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Fixing Data Type


Hi everyone,


I'm using Alteryx version in my company. It is my second week working with Alteryx so excuse me if I missed any obvious solution to my problem.


I receive 4 kind of input excel files (slight differences); I need to ingest one file at a time and do various transformations and produce an output file. The output file will always have fixed columns, the transformations will vary because input varies. At no time will I ingest all 4 files together. My end objective is to just have one workflow and keep changing the input to point to one file at a time; I'll write logic within the workflow to make different transformations depending upon input file (I'll read the file name as a column and either write IF conditions or will use filters - haven't gotten that far yet).


I created a master list of columns that will be needed for all transformations (around 200); I have gotten so far as to get 200 columns with all the input files (selected one at a time).


Now, I know the data types of each of these (i.e. I want the data types to be fixed). I used 'auto field' + 'select tool' and also only 'select' tool to define the data types of these columns but each time I change the input file, the data types change.



1.  Is there a way I can pass the data types of these columns from say an external excel file (column name, data type) into alteryx and overwrite data types that exist.

2.  If I can't pass the data types from an external file - is there a way to achieve this using existing tools/objects in Alteryx.

3.  I think this can be achieved using R script - haven't tried that yet but I read somewhere that R scripts can be called from within Alteryx workflow. Sub questions:

        3.1 Can I define data types in R and bring those into Alteryx

        3.2 Is admin access required to install R tools for alteryx? I already have R installed on office machine, independent installation (version 3.4.0)



I can't upload any file (excel / Alteryx) from within my office network and I don't have access to office files from my home. I don't have Alteryx on my personal computer else i could have tried to generate some random test data and the workflow file.


Any help or direction is appreciated. 


Thanks in advance!!

Alteryx Certified Partner
Alteryx Certified Partner
Did you know that you can save and load select tool configurations?

You can.

Alteryx ACE & Top Community Contributor

Chaos reigns within. Repent, reflect and reboot. Order shall return.

To go with the excellent suggestion above from Mark, you can also 'Force' data-types in the select tool. So, if the data-type is String for instance and you want to make sure that it stays String, you can set it to 'String: Forced'.