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Documentation Idea: Anchors for Lines

Problem: The visual nature of Alteryx is one of its key selling points. The idea is to make work flows understandable. But when you're building something complicated, the lines cease being a helpful visualization and become a confusing mess instead. Lines cross each other. Lines cross out annotations. I know that there's wireless connections, but using too many of those makes the data flow hard to trace. So I spend time moving tools and boxes around, trying to get lines to cooperate, instead of chasing that thrill of solving. 


Solution: Users should be able to click the line and place an anchor which affects the line just like a tool would, but without doing anything to the data. It would just be a little point, not a full tool.  That way I could make the lines dodge my annotations without placing needless select tools or moving everything around. It could be located in the Documentation tab. 


Thanks for reading,


Alteryx Alumni (Retired)
Status changed to: Under Review

Hi @bgrab,


This is a great idea.  We have advocated doing this kind of thing with Select tools as kind of a data feed organizer, but the select tool has limitations when used this way.  A small multi-in, multi-out tool that can be used to organize the lines would be a nice addition to the workflow documentation process.  We will bring this up during design sessions and see if we can fit it in somewhere.  Not likely short term, but we will consider it.



8 - Asteroid

+ 1 on this idea. Definitely useful when it comes to arranging complex workflows. The tool can in lay man's term be used as 'cable ties' to tie together all the lines and place it neatly. This can improve visibility and also give us more space on the canvas. 

Alteryx Alumni (Retired)
Status changed to: Not Planned

This is an interesting idea, but we don't have it planned during the next year. 

7 - Meteor

Often times I want to keep connector lines in a certain location or not have them branch out at a specific location at the canvas - it would be great to have a tool that did nothing, but could be used as an anchor point to keep the connector lines at a specific location.  


Right now I use a Select tool for this, since as long as you don't change anything, it just passes data through.  The problem is that if you have a problem like a missing field, you have to look at all of the select tools to see if anything was changed in it. 


Having a tool that did absolutely nothing would be great to organize connectors without having to check on their settings in case of problems.

11 - Bolide

Maybe try a count records tool instead of Select?

7 - Meteor

Unfortunately, the count records tool only outputs the record count.  It doesn't pass the data through.

11 - Bolide

OK, a couple of other ideas are to add a filter for only non-null values in a field that would never have nulls or a sort tool on any field.


I'm a little rusty and am not in front of Alteryx at the moment, but a message tool might work too. 

7 - Meteor

I'd also like to add my voice to this topic and say that this a good idea.  Often, the workflows we build in Alteryx are tactical solutions to larger problems, and we must "sell" these solutions to decision-makers.  If the confusing appearance of the workflow lines (caused by inability to forcefully arrange them in the simplest appearance) leads to lots of questions from those decision-makers, the idea gets shot down.  Or worse, it leads to less confidence in Alteryx on their part, overall. 

7 - Meteor

I just found that this idea has already been posted.  If you're interested in this, please see this thread and give the post a star.

5 - Atom

Hi, this is my first post on this forum but I am following its activity actively for 4 months already !


I work in a field where the workflows I am building are reviewed or used by people who sometimes aren't familiar with Alteryx.

Therefore, I have to spend a lot of time documenting the workflows and move tools around so the connection "lines" between the tools don't get too messy.

Usually the Auto Route Perpendicular or Auto Route Bezier options from the connection settings works fine to make a clean presentation when the workflow is simple.

But when I use, by example, the 2 ends of a filter tool or the 3 ends of a join tool and continue the workflow in many streams of data, the workflow quickly becomes messy.


My idea is to add a tool in the "documentation" tool category that could be used to reroute connection lines. The tool would interact with the connection lines in the same way than the other tools, and it would be its only usage. The size of the icon of this tool could be significantly smaller than the others when dropped on the canvas so it would not be mistaken with any other tool.


Thanks for listening!


Looking forward to participate to the discussion again!