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Alteryx Designer Discussions

Find answers, ask questions, and share expertise about Alteryx Designer and Intelligence Suite.

Difference between Directory + DYNAMIC INPUT vs INPUT only

7 - Meteor

When we add a wildcard to the path, using the regular INPUT can import multiple files into a single table. So, what's the difference between that versus using a DIRECTORY + DYNAMIC INPUT then?

20 - Arcturus
20 - Arcturus

One difference is that the wildcard expects the same fields in all files. Just a thought. 

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Alteryx Alumni (Retired)

I'd say that while they are similar and can sometimes be used for the same task they serve different purposes.


The Directory + Dynamic Input tool combo is more likely to be a Directory + Filter + Dynamic Input combination or a Directory + Sort + Sample + Dynamic Input combo. A common use case is where a folder has many data files with the same schema and you want to read in just the most recent data file. You can sort by Date Modified and then Sample to get the first record to get the most recent file which you then read with the Dynamic Input. If you wanted all files created after a certain date you could use the Filter Tool to handle that.


The Input Data tool with wildcards is just for reading in many files with the same schema. It's simpler and it has the advantage of working with more file types - I don't believe you can read in xlsx files for example with the Directory + Dynamic Input tool combo (without having to add a formula tool - thanks Rod!)

Alteryx Alumni (Retired)

Actually you can read in XLSX files with the Directory + Dynamic Input (assuming that the Sheet name is the same...although there is probably a way around that as well).

The way I do it is to add a Formula after the Directory and modify the Full Path with [FullPath] + '|SheetName$' and use the Full Path as the field for the action in the Dynamic Input tool.

7 - Meteor

Thank you all for the advice, very helpful.


In my case, I am dealing with monthly xlsx files of similar schema (luckily), so for a quick start, using the regular INPUT with the wildcare *.xlsx did the job. RobertBI's & Rod's combo are great, I will try that out so my workflow is more dynamic to deal with such monthly data input.