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How to become an EDGAR power user

Electronic Data Gathering Analysis and Retrieval, EDGAR is a government database and an important tool for any investor or corporate stakeholder. Not only is it free but the information is complete, accurate and timely. It’s maintained by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC).


Many of us use Edgar for simple chores like looking up a company or finding a 10-K annual report, but there is so much more to it, such as:

  • Full-text search

  • The EDGAR API

  • Insider trading tracking

  • Filed vs. accepted dates

  • And more

What is SEC EDGAR?


EDGAR was created to streamline the process of disseminating corporate information to the public. All publicly traded companies in the U.S (foreign and domestic) are required to submit various reports to the SEC and these are made available on the EDGAR website.


You can find documents such as annual and quarterly public reports, proxy statements and other forms that are important to every investor and corporate stakeholder.


How to use EDGAR for stock research


To search by company, navigate to EDGAR Company Search. In the search field, type the name of the company you are interested in or its ticker symbol. The drop down menu will often have companies with similar names, be sure to choose the one you are interested in.


SEC EDGAR company search page

Once selected, you will be on the relevant company’s SEC EDGAR page and will see the company’s information and filings.


How to find annual and quarterly reports on EDGAR


Once you’ve navigated to the company’s EDGAR page, you’ll see a section called “Selected Filings”. Select 10-K if you are searching for annual reports and 10-Q for quarterly reports.

10k and 10Q reports on SEC EDGAR

How to find insider transactions on EDGAR?


Insider transactions show buying and selling of stock or other securities by company insiders such as directors, officers, and executives. You can also look up individuals using EDGAR’s search functionality.


Below you can see that former speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi’s relatives, Paul and Ronald, can be found on the EDGAR database. Tracking Nancy Pelosi’s trades has become popular ever since she was accused of using information about upcoming legislation etc. to improve her family’s investing outcomes.


 SEC EDGAR  search for insider transactions

To find company-specific insider transactions on EDGAR, first search for the company you’re interested in analyzing. Instructions for using EDGAR company search can be found above. Next choose Company Information, and the link to insider transactions is directly below the SIC details.

The link for insider transactions

How to use EDGAR Full-Text Search


EDGAR Full-Text Search allows you to search for keywords across all EDGAR filings submitted since 2001. You can search by keyword and filter by ticker, company name, CIK number, and/or reporter’s last name—individually or in combination.


EDGAR Full-Text Search

Boolean operators allow for searches where all words entered are required to be in the resulting documents, exact phrases matching, exclude terms, OR logic clauses, and wildcards. Any of these can be combined in a single search.


You may search by date or by date range. First, click the "More Search Options” link to expand the search form. Then use the “date range” drop-down to select a pre-determined range.


After you click "Search," the results returned by the search engine based on how relevant the document is to the query and applied search criteria. For example, if the user searches on a term and that term is found multiple times in the document content and multiple metadata fields, it considers that document to be more relevant to the query term than a document that only has that term once.


You can narrow the results by adding new search terms, selecting a form type, or selecting a date range for the filing.


For more details on how to use the Full-Text Search go to “Full-Text Search Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)”.

EDGAR text search is free but it’s awkward to use. For more user friendly and more powerful options, check out “The best SEC filing navigation tools”.



Lesser-Known EDGAR Features


Monitor New Filings in Real-time


EDGAR makes it easy to browse filings as they’re published, simply use this link.


You will be able to see the listing of the most recent filings that were submitted on the same day. Filings are submitted on business days. You can also see filings that were submitted after the 5:30 pm deadline on the previous business day.



 latest filings posted to EDGAR in real time


For more robust monitoring of SEC filings in real-time, try using Hudson Labs news feeds and 8-K screening.



The time a filing was submitted to the SEC and why that can be important



You can find the exact time a document was filed by going to the 10-K and clicking on “filing”



finding the exact time a document was filed

This information is often significant as explained our post “Filing after hours: When it matters



How to use EDGAR API?


The API provides programmatic access to the data on EDGAR. Meaning that developers can build applications that can retrieve and analyze the filings from EDGAR. The APIs do not require any authentication or API keys to access.


To use the EDGAR API, you need to obtain an API key by registering for an account on the website, by visiting: https://www.sec.gov/edgar/sec-api-documentation


For more alternative APIs that provide real-time SEC filing data, see “Top 13 financial APIs that will actually help you invest



Alternatives to EDGAR


EDGAR is an invaluable resource in many ways. You can use EDGAR to read every word of a 10-K. But these filings can take hours to read, much of it is boilerplate and if a company wants to obscure something in all that verbiage they are often very successful.


Hudson Labs provides advanced SEC filing processing so that you never miss a red flag. Stop wasting time reading boilerplate legalese and start your Hudson Labs trial today.


We also recommend checking out our guide to free and paid tools for stock research. It’s quite comprehensive.

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