1406.0.55.005 - TableBuilder, User Guide  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/08/2018   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product


TableBuilder users can:

  • select, customise, create, save and export tables and customised data
  • display counts, percentages and relative standard errors, calculate means, medians, quantiles and ranges for continuous variables
  • produce output as tables, graphs or maps. Map view is currently available for Census TableBuilder datasets only.

There are three TableBuilder systems:
  • Census TableBuilder Guest
  • Census TableBuilder for Basic and Pro, and
  • TableBuilder for all other datasets.

This TableBuilder User Guide provides information about all systems, including practical examples. Video tutorials covering basic tables, creating custom groups, graphs and maps and large tables can be found in the Tutorials section of this User Guide, including pdf transcripts.

This section includes:
Available Data in TableBuilder
How to register
Accessing TableBuilder
TableBuilder home page features



Census TableBuilder provides a range of topic-based datasets including classifications such as age, education, housing, income, transport, religion, ethnicity and occupation. A list of data items and geographies available in Census TableBuilder can be found in TableBuilder - data & geography.

The 2016 Census Dictionary (cat. no. 2901.0) contains details of the classifications used in the 2016 Census along with definitions of census concepts and terms. The dictionary is a comprehensive reference guide that will help users determine and specify data requirements. This is also linked from within Census TableBuilder. Previous versions of the dictionary can be found on the Past & Futures Releases tab of the above product.

Census TableBuilder Guest is a free product that provides an introductory experience for those seeking to learn how to access Census data at broad demographic levels. You can create and download tables up to 10,000 cells, generate and download graphs and thematic maps, and display data by counts or percentages. However you cannot save tables, submit large tables or save recodes. To access more detail or to save, you will need to register for Census TableBuilder Basic.

Census TableBuilder Basic is a free product designed for users who want to construct basic data tables. TableBuilder Basic provides access to most Census data, with a finer level of geography and demography than Guest. Users can access Basic datasets by registering to enable additional features such as saving tables, submitting large tables and creating custom groups.

Census TableBuilder Pro is a charged product designed for advanced Census data users who want the freedom to create large or complex tables. It provides access to nearly all variables available in the Census data, supporting a large variety of cross-classified tables with the most detailed geography. Users need to register and subscribe to access Pro.


There are many datasets available in TableBuilder, covering a wide range of topics including health, education, labour force, preschool education, migrants, motor vehicles, crime, disabilities, ageing and carers. Some datasets are from ABS survey collections, while others are administrative data collected by other organisations.

A list of datasets is provided in the TableBuilder column of the Available microdata page. This page links users to each dataset's supporting documentation, including a data item list for each dataset on the Downloads tab of each dataset's associated microdata publication.


Users can access Census TableBuilder Guest datasets without registering. However, by registering, users can access additional features such as saving tables, submitting large tables and creating custom groups. Users also need to register to access any of the subscribed TableBuilder datasets, including Census TableBuilder Pro.

Registering for TableBuilder automatically provides access to all free products, including Census TableBuilder Basic.

Subscription access can be purchased for:
  • Census TableBuilder Pro data series
  • each of the TableBuilder data series listed on the Available microdata page.

Subscription prices charged depend on the time of year that the subscription is taken up. For more information, see Microdata prices.

To register for free and subscribed products, see How to apply.



TableBuilder is presented in a web browser. Your default browser will open the session. It is recommended using the following versions of the mainstream browsers:
  • Internet Explorer 11
  • Chrome 52
  • Firefox 47.0, and
  • Safari 8.02.

Older versions of browsers may not display all features of TableBuilder correctly, in particular, mapping functions.


It is not recommended that TableBuilder is opened in more than one tab or window using the same User ID and password. This may produce unpredictable results.


Users can access Census TableBuilder datasets as a guest user without registering.

Guest users can:
  • access broad-level Census TableBuilder datasets
  • create and download tables up to 10,000 cells
  • use and customise predefined tables, and
  • present data in graphs and maps.

Guest users cannot:
  • save tables
  • create custom groupings
  • run large tables up to 40 million cells.

Log in as a guest user. Links to log into TableBuilder systems are also available on the About TableBuilder page on the ABS website.
Image: TableBuilder Guest Users log in box

You will be asked to agree to Terms and Conditions before accessing TableBuilder as a guest user.


The ABS has two registered TableBuilder systems:
  1. Census TableBuilder which contains more detailed data from the 2006, 2011 and 2016 Censuses of Population and Housing.
  2. TableBuilder which has other ABS datasets, including survey data, administrative data and linked data.

Links to log into TableBuilder systems are also available on the About TableBuilder page on the ABS website.

You will know which system you are using by the banner at the top of the screen.
Image: Census TableBuilder banner
Image: TableBuilder (for all other ABS data) banner

After registering, log into the TableBuilder system that includes the dataset you want to use.

Enter your User ID and password (obtained when registering) and select Log in.

Image: Census TableBuilder log in box

Image: TableBuilder log in box

The Log in page also includes useful links to:
  • Register for new users who have not yet registered for TableBuilder
  • Terms & Conditions that users must comply with when using TableBuilder
  • Forgotten password
  • Forgotten User ID.

While using TableBuilder, users may access this User Guide at any time by clicking on the question mark icon on the top right corner of the TableBuilder system. Supporting information will open in a new window and will not affect the active session.
Image: Question mark icon link to TableBuilder User GuideFORGOTTEN CREDENTIALS

Lost or forgotten User IDs and passwords can be retrieved by selecting either the Forgotten password or Forgotten User ID links from the Log in page. This links to the registration centre and will prompt for your registered email from which you will receive the credentials needed.


There is a maximum of six failed attempts on your account before it will be locked. Unlocking your account can be done via the forgotten links, but you must know the answer to your secret question to meet the necessary security requirements to unlock your account. For further support to unlock your account, email microdata.access@abs.gov.au.


At the bottom of all TableBuilder screens are ABS pages relating to:
This supporting information will open in a new window and will not affect your active session.TIMING OUT

If there has been no activity in TableBuilder for 30 minutes, the session will time out. The following message will display and you will need to log in again to continue working. Any unsaved data will be lost.

Image: Time out message


Before logging out, save any data you want to retain. See the Save, download and print section for further information.

Log out is located at the top right of the screen. This will completely close your TableBuilder session. If you only close your browser or the tab without logging out, your session will stay active for 30 minutes.

Once logged in, the TableBuilder home page displays information in three panels.
  • Datasets: the catalogue of data series available to the user. See How to apply to subscribe to additional data series.
  • Predefined tables: when a dataset is selected in the first panel, the Predefined tables panel shows saved tables, as well as any pre-prepared tables that have been provided.
  • Description panel: provides general information about TableBuilder, including a link to this User Guide.

Census TableBuilder home page view.

Image: Census TableBuilder home page view

There are a number of features and functions of the home page.

Datasets panel
This panel shows all the data series that you have subscribed to, as well as all free products.
  • Clicking the arrow expands the data series to display all the related datasets, as well as any saved or predefined tables for this dataset.
  • Double click on a dataset to start creating a new table.

Predefined tables panel
This panel shows the predefined and saved tables for the selected dataset. The Image: White square icon with green person picture icon identifies predefined tables that are accessible to all users. The Image: White square icon icon identifies a user saved table that is only accessible to you. When a dataset is selected in the Datasets panel, you can double click on any of the tables in the Predefined tables panel to open them, or click New Table to create a new empty table for the selected dataset. See Predefined tables and Saving a table for further information.

New Table button
Select a dataset in the Datasets panel, then click this button to start creating a new table.

Open Table button
Select a table in the Predefined tables panel, then click Open Table to use and modify the selected table. Alternatively, double click on the table to open it.

Description panel
The panel on the right provides general information about TableBuilder, including a link to this User Guide.

When a dataset is selected in the first panel and there is further information available about the dataset or its predefined tables, the information will display here.

Search box
Use the search box (in the top right corner) to search across all data series. Results are presented by type - dataset, user table (your saved tables), predefined table, field (variable) and value (category). The results show all datasets that include the search term, whether it is in a dataset name, one of your saved tables, a variable or a category. See the Search section for further information.