all previous screens are regenerated, which may cause a noticeable pause with large files. Also there is no visual indication that this is in progress.

--watch is not yet fully robust. It works well for normal usage, but many file changes in a short time (eg saving the file thousands of times with an editor macro) can cause problems at least on OSX. Symptoms include: unresponsive UI, periodic resetting of the cursor position, momentary display of parse errors, high CPU usage eventually subsiding, and possibly a small but persistent build-up of CPU usage until the program is restarted.

Also, if you are viewing files mounted from another machine, --watch requires that both machine clocks are roughly in step.

Report bugs at http://bugs.hledger.org (or on the #hledger IRC channel or hledger mail list)

Simon Michael <simon@joyful.com> and contributors

Copyright (C) 2007-2020 Simon Michael.
Released under GNU GPL v3 or later.

hledger(1), hledger-ui(1), hledger-web(1), ledger(1)

August 2021 hledger-ui-1.22.2