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Alteryx Designer Desktop Ideas

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Hello all,

When using in-database, all you have in select or formula are the Alteryx field types (V_String, etc..).

However, since you're mostly writing in database, in the end, there is a conversion of Alteryx field types to real SQL field types (like varchar). But how is it done ? As of today, it's a total black box. Some documentation would be appreciated.

Best regards,


Documenting your Alteryx workflow is important because it allows others to understand and modify it as needed. To document your workflow effectively, you should provide detailed information about your inputs, outputs, tools used, and any assumptions or limitations.


When it comes to documentation, annotations are often more practical than the comments tool. However, the comments tool in Alteryx offers a useful feature that allows you to customize the background, font, and border colors. These customizable colors can be beneficial when reviewing workflows, as they help draw attention to specific details or notes.


In the screenshot below, you can observe that the highlighted comment attracts more attention compared to the annotation on the left side, even though they contain the same comment.


It would be great if the color customization features available in the comments tool could also be added to the annotations of any tool.






I am aware that an Auto-Documenter tool is available in the Gallery, but that has not been maintained since 2020. 


It would be great if Alteryx could have that as an added feature to the Designer as an option for end-users to utilize. 


The breakdown of it can be done via XML parsing as such: 

<Nodes>: Configuration of tools

<Connections>: The tools used

<Properties>: Workflow properties


Right now, the current workaround is for users to export their XML, and the internal Alteryx development team has to build another workflow that reads the XML accordingly + parses it to fit what is needed. 


It would be better for Alteryx to build something more robust, and perhaps even include some elements of AiDIN which they are promoting now.

Many users will probably follow best practice style guides with Alteryx to use comment boxes under tools to describe in detail what is happening with these tools - such as this one shared by @BenMoss.


However a limitation of this is the comment boxes do not move with the tools, so if you have a well documented workflow but then need to add a new tool, you need to adjust all the spacing and re-align the tools, which with a large workflow can be time consuming. 


Alteryx Community Idea.gif


Therefore the improvement would be to have an ability to lock comment boxes to individual tools (similar to a group function in Office).



Add to the feature where you can open a workflow to show how to use a tool.  Allow a user (and share this within an organization) to add a tool template workflow to a tool so one can open the template workflow and then copy the tools in the template into the workflow being worked on.  There are instances where we use the same tool combinations like for dynamic file naming and output.



While I was trying to integrate Alteryx workflows into modern data catalogues got me thinking about the transformation lineage. To integrate the transformations into those applications, an understanding of what transformations are happening and in what order is needed. Why not take this one step further for documentation use?


So my suggestion is:

Create a natural language description of the transformations and sequencing of a workflow. This could be used as the default descriptions and exported as a readme file for reviewing (e.g. during workflow handover activities), adding workflows to version control or project plans. 

This idea has arisen from a conversation with a colleague @Carlithian where we were trying to work out a way to remove tools from the canvas which might be redundant, for example have you added a select tool to the canvas which hasn't been configured to change a data type or rename a field. So we were looking for ways of identifying in the workflow xml for tools which didn't have a configuration applied to them.


This highlighted to me an issue with something like the data cleanse tool, which is a standard macro.


The xml view of the data cleanse configuration looks like this:

  <Value name="Check Box (135)">False</Value>
  <Value name="Check Box (136)">False</Value>
  <Value name="List Box (11)">""</Value>
  <Value name="Check Box (84)">False</Value>
  <Value name="Check Box (117)">False</Value>
  <Value name="Check Box (15)">False</Value>
  <Value name="Check Box (109)">False</Value>
  <Value name="Check Box (122)">False</Value>
  <Value name="Check Box (53)">False</Value>
  <Value name="Check Box (58)">False</Value>
  <Value name="Check Box (70)">False</Value>
  <Value name="Check Box (77)">False</Value>
  <Value name="Drop Down (81)">upper</Value>


As it is a macro, the default labelling of the drop downs is specified in the xml, if you were to do something useful with it wouldn't it be much nicer if the interface tools were named properly - such as:


So when you look at the xml of the workflow it's clearer to the user what is actually specified.





Please add official support for newer versions of Microsoft SQL Server and the related drivers.


According to the data sources article for Microsoft SQL Server (https://help.alteryx.com/current/DataSources/SQLServer.htm), and validation via a support ticket, only the following products have been tested and validated with Alteryx Designer/Server:


Microsoft SQL Server

Validated On: 2008, 2012, 2014, and 2016.

  • No R versions are mentioned (2008 R2, for instance)
  • SQL Server 2017, which was released in October of 2017, is notably missing from the list.
  • SQL Server 2019, while fairly new (~6 months old), is also missing

This is one of the most popular data sources, and the lack of support for newer versions (especially a 2+ year old product like Sql Server 2017) is hard to fathom.


ODBC Driver for SQL Server/SQL Server Native Client

Validated on ODBC Driver: 11, 13, 13.1

Validated on SQL Server Native Client: 10,11

I was just responding to a post about the Make Columns tool, and I noticed that there is not an example workflow for this tool built into Designer. It is also missing from the Transform category, so I never think of it.







@peyton-louden @binuacs @Luke_C 

At the moment containers either expand and overlap other tools, or you have to leave space for them (defeating the original purpose of using them). Is there a way we can have the containers expansion shift the workflow so the others tools shift down / right to account for this expanision?

  • Documentation

Hi there,


the Snowflake documentation only refers to connection strings which use a DSN such as this page Snowflake | Alteryx Help which refers to the connection string as odbc:DSN=Simba_Snowflake_JWT;UID=user;PRIV_KEY_FILE=G:\AlteryxDataConnectorsTeam\OAuth project\PEMkey\rsa_key.p8;PRIV_KEY_FILE_PWD=__EncPwd1__;JWT_TIMEOUT=120


However - for canvasses which need to be productionized on Alteryx Server - it is critical to use dsn-less connection strings so that the canvasses can be deployed and run on any worker node without having to set up DSNs on every worker node.


A DSN-less connection string looks like this: 



Please could you consider making an update to the help texts to provide and describe a DSN-free connection string as well as the DSN driven connections?


Many thanks


When using the output data tool, it would save me and my cluttered organizational skills a lot of effort if the writing workflow was saved as part of the yxdb metadata. 

I've often had to search to find a workflow which created the yxdb. I tend to use naming conventions to help me,  but it would be easier if the file and or path was easily found. 




Taking inspiration how you work with Jupyter notebooks and use the notebook to show your workings,  wouldn't it be great if you could document your workflows directly on the canvas more in a notebook style.

I think this essentially can be summarised down into two features:

1) Markdown functionality in the comment tool

2) Ability to import results from IRG and  / or browse tool directly into the canvas.


I have mocked up a version of what this could look like in the screenshot below.



Overall I think it would improve the experience of documenting workflows as you can show your workings in-line while building the workflow. Plus it solves the debate around team vertical vs team horizontal as you build using both! 


Often as I am scraping web sites, some clever developer has put an invisible character (ASCII or Unicode) in the data which causes terrible trouble.

I've identified 89 instances of zero-width or non-zero-width glyphs that are not visible and/or Alteryx does not classify as whitespace. There are probably more, but Unicode is big y'all.

Unfortunately, the Trim() string function only removes 4 of these characters (Tab, Newline, Carriage Feed, and Space).
REGEX_REPLACE with the \s option (which is what the Cleanse macro uses) is a little better but still only removes 20. And it removes all instances, not just leading and trailing.

I've attached a workflow which proves this issue.

@apolly: this is what I mentioned at GKO.

And I did see this post (https://community.alteryx.com/t5/Alteryx-Designer-Discussions/Elegantly-remove-all-ASCII-characters-...), but it's too brute force. Especially as Alteryx is localized and more users need those Unicode characters.

As I previously mentioned here, I think that CReW (Alteryx) Runner could hugely benefit from additional enhancements and documentation that would be made for it, especially by adapting certain functionalities found in AlteryxEngineCmd.exe to AlteryxRunner.exe.




As you might have already noticed while using the Alteryx Runner (also documented in this page), the AlteryxRunner.exe executable that is being used by Alteryx Runner does not produce the log file in UTF-16 (default Alteryx log output encoding) or UTF-8 encoding.


Therefore, if there exists a tool in your workflow that could produce a message that includes characters that are not supported by the limited Latin code pages (not including Extended Latin) or only supported by UTF-8 / UTF-16 code pages (same applies to workflow/analytic app name, input file names, output file names and directory names), you will notice that the output log is cut off exactly at that character, even if you use an installer such as this, which modifies the input read options of the Read Results section in the Run Command tool in the macro to read the log file produced by the AlteryxRunner.exe in a UTF-8 encoding.


This limits the way in which users can name their files, directories and workflow names, produce custom messages, or render the Runner tool unusable in certain languages.


As the output encoding settings are directly stored in the AlteryxRunner executable, this is unfortunately not an option that can be changed by the end user and requires direct modification to the AlteryxRunner.exe executable file directly from Alteryx development team.


While not being sure if AlteryxRunner.exe is capable of executing workflows or analytic apps that contain characters in their names or their directory names only supported by Extended Latin / UTF-8 / UTF-16 code pages, I would expect that support to be also added in case it's not already there.


Parameters (Command Line Arguments)

- While trying to find if AlteryxRunner.exe supports any command line arguments, I noticed that it is not possible to run an analytic app with custom values (or even if there is, there's no documentation for it, something I have written about below) via AlteryxRunner.exe, so it would be great to be able to run a YXWZ file with custom values (either using an XML file generated while the workflow is running or a "raw xml data stream with no quotation marks or line feeds" provided in the Runner tool as a new option (a text box for XML File Full Path and another one for Raw XML Data Stream toggled by two radio buttons in a check box group named This workflow is an analytic app) added to the interface of the Runner tool in addition to the workflow full path, already included as a text box interface tool). This would save the users from having to generate an analytic app from a template analytic app (at least in some cases where no advanced modifications to the workflow XML would be necessary) just to be able to change the app values stored in the app.


As already specified in the Encoding section above, I would also expect (at least) the XML file (even if not Raw XML Data Stream) to be able to be read in using UTF-8 encoding.


- I think that users should also be able to specify whether to run a workflow or analytic app using E1 or AMP (overriding the workflow settings), just like in the executable AlteryxEngineCmd.exe. In addition to this, if the AMP flag is passed, there should also be an option (or a 3rd option in addition to E1 and AMP) to pass an Engine Compatibility Mode flag.


- As a final addition, I believe it should also be possible to optionally specify the Memory Limit if desired using an additional flag.


I also think that the two last features should also be added to AlteryxEngineCmd.exe, which could benefit from additional enhancements including but not limited to these suggested in this idea post.




As you might have noticed while reading the two documentations Run Workflows by Command Line and Runner Tool, while there is an advanced documentation on the use of AlteryxEngineCmd.exe, only the use of the Runner Tool itself is documented and not AlteryxRunner.exe. Some of the enhancement requests here are directly a result of this situation (these features could already exist in AlteryxRunner.exe but we would not be aware of it if these were not documented). While such a documentation would not be needed by the Alteryx Designer users (as those arguments could be passed by the choices users make in the macro interface), it might help better understand the capabilities of the executable that makes it possible for a macro such as Alteryx Runner to exist in the first place.

Dear Alteryx GUI Gang,


I'll create a container and then customize the colours, margins, transparency, border and then want consistency for other containers.  It would be nice to have a format painter function (brush) to apply the format of one container to another.  This of course could be extended to other tools like comments.  There might be a desire to apply this to more tools too, but the comments and containers would be my focus as they are almost always custom configured.





It would be useful to have the WorkflowName captured as one of the default Engine constants. The WorkflowDirectory is included so why not the WorkflowName as well?


I often have to use configuration files to pass in values to workflows meaning the workflow name needs to be manually entered into the workflow, either as a text input or User Constant, which feels like an unnecessary step as Alteryx must know the name of the workflow once it has been saved.

  • Documentation

Working with larger and larger workflows becomes difficult to navigate. I have been using the Right Click on Blank Canvas>Zoom to container recently, but the order in which the containers show doesn't seem to be intuitive. (Not by tool ID, rather the order they are in the XML.)


This has been asked in the past but I couldn't find an idea post: https://community.alteryx.com/t5/Alteryx-Designer-Discussions/Can-I-set-the-order-in-which-container...


It would be useful to have the ability to change the list to be in alphabetical or tool ID order please.




It would be extremely useful to quickly find which of my many workflows feed other workflows or reports.


A quick and easy way to do this would be to export the dependencies of a list of workflows in a spreadsheet format. That way users could create their own mapping by linking outputs of one workflow, to inputs of another.


Looking at the simple example below, the Customers workflow would feed the Market workflow.


CustomersSQL Table 1Input
CustomersSQL Table 2Input
CustomersExcel File 1Input
CustomersExcel File 2Input
CustomersExcel File 3Output
MarketExcel File 3Input
MarketSQL Table 3Output


It would be CRAZY AWESOME if we could get a report like this for all scheduled workflows in the scheduler. 

Inspire 2021 Call Center Demo.png


Having the ability to call-out via ARROWS/SYMBOLS (gold star) would be nice without requiring the user to create images and call them to the canvas.  This makes the workflow even more readable.


Watermarks (e.g. DRAFT, AMP, Do NOT AMP, FINAL) would be useful on the canvas as well.  





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