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Alteryx Designer Discussions

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Data Cleanse Tool - Can it be made faster?

ACE Emeritus
ACE Emeritus

Summary:  Improved Data Cleanse tool processing speeds by up to 80% using Detour Tools. 

[edit -- several images didn't show on original post]


As I was reviewing materials to teach an Alteryx course, one of the first pages discussed the cleanse tool.  As many know, the cleanse tool in Alteryx is an Alteryx macro.  It's commonly used and also one of the slower tools especially when working with large datasets.  Next thought:  Could it be made faster with the same results?  (not studying each cleanse formula, only how the flow works)


Let's look at the first couple Action Tools:   The first action tool first tests is to see if Modify Case is checked.. Etc.. 2nd action tool first tests to see if Replace Blanks is checked….


Notice all the data flows through all the multi-field tools.   So, assuming the user did not "choose an item" each multi-field tool processes every record of every checked field flowing through the tool even if it just keeping the same value _CurrentField_






When working with large datasets this becomes very significant and wastes server time, your time.   Thankfully, Alteryx provides a detour tool.   Hook the action tool to the detour tool to divert it around the multi-field tool.  Be sure to close the bypass with a detour end tool.  Depending on the selections they make, it will be equal to or faster than the current cleanse macro structure.  Testing showed up to an 80% improvement depending on the selections made.


Detour ToolsDetour Tools


In Summary, understanding how Alteryx processes the data can provide insights into drastically improving performance of your workflows. 



John Colgan

ACE Emeritus