You can't control the order of processing in all situations, even when the technique described above. In order to optimize the porcessing of a module, Alteryx forces some inputs to run before others, even if they are included in macros. An example of this is inputs attched to the right side of a SpatialMatch or a FindReplace, even indirectly. The module runs more efficiently if those come before other inputs.
I do control the process subflows by using AppendFields.
In my example, I copy a workbook from a template directory to a target directory and then update it in a subsequent flow within the same module.
1st running step outputs into the APPEND FIELDS tool (Source). All of this activity must complete before appending can happen. Make sure that you only input 1 record/ 1 field into the append field tool.
In my example use case, I have a command prompt running a copy of the workbook occuring and the output going into the append fields Source. The read of another data flow goes into the Target.
The append fields tool is configured with only the Target fields selected.
The result is that I can make certain flows happen first and hold up other processes that Merge into this flow.
Alteryx Runner macro created by Adam Riley might be a good solution - check this post http://community.alteryx.com/Troubleshooting/Streaming-Modules-to-run-in-sequence http://www.chaosreignswithin.com/2014/06/blog-macro-pack.html
I agree with the 'append' tool. I just have a text tool with one dummy record in it which I connect to the source side of the append tool. After the append tool, I drop that dummy rec. This trick helps to control the flow.
Second, you could look at the Tool ID (in properties > Annotation). Tools with lower number run first, but not sure if that still happens in recent version of Alteryx. I used to copy /paste the tools into a new canvas first - so they would run first.
Third, try the block tool but I never had much luck with it. Some artisans drop 3,4,5 blocks in a row to control the flow but I always thought that was a dirty fix.
I think Joao's comment is a pretty reasonable one. The question was first asked four years ago (and I can find others asking this often online), and yet such basic functionality is still not forthcoming.
If we need to tell Alteryx what it should look like, then here goes:
In the workflow configuration pane, add a tab for execution order. For guidance on what it should look like, take a look at how photoshop handles layers. The layers that you drag higher up are the layers that are on top. In alteryx, you should be able to drag workflow items/tools higher in the list to specify which runs first. Place a small icon on the list elements that shows an image of what tool it is. Show the specific tool number next to the icon and tool name. When you click on that tool in the execution order list, have the corresponding tool in the workflow highlight so that users can quickly see which one it is.
And with that, it's time to add the functionality into the software.