Download SEC Filings from EDGAR

Research Notes

Mingze Gao, PhD

Macquarie University


September 8, 2023

This post documents how to download SEC filings from EDGAR using edgar-analyzer, a Python program I wrote. It features:

Install edgar-analyzer

pip install edgar-analyzer

EDGAR has limitations on the download speed. While the program tries its best to adhere to the requirements, it may accidentally go above the limit, resulting a temporary or even permanent ban. Please use at your own risk.

Download index files

EDGAR started in 1994/1995. EDGAR provides quarterly index files since 1993Q1 (1) which contain the firm CIK, name, filing date, type, and URL of the filing.1

1 The number of filings in 1993 is close to zero so we can start from 1994.

We will use these index files to build a database so that we can more efficiently download the filings of our choice.

Further, EDGAR now requires download requests to supply identity info. We need to specify our name/institution and contact email in user agent. Otherwise, none of requests will work.

Then, run the following command. Notice that we specify the beginning year as 2010 and output directory as “index” in the current working directory.

edgar-analyzer download_index --user_agent "MyCompany" --output "./index" -b 2010

After the index files are downloaded, we build a database of the index files for more efficient queries.

edgar-analyzer build_database --inputdir "./index" --database "edgar-idx.sqlite3"

As at September 2023, the database’s size is about 3GB.

Download filings

Now we get to the actual filings download using the following command. Note that here we have specified to download 10-K filings using 4 threads.

edgar-analyzer download_filings --user_agent "MyCompany" --output "./output" --database "edgar-idx.sqlite3" --file_type "10-K" -t 4

Some extra notes:

  • Only filings not downloaded yet will be downloaded. This ensures that we do not repeatedly download the same filings multiple times if we restart the program.
  • Download speed will be auto throttled as per SEC’s fair use policy, irrespective of the number of threads specified. Multithreading beyond certain number will not increase download speed any further.

You can always use edgar-analyzer [subcommand] --help to check the docs.


The program additionally has some subcommands to perform certain textual analyses.

Just a simple example of the job find_event_date. Based on the 1,491,368 8K filings (2004-2022), the table below shows the reporting lags (date of filing minus date of event).

We can find that most filings are filed on the same day as the event reported, and that over 99.99% of filings are filed within 4 calendar days (SEC requires 4 business days).

Filing lag (calendar days) Frequency Percentage Cumulative
0 1470089 98.57% 98.57%
1 20761 1.39% 99.97%
2 285 0.02% 99.98%
3 89 0.01% 99.99%
4 47 0.00% 99.99%
5 26 0.00% 100.00%
6 14 0.00% 100.00%
7 6 0.00% 100.00%
8 4 0.00% 100.00%
9 3 0.00% 100.00%
10 or more 44 0.00% 100.00%

This tool is a work in progress and breaking changes may be expected.

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