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:
Dataset help information
Census method of count
Cell count
Sort table columns or rows
Show or hide totals in a table
Category labels and codes
Automatically retrieve data
Add multiple variables to rows, columns or wafers


When a dataset is open, there are a number of help options to provide users with more information about the dataset and variables.

Information is available via the link next to the dataset title in the Table View.

  • For Census TableBuilder datasets, the i link opens Census Dictionary information.
  • For all other datasets, the i link opens the dataset's associated microdata publication. This includes the full data item list on the Downloads tab of the microdata publication.

Clicking on the i link will open the help information in a new window and allow your TableBuilder session to continue.
Image: Link to microdata product information

Census TableBuilder variables also have variable specific information in the Census Dictionary. Click on the i link next to the variable name in the table to open the Census Dictionary description. This will open in a new window and allow your TableBuilder session to continue. Further information regarding the data quality of Census variables can be found using the Data Quality Statements linked to corresponding entries in the Census Dictionary. These statements include information about non-response rates and any known data quality issues for each Census variable.
Image: i link to variable information

Census TableBuilder datasets provide information about persons, families and dwellings. Select the appropriate dataset based on what you want to count.

The method of count for each dataset can be found at the top of the table.
Image: Showing default summation for a table


This is the place where a person usually lives. It may or may not be the place where the person was counted on Census Night. Usual residence data less likely to be influenced by seasonal factors such as school holidays and snow seasons, and provide information about the usual residents of an area. It is often used by government agencies when allocating funds to regions.


Census place of enumeration is a count of every person in Australia on Census Night, based on where they were located on that night. This may or may not be the place at which they usually live. It includes people who are on long-distance trains, buses or aircraft, or on board vessels in or between Australian ports. It includes overseas visitors.

This type of count provides a snapshot of an area on Census night. Although the Census is timed to attempt to capture the typical situation, holiday resort areas such as the Gold Coast and snow fields may show a large enumeration count compared with the usual residence count.


The Census also provides information about the working population. This consists of persons aged 15 years and over who were employed in the week prior to Census night. The data collected relate to all workers, regardless of the hours worked. The Journey to Work data on which this is based are used by transport authorities, associated bodies, organisations and other interested people to plan public transport systems, and for the development and release of residential and commercial land.


To see how large your table is, check the cell count above the table. This shows the number of rows, columns and wafers for the total and displayed cell counts. The displayed cell count may differ from the total cell count if row or column totals are not displayed or if the Zero suppression option is turned on. If the table has more than 10,000 cells per wafer in the total cell count, the table will automatically be moved into Large table mode. The largest table (including totals and wafers) that can be built in TableBuilder is 40 million cells. Techniques for reducing the size of the displayed table and total cell count are outlined in the Troubleshooting section.
Image: Cell count is displayed above the table


Rows and columns can be sorted using the double arrow next to the variable and category names. Rows are sorted alphabetically by the variable labels. Columns are sorted by the data (counts) in the column. If row categories are removed and then re-added to a table, they will appear in the order they have been added, not their original order. Categories can be re-ordered by using the sort option. Row variables can also be sorted by their codes instead of their labels. See Category labels and codes below.

Use the double arrows shown against the row variable label to sort based on the row labels.
Image: Double arrows to sort row labels

One click sorts ascending order. Click again to sort descending order. Click a third time to revert to default order.
Image: Sorted ascending order row labels

Use the double arrows in the column headings to sort based on the data counts in the column. Click again to sort in descending order. Click a third time to return to the default order.
Image: Sort ascending order column data


TableBuilder can automatically add totals to tables. Click the Totals icon next to the variable name to show or hide the total for the variable. For certain variables it may not make sense to add totals, in which case, the Totals icon will not appear.

Show total.
Image: Show total icon in a table

Hide total.
Image: Hide total icon in a table


By default, the category labels show the names of the variable categories (such as Divorced, Separated, Married). By clicking the Codes icon next to the variable name, the table displays the numeric category codes instead. This can be a useful option for large classifications or variables with long category labels, such as the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS).

Table displaying category labels.
Image: Codes icon

Table displaying numeric category codes instead of labels.
Image: Table displaying numeric category codes


Whenever the variables in the table are changed, Retrieve Data needs to be clicked to populate the data in the table. To avoid the need to click Retrieve Data with each change, select the Automatically Retrieve Data option (looped arrow on the Retrieve Data button). When this option is activated, TableBuilder automatically updates the data whenever the table is changed.

For performance reasons it is usually better to leave this option turned off, particularly with larger tables and datasets.
Image: Automatically Retrieve Data on button


Users can add multiple variables to a table so that the variables are nested within rows, columns or wafers. Nesting is where multiple variables are on the same axis, such as Age and Marital status in the Row axis. The maximum number of variables that can be nested on an axis is 10 variables. This is also the maximum number of variables that can be included in a table.

Some features are not available when there are nested variables in a table. For example, mapping is not available if a geographic field is nested. A geographic variable can still be mapped if the nested variables are on the opposite axis to the geographic variable.

To nest variables in a table, the variables must be added one at a time to the row, column or wafer. Variables can be added using the drag and drop method or the Add to Row, Column or Wafer buttons.
  1. Select Age categories between 15 and 29 years and Add to row.
  2. Then select Marital status, and Add to row.
  3. Add Sex to column and retrieve data.
  4. The variables Age and Marital status display as nested variables.
    Image: Nested variables on row

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