1406.0.55.005 - TableBuilder, User Guide  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/12/2016   
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This section includes:
Open a dataset
Build a table by adding rows, columns and wafers
'Choose a level to select all' drop-down list
Shift-click to select multiple variable categories
Move a variable to a different axis
Remove a variable
Remove variable categories
Add and remove a filter
Clear the table and start again
Change datasets
Predefined tables


On the TableBuilder home page, click the arrow to expand the data series to display the available datasets. Either double click the dataset in the first panel or select the New Table button (at the top of the middle panel) to start creating a new table. This opens the Table View where users can build and modify tables.

Census TableBuilder available datasets view.

TableBuilder for all other datasets view, example of available datasets.
Image: TableBuilder datasets panel on the home page



When a dataset is opened in Table view, the left panel shows a list of available variables and categories that can be added to the table.
  • Variables are data items that are available within a dataset, such as Age or Indigenous status. There may be multiple similar variables in a dataset, such as Age in single years and Age in 5 year groupings.
  • Categories are the responses to the questions that have been provided by the census or survey respondent. For example, the categories of the variable Sex are Male or Female. Categories must be complete (include options for all possible responses) and must not overlap (mutually exclusive).

Related variables are grouped together in folders. Click on the folders to view the available variables and categories.
Image: Expanding and selecting variables in a table

The default setting is to show the left panel. To hide the left panel select the < arrow at the top of the menu. To show it again select the > arrow.

Hide left panel option.
Image: Hide variables left panel option

Show left panel option.
Image: Show variables left panel option


There are three ways to select variables or categories to be added to a table:
  • Click in the tick boxes and use the Add to Row, Column, Filter or Wafer buttons at the top of the left panel. This option is useful for selecting a few categories of a variable. Use Shift-click to select multiple variable categories at once.
  • Click the arrow next to the variable name to show the 'Choose a level to select all' drop-down list. This selects all categories of the variable at once. Hierarchical variables may have multiple options for selection, e.g. Age in 10 year ranges, Age in 5 year ranges and Age in single years. Then use the Add to Row, Column, Filter or Wafer buttons.
  • Drag the variable name to the right. A pop-up menu appears with options for adding to Column, Row or Wafer. Dropping the variable onto one of these options selects all categories of the variable at once.


Tables display in the right panel. To create a table, select the variables from the list in left panel and add them to either the table rows, columns, wafers, or filters.
  • Rows are horizontal displays of data, with the row headings appearing down the left side of the table.
  • Columns are vertical displays of data, with the column headings appearing across the top of the table.
  • Filters are used to limit the data in a table to display data only for specific variable categories. For example, by including New South Wales in a filter, the table results will display counts for New South Wales only, rather than the whole of Australia. See Add and remove a filter for more information.
  • Wafers are where data is displayed in multiple layers of a table. This can be a useful option for including a time or geography variable for example. When tables using wafers are exported or downloaded to a spreadsheet, each wafer appears on a different tab. Wafers may also be called layers or sheets. When moving to large table mode, TableBuilder counts the number of cells for each wafer as a separate table. For more information see Cell count and Large tables.

This example, using the 2011 Census - Children and Childcare dataset, shows how to create a table with Sex in the rows, Marital Status in the columns and Age in the wafers.
  1. In the left panel, click the Children and Childcare Classifications folder to expand the list of available variables.
    Image: Opening a variable list folder for Children and Childcare Classifications
  2. Click the Sex folder to expand the list of variables available.
    Image: Expand variable folder to view the list of categories
  3. Expand the Sex (SEXP) variable and select the tick boxes next to the categories to be added to the table, in this example Male and Female.
    Image: Display of the Sex (SEXP) folder categories
  4. Click Add to: Row.
    Image: Add to row button
  5. TableBuilder adds these variables to the table.
    Image: Variable categories added to the table
  6. When the first variables are added to the table, TableBuilder also adds a default summation (what the table is counting). For 2011 Census - Children and Childcare dataset, the default summation is counting the number of persons. See the Census method of count and Summation options sections for more detail on summation.
    Image: Default summation display
  7. Next, add the Marital Status variable to the column headings. Using the drag and drop shortcut, all the available categories in a particular variable can be added to the table. The Column, Row and Wafer options appear. Drop onto Column.
    Image: Drag and drop a variable to a table
  8. TableBuilder adds all the available categories from Marital Status to the column headings.
    Image: Marital status added to the column headings of the table
  9. Next add the Age variable to the wafer. Click and drag Age towards the table. This time drop the variable onto Wafer. This will create a separate wafer for each 5 year age group.
    Image: Age variable to the wafer
  10. Click Retrieve Data to populate the table with data.
    Image: Retrieve data
  11. The selected Wafer displays above the table. The wafer for all people in the 35-39 years age group including Sex by Marital status is displayed. Change the displayed wafer by using the drop-down menu next to Wafers. To remove a variable from the wafer, click on the X next to the wafer variable or drag the wafer variable to the Trash icon.
    Image: Table displaying wafer for 35-39 years age group
  12. The cell count for the table, including all wafers, is displayed above the table. Large table mode activates when there are more than 10,000 cells in each wafer.
    Image: Cell count of the table


Another way to add a variable to a table is to use the Choose a level to select all drop-down list to quickly select all categories. This is particularly useful when there are a large number of categories at a particular level in the hierarchy.
  1. Click the arrow to the right of the geographic area variable. A drop-down list appears.

  2. Selecting State from the drop-down list includes all the available categories at this level in the hierarchy. When the Main Statistical Area Structure variable is expanded it can be seen that TableBuilder has selected all the available categories at this level in the hierarchy. At the top of the hierarchy TableBuilder indicates the number of categories are currently selected (in this case, 9 categories).
    Image: Categories are already selected
  3. Click the Add to Column button. TableBuilder adds all the selected categories to the column headings.
    Image: Selected categories are added to the column headings
  4. Click Retrieve Data to populate the table.
    Image: Retrieve data

Another way to quickly select multiple categories is to use Shift-click. This will select a range of variable categories. For example, to add all categories of the Age variable from 18 to 45.
  1. In the left panel, expand the Age variable and select the first category in your range (in this case, 18).
    Image: Select the first item in the range
  2. Hold down the Shift key and click the last category in the range (in this case, 45).
    Image: Shift key and click to select multiple categories
  3. TableBuilder automatically selects all the categories in between.
    Image: Automatic category selection
  4. Click Add to Row or Add to Column to add the categories to the table.


To swap the columns, rows and wafers, drag and drop the variable names from within the table.
  1. Drag and drop the Sex variable name onto the column headings. Drop the variable once the column header area turns light blue.
    Image: Drag and drop variable to column
  2. This adds Sex to the column headings. As Sex was dragged to the space above Marital Status, Sex and Marital Status are displayed as nested variables. For more information about nesting, see Add multiple variables to an axis.
    Image: Marital Status shown below Sex in Columns
  3. Now drag the Marital Status variable name onto the row. Drop the variable once the row header area turns light blue.
    Image: Drag and drop variable to row
  4. The table updates to show Marital Status in the rows.
    Image: Updated table structure
  5. Variables can also be dragged and dropped to the Wafer area.
    Image: Drag and drop variable to wafer
  6. The table shows Sex in the Wafer and Marital Status in the rows. Click the Wafer drop down menu to select a different category in this case, Male, Female or Total can be selected.
    Image: Updated table structure


The easiest way to remove an entire variable from the table is to drag and drop the variable name onto the Trash icon. Use drag and drop for row, column or wafer variables.
  1. Drag and drop the Marital Status variable name onto Trash.
    Image: Drag and drop a variable to trash icon
  2. TableBuilder removes the entire variable from the table.
    Image: Entire variable has been removed from the table

Instead of removing an entire variable, a user can use the Remove button at the top of the left panel to remove individual variable categories only. If categories that have been removed are subsequently re-added, they will appear in the order that they were added, not their original order.

For example to remove all the categories of the Marital Status variable from the table:
  1. Click the folder icon to expand Marital Status if it is not already expanded. The variable categories that are currently in the table appear in bold and italics (in this case, all the categories are in the table).
    Image: Categories that are currently in the table appear in bold and italics in the variable list
  2. Select the tick boxes for the categories to be removed from the table (for example Not Applicable), then click Remove. TableBuilder removes these categories from the table.
    Image: Remove categories from table using Remove button
  3. Click Retrieve Data again to refresh the data in the table.
    Image: Retrieve data


When filters are applied to a table, only records that match the filters are included in the results. Filters are an alternative to selecting and including specific variable categories only in the table, and can be removed to show all categories again.
  1. The following table shows Labour Force Status (LFSP) by State with no filters applied.
    Image: Example table with no filters
  2. Select a single category and click Add to Filter.
    Image: Click on the Filter button to add selected categories as a filter
  3. TableBuilder adds the filter to the Filters list above the table.
    Image: Filters are listed above the table
  4. Additional categories can be added to the filter if necessary. However, only one category can be added from any given variable. For example Sex - Male and Sex - Female cannot both be added as a filter at the same time.
  5. The following version of the table has two filters added. With the addition of these filters, the counts in the table will now only include individuals who are both Male and Married.
    Image: Table with two filters applied
  6. To remove a filter, click the X next to the filter name.
    Image: Click X to remove filter
  1. Click the Clear Table icon.
    Image: Clear table button
  2. TableBuilder will prompt to confirm the deletion of the table. Click OK. TableBuilder clears the table.
    Image: Confirm action to clear the current table without saving


To choose a different dataset, click the Datasets tab in the blue navigation menu. This returns you to the TableBuilder home page and closes the dataset that is currently open. If you cannot see the dataset that you want to open, you may need to log into TableBuilder
for the Census of Population and Housing or TableBuilder for all other datasets. For more information see Accessing TableBuilder.

Alternatively, your organisation may not have subscribed to the data series you are trying to access. Check which datasets your organisation has access to in Registration Centre, using the same User ID and password. To subscribe to additional data series, see How to apply. For a list of all data series and datasets, see Available microdata.To switch between Census TableBuilder datasets and other datasets, you will need to log into the other TableBuilder system. See the Logging in section.

Switching to another dataset will clear the current table. To use the current table again, save the table before switching datasets. See the Save, download and print tables section.
Image: Use the Datasets tab to open other datasets


Some datasets have tables that have already been created and are available to all users. These are known as Predefined tables, with this icon: Image: Predefined table logo. If there are predefined tables available for a dataset, they will be displayed in the middle panel of the TableBuilder home screen.

Opening a predefined table displays a table with selected variables and its data. Predefined tables can also used as a starting point and be further modified as required. Predefined tables can be saved, graphed, mapped or downloaded like any other table. When predefined tables are opened, the data is automatically retrieved, so predefined tables for large datasets may take some time to open.
  1. For example, the Census TableBuilder Basic dataset 2011 Census - Employment, Income and Unpaid Work has four predefined tables available for users.
    Image: Predefined tables panel
  2. Double clicking on the 2011 Census Labour Force Status by Sex predefined table opens a table showing State by Sex by Labour Force Status with data already retrieved.
    Image: Opening a predefined table

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