Since using the ACS Summary File can be challenging, users should first check if their tables of interest are available for download on American FactFinder. (Up to 7,000 tables can be downloaded at one time using the American FactFinder Download Center.) Below are some other options to help users retrieve the tables they want. They are listed in order based on ease of use.
- Summary File Excel Retrieval Tool
The Summary File Excel Retrieval Tool is a macro-driven Excel spreadsheet that provides a method to easily retrieve a table for the nation, states, and all of the geographic areas in a state (or for all cross-state geographic areas such as metropolitan statistical areas or census regions). This tool is designed to be easy to use, and does not require any programming experience. There is a drop down menu from which the user can select the state for the table and receive data for all geographies within the state. One key requirement is that Microsoft Excel 2007 or later is needed. Other hardware and software requirements for the tool are listed in Chapter 3.1. For more information about the application, see the ACS Summary File page at www.census.gov/acs/www/data_documentation/summary_file/
- Summary File Data Ferrett Tool (coming in January 2011)
DataFerrett is a tool provided by the Census Bureau to help users view, download, and manipulate a wide variety of data sets to suit their needs. Among the features provided by this tool is the ability to construct user-defined variables from the variables on the input data file(s), the ability for users to exclude data that is not of interest, a variety of options for downloading data, and the ability to create complex tabular reports from the data including graphs and thematic maps. The initial release of the 2005-2009 ACS Summary File data in DataFerrett, currently planned for January 2011, will focus primarily on the display and download capabilities of DataFerrett. This tool will be ideal for data users who wish to view, customize, and restrict the data that is downloaded from the 2005-2009 ACS Summary File. Detailed information about DataFerrett is not available in this document and will be available when the tool is released.
- Summary File Excel Import Tool
The Summary File Excel Import Tool is a replicate of the Excel templates that Census 2000 provided for the SF3 summary file release. The Excel Import Tool provides a basic layout of each sequence in Excel in the same format as the estimate and margin of error files are formatted. For individuals that do not have Excel 2007 or later and are unable to use the Excel Retrieval Tool, the Excel Import Tool provides an alternative option to read the summary file into Excel. For more information on this tool, see Chapter 3.3.
There are two programming options for SAS users. The first option is a set of individual SAS programs, one for each summary file by geography and sequence. These programs are best for users only interested in looking at a specific sequence for a specific geography. The second option is a single SAS program that is parameterized to allow users to read in any sequence for any geography into SAS. This program can also be used to read the entire summary file into SAS, and is designed for users looking for a large amount of data. For more information on these programs, see Chapter 3.1.