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Getting Started

Health Data Interactive (HDI) uses sophisticated online software with many advanced features for manipulating the available public use, pre-tabulated data.  This brief documentation will provide you the orientation needed for you to explore tables and fully experience the ease of use and flexibility of HDI.

Locating tables

HDI presents public health data in many tables organized into topic folders:

  • Health and functional status
  • Health care use and expenditures
  • Health conditions
  • Health insurance and access
  • Mortality and life expectancy
  • Pregnancy and birth
  • Risk factors and disease prevention
You may browse through the folders to locate tables of interest.  Clicking on the folder name will show the folder contents, a list of tables, in the right panel of HDI.  Clicking on a table name will open that table.


You may also use the search box to enter a key word that may be associated with one or more of the HDI tables.  The search results will list any tables with your search term.  The right side of the screen will contain the folder for each table.  You may click on the table name to open the table, or click on the folder name to see a list of that folder's contents.


Working with tables

When you click on a table title, you will see an opening view of the data table. You should notice the Report, Table, and Chart tabs near the top of the screen. You can click on the Report tab to return to the list of table titles. Click on the Chart tab to see the data table in chart format. This view is explained further below.


Click on a Table tab again to return to the opening view of the table you had opened. You will notice that the table title appears below the tabs and above several icons. These icons allow you to control different aspects of the table, including selecting which items, or variable values, to view; selecting a download format; determining which dimension, that is, variable, will appear as a row or column; reset the table to its default view; and, view a printable version of the table to a chart presentation, to view the table or chart in print-ready format, or to open the data in Excel format.


Below the table title, you will see a row, labeled Other, including variables, or dimensions, for this table. These variables, and their values, are affecting the displayed data from the table. Notice that each variable appears in its own tile. Also important are the row and column heading tiles labeling the cells of the table. You will use these variable tiles to customize the view of the table.


Changing variables in rows or columns

A key feature of HDI tables is the ability to customize the display view of the data. Each table dimension, or variable, appears on the screen in a tile arranged as the table's column headings, row headings, or as other available variables. Each variable tile can be moved into different positions by clicking and dragging the tile. Move your cursor over the shaded area of a tile you want to move. The cursor will become a four-pointed arrow. Click and drag this tile over another variable you want to replace. You will notice that the variable tile to be replaced will appear yellow. The table will be redrawn showing the variable arrangement you specified. In this way, you can switch row and column headings, and the associated data, as well as swap row or column variables with variables in the other row.


Nesting variables

Just as you can swap and replace variables within a table, you can "nest" variables within each other. Click and drag the desired variable tile and hold it over the variable you want to nest it within. You should notice that a heavy yellow line appears at the bottom edge of column headings, or the left edge of row headings, indicating where the tile will be placed when you release the mouse button. In this way you can change a table showing health status by age, for example, to show health status by sex and age, or any number of other configurations.


Browsing items in variables

You may notice that some variables in the Other row across the top of the table have small arrow heads next to currently displayed variable item (e.g., All ages (age adjusted) for Age). These arrow heads indicate that there are additional variable items, or values, that can be selected and displayed on the table. To browse through different items, or values, for each variable, click on the small forward or backward arrow. For example, when you click on the forward arrow after All ages (age adjusted) you may see Age - 0-4 years displayed and data in the table will change to display only estimates for this age span.


Selecting items in variables

Most variables in each table will have several values, or items. For example, a table including the variable Age may have the items of All ages, 0-17 years, 0-4 years, 5-17 years, and so forth. You may be interested in narrowing the data displayed in this table, and ultimately a chart view of this data. Move you cursor over the variable name and notice the cursor becomes a pointing hand. Click on the variable name and you will be taken to a page with a checklist of all the items for the selected variable.


You may also adjust the variable values by clicking on the first icon, called Select items to view, appearing above the table name. Click the variable you are interested in and you will be taken to the page with the checklist of variable items.


Each variable item to be displayed in the table or chart is checked. Uncheck any item you do not want to display. In this example, you may uncheck 0-17 years and other items to display All ages, 0-4 years and 5-17 years.


Notice that the left portion of this page lists all the variables of the table, separated into column variables, row variables, and other variables. The selected variable, that variable whose items are listed with check boxes on the right, will appear in a large darkened arrow pointing to the right panel of the page. You can change which variable's items to check by clicking the variable names.


Notice also that on the page, you can swap or next variables by dragging and dropping variable tiles.

Return to the table by clicking the Show table button appearing above the table title.


Viewing explanatory information

Each table in HDI contains detailed notes about the table and variables. Click on the icon showing a lower case "i" in a blue circle to view the context-specific information. Click the icon appearing after a table title to view details about the data source, how the data were calculated, suppression criteria, age and age adjustment calculations, and other important information. Click on this icon next to a variable to view details specific to this variable and the included items, or values.


Sorting column contents

Click on the up or down arrow in the corresponding column to sort that column by ascending or descending order.


Charting table data

To chart the data shown in the table, click the chart tab at the top of the table. One or more thumbnail charts will appear. Click on the thumbnail to see the full-sized chart. To customize the chart type, for example to change the display from vertical columns to a line chart, click on the Chart types icon above the table title.


You may adjust the dimensions and items to further refine the chart by clicking on the Select items to view icon just as was done to modify the table display.


When viewing a chart, you can toggle the data labels on and off by clicking the View/Hide data labels icon.



When you have finished arranging the data into a table or chart, click on the View printable version icon appearing below the table title. Use your Internet browser's Print command to print.


Using tables offline

Data from HDI tables can be downloaded for use offline. There may be times when your access to the Internet is restricted or you may be interested in using other analytic software to manipulate the data. You may export a table's data to Microsoft Excel, or you may download a version of the table for access with Beyond 20/20's Browser software.


Note that HDI tables are updated when new data are available. Tables that you download or export will not reflect these changes, and you will need to retrieve an updated version of the table to have the most current data available for offline use.


Exporting to Excel

When you export table data to Excel, note that only the data that are displayed will be exported. After opening the table you want to export, the most important step is to arrange the table to show all the variables along the table rows and columns. Next, click the Microsoft Excel Format (*.xls) icon appearing below the opened table's title. A popup box will ask if you want to open or save the file. If you select open, the Excel application will start and you will see the table in this format. You should select "Save As" within Excel, specify a file name, verify the file format, and save the file to a location on your hard drive that you will be able to locate in the future. If you select Save, navigate to an appropriate location on your hard drive and click Save.


Downloading for Beyond 20/20 Browser

HDI tables are also available in a format that can be read and manipulated with the free, Beyond 20/20 Browser software. You will need to download and install the Browser first, then download the specific table you wish to access offline. You only need to download and install the Browser once.


Go to to download and install the Browser software.


Then, go to the table folder in which the table of interest appears. You will see a link for offline tables below the list of tables in the folder. Click on this link and select the table for downloading from the list provided.


Help/Contact us

If you still have questions, need help with HDI, or would like to provide us with your feedback, please contact us (


Page Last Modified: December 09, 2008

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