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Deal gracefully with locked excel files

Currently - if someone has accidentally kept an excel file open on their desktop, Alteryx will fail to load this flow.

 

However, it would make more sense to open this file without read-lock as a dirty-read (equivalent of "Read Uncommtted").

This may require some interaction with Microsoft but would be worth pursuing because it prevents / eliminates an entire category of needless canvas errors.

11 Comments
7 - Meteor

+1Star!

 

As a workaround, we've started using the run command tool and xcopy to duplicate our inputs before running a workflow to avoid these errors.

16 - Nebula
16 - Nebula

it's a good idea @BrianCalvanese - in our server environment we've locked down the use of the run command because of the potential to do damage (either maliciously or deliberately), but this definitely is a way round the file locking issue if you don't have this constraint.

8 - Asteroid

We struggle with this a lot. We use Tableau and Alteryx for different purposes but sometimes use the same source data in an excel file.

 

Tableau works well with opened excel file and even reflects the changes being made on refreshing while alteryx throws an error on re running (refreshing) the workflow.

 

Every time save & close the excel to see if the workflow works is a huge annoyance and energy drainer.. 

 

Alteryx
Alteryx
Status changed to: Partner Dependent

This is a limitation on the Excel side, but we will explore whether or not there are better ways to handle it.

12 - Quasar

 Is there a plan or timeline to work with Microsoft to implement this enhancement?

7 - Meteor

@ARich     Understand the dependency , we get reported  a lot of user  issues due to the locked excel files. A potential fix would be greatly beneficial to our team.

6 - Meteoroid

I confirm the problems with Excel files.
File is closed but there is some latence in Alteryx reading on the file.

Some Excel writing corrupt the Excel File...

Alteryx Certified Partner

We have dealt with this issue in a few admittedly inelegant ways:

  1. Read files using a Python script. Python doesn't care if the file is open or not.
  2. Mark files and parent folders as Read Only. If users need to edit files, they must make copies, edit, then replace and add Read Only again.
16 - Nebula
16 - Nebula

🙂 Hey @seven  - agree with you that there are a few ways round this (and in fact, our recommendation internally is to move away from Excel to CSV which doesn't have this same problem although it does have others).    

 

Given that you've found ways around this through forcing the matter using folder security; or custom Python, would you be a supporter of this kind of capability being brought into the main product to aid those who may not be as technical?

Alteryx Certified Partner

@SeanAdamsI would support these capabilities in the main product for sure. The more Alteryx can take off our plate when dealing with Excel, the better and I totally agree with your original idea. The intention of my reply was to jump in with some solutions until the main product can tackle the problem.