Organizing Variables

The variable organizer allows dataset editors to sort variables into groups and determine the order in which they will appear in the sidebar. It can also be used to quickly edit variable names, descriptions, and aliases.

If the dataset you wish to organize is already shared with other users and you do not want to be making edits to the dataset while they might be in it and analyzing the data, then you may want to consider creating a draft before organizing it (or making other large changes). This will allow you to make changes to the dataset organization before pushing the reorganized dataset to your clients.

Open the variable organizer by opening dataset properties and then selecting the Edit Variables tab.


Variables are listed in their current order, along with their descriptions and aliases.

On the right side of the interface, you’ll see the Actions sidebar.


The options available in this sidebar depend on what mode you are in (Organize or Edit Names) and whether you have any variables selected. See below for more information.

Changing variable order

The order of variables in the list can be changed by dragging and dropping them. Select multiple variables at once using shift-click and command-click (Mac)/control-click (PC). Once a group of variables has been selected they can be dragged as a group.

Creating and using folders

Create a folder by clicking Add Folder in the Actions sidebar. This opens the New folder name dialog, where you can give the folder a name.


The new folder will appear at the top of the variable list. You can drag and drop variables into the folder to move them. Click the folder icon to open the folder and view and organize its contents.

When a folder is open, the path to that folder is shown at the top of the interface.


Drag variables to a location on the path to move them up in the hierarchy. Click on a location on the path to navigate to it directly.

Editing variable and folder names, descriptions, and aliases

To edit variable and folder names, descriptions, and aliases, slide the toggle to Edit Names in the Actions sidebar. This puts the interface into Edit mode. While in edit mode:

  • You can click any variable or folder name, description, or alias to edit it. You can use Tab to move to the next field or Enter to move to the next row (i.e. if you are editing a description you’ll move to the next description).

  • You cannot arrange variables or put them into folders. If you need to arrange variables, click Organize in the Actions sidebar to return to Organize mode.

Hiding, unhiding, and deleting variables

Hidden variables do not appear in the sidebar, but any variables derived from them will be unaffected. Deleted variables are permanently removed from the dataset; any filters, analyses, or other variables derived from a deleted variable may be removed as a result.

When a variable or variables are selected, actions that can be performed on them will appear at the bottom of the Actions sidebar. Click Hide to hide a variable (or group of selected variables). Once hidden, the variable will disappear. You can view hidden variables in the Organize interface by toggling on Show Hidden in the Actions sidebar, and then unhide them by selecting them and selecting Unhide.

Permanently delete a variable by clicking Delete.