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Alteryx Designer Ideas

Share your Designer product ideas - we're listening!

Allow interface file open to prompt for excel sheet

Right now, I have to do a little voodoo to get a user to select a sheet within an excel doc to use as a source.  My use case is that I have an excel file provided by other users in which the relevant data could be in one of many excel sheets, and there isn't a good programmatic way to determine the right sheet.  Thus, I want to prompt my user to select the sheet when running an analytic app.

 

I have to start with a file browse option to prompt the user for the excel:

File Browse Options.JPG

From here, the prompt will only ask for a file:

 

file selection.JPG

 

 

At no point will it prompt for the sheet it wants within the file.  And the action options don't give you the ability to change the sheet (it reads it from the file input after the pipe):

 

action options.JPG

To solve this, I have to create a app that only prompts for the excel sheet and then set it to output the sheet names.  From there, I do a little formula magic to split it into key-value pairs with the value being the entire file path pipe concatenated with the sheet name, save it to a file, then read the file in a second workflow which presents the sheet names in drop downs.  It looks something like this:

 

prompt flow.JPG

 

This all seems unnecessarily complex given Alteryx seems to have already figured this out in designer:

 

sheets.JPG

 

My idea:  Use the same file selector in the "Input Data" tool for the File Browser when setting the File value from an Action.  It would save me from having a separate workflow just to prompt a user for an excel sheet.

 

Thanks!

2 Comments

@CSchrader It may not work in your situation, but can you switch your file browse radio button to the standard database file formats? That option forces your users to select which sheet they want when they select an excel file. You would also want to have the action tool attached to your input tool with the update input data tool option. It may not be applicable in your case for some reason, but I ran into the same problem you were having today. I thought I was being fancy by using the specified file formats as an xlsx, but then I realized that it then wouldn't allow my users to select tab names.

 

Hope it helps!

Alteryx Partner

Thanks @patrick_digan.  That does help some.  My only major concern is that the end user experience for that is a bit wonky because of all the extra fluff in there (ODBC, other databases, etc).  It would be great if it could be streamlined a bit to give the best user experience possible to guide them to the desired input, an excel file and a sheet name.