1406.0.55.005 - TableBuilder, User Guide  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/06/2017   
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This section includes:
Building a large table
Using Mesh Blocks
Large table queued jobs

When a table has more than 10,000 cells including totals, per wafer, TableBuilder automatically enters Large table mode and displays the following message.
Image: Entering large table preview mode message

Wafers are counted as separate tables. This means that each wafer can include up to 10,000 cells (including totals) before the table is moved into Large table mode. Using wafers can be a convenient way to produce a number of tables at once, without using Large table mode. For example, wafers can be used to create separate tables for each State/Territory or for different time periods. When tables using wafers are downloaded to a spreadsheet, each wafer appears on a different tab.

Totals are included in the table count, whether or not they are displayed. Hiding totals, by clicking on the symbol beside each variable within the table headings reduces the size of the displayed table only, not the actual table, and does not affect the cell count for Large table mode.

Zero suppression hides rows or columns where all cells are zeros. Using Zero suppression does not reduce the total cell count for Large table mode. This is because the data for the cells must be retrieved before TableBuilder can determine whether the row or columns contain only zeros.

In large table mode the Retrieve Data option is no longer available. Instead, the structure of the large table is built in TableBuilder and can then be queued to retrieve the data. Large tables may complete straight away or may take 24 hours or longer to complete, depending on the number of large tables being submitted by other users. Once the table has processed, it can be downloaded. Processed large tables are available for download for 28 days.


  1. When building a large table, TableBuilder displays a summary version of the full table, with only two categories displaying for each variable. A message indicating that you are working in large table mode and the cell count of the large table displays above the table. This shows the number of rows, columns, wafers and the total cell count. The largest table that can be built in TableBuilder is 40 million cells, including row and column totals and wafers.
    Image: Message when working in large table preview mode, including cell count
  2. Although you can only see part of the table, you can continue using table functions, such as adding and removing variables from the rows, columns and wafers. In large table mode, dragging variables with a large number of categories from one axis to another (such as large geographical classifications) may take some time.
  3. Large table structures can also be saved using the Save Table button. Saving the table structure allows users to modify the table in the future. Large table structures are not automatically saved by queuing the large table. Queuing a large table saves the output data only, which is available for download for 28 days. While the large table is still displayed in the Queued and Completed Tables list, the large table structure can also be reopened and saved by selecting view.
    Image: View a completed large table outline

Census TableBuilder Pro 2016 databases include Mesh Block level detail, the smallest geographical unit used by the ABS. Mesh Blocks are ideal for use in TableBuilder to enable you to build your own custom geographic areas. If you want to display a geography in a table that is not already provided in TableBuilder, you can use Mesh Blocks to accurately approximate a large range of other statistical regions. See the Custom data section for help in customising your own geographies and 2016 Census Dictionary (cat. no. 2901.0) for more information about Mesh Blocks.

Mesh Blocks are ideal for building custom geographic areas. However, you may also want to add Mesh Blocks directly to your table. TableBuilder has a limit of adding 60,000 categories from any one variable to a table. As there are more than 60,000 Mesh Blocks in each of Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland you will need to select a smaller geographic area when using Mesh Blocks. Because of the very detailed information, you may need to build a number of tables if you want to include Mesh Blocks as a variable in your table.
  1. If you try to add all Mesh Blocks to your table, an error message is displayed indicating 'You have attempted to select too many items, reduce your selection'.
    Image: Selecting all Mesh Blocks in Australia
    Image: Error message You have attempted to select too many items, reduce your selection.
  2. The number of items you currently have selected is displayed at the top of the left panel. TableBuilder will stop selecting categories when it reaches the 60,000 limit. Before continuing, clear your current selection by clicking on Un-tick All.
    Image: Select Un-tick All to clear your selections.
  3. You can then select a smaller number of categories to build a table. This example shows all Mesh Blocks in South Australia being successfully selected.
    Image: Selecting fewer Mesh Blocks to be added to the table.
    Image: 28205 Mesh Blocks in South Australia selected
  1. Once your large table is completed, select a download format from the Submit Table drop-down list in the top right corner. Excel format options can only be selected if the large table is within the Excel export limits.
    Image: Choosing Excel 2007 for large table
  2. If a large table has too many rows, columns or cells, the Excel options are greyed out and cannot be selected. Excel 2007 downloads are limited to 16,384 columns x 65,000 rows and less than 100,000 cells. Excel 2003 downloads are limited to 255 columns x 65,000 rows.
    Image: Some options for large tables greyed out due to size of large table
  3. After choosing the desired format from the Submit Table drop-down list, click the Queue Job button.
    Image: Queue Job button
  4. Enter a name for the large table, and click Queue Table.
    Image: Pop up box to name and queue the table
  5. You are returned to the Table View. TableBuilder displays a message that the request has been successfully added to the download job queue. This message means that your large table output will be available for download once it has completed. While the large table output data is temporarily saved within TableBuilder (for 28 days) your large table structure has not been saved. If you also want to save your large table structure so that you can modify or queue it again it in the future, you will also need to use the Save Table button.
    Image: Queue job has been successful message
  6. To check the status of the queued job go to the Saved Tables tab.
    Image: Saved Tables tab
  7. When the table has the status of Completed, click here to download, the table has finished processing and can be downloaded. Tables can be downloaded multiple times.
    Image: Large table has a status of Running
    Image: Large table has a status of Completed
  8. While a job is queued and processing, you can continue to work on other tables, or create other large tables for queuing. You can also log out of TableBuilder and come back later. Your table will continue running in the background. The completed table can be downloaded from the Saved Tables tab when you log back in.
  9. Completed large tables are stored in TableBuilder for 28 days. The Expiry time is listed in the Saved Tables tab in Queued and Completed Tables. After this date the large table will be deleted from TableBuilder and no longer be available for downloading. To use a large table again within TableBuilder, save the large table structure using the Save Table button in the Table View. The large table can then be queued again.
    Image: Large table expiry date

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