Alteryx Designer Ideas

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Featured Ideas

We have discussed on several occasions and in different forums, about the importance of having or providing Alteryx with order of execution control, conditional executions, design patterns and even orchestration.

I presented this idea some time ago, but someone asked me if it was posted, and since it was not, I’m putting it here so you can give some feedback on it.


The basic concept behind this idea is to allow us (users) to have:

  • Design Patterns
    • Repetitive patterns to be reusable.
    • Select after and Input tool
    • Drop Nulls
    • Get not matching records from join
  • Conditional execution
    • Tell Alteryx to execute some logic if something happens.
    • Record count
    • Errors
    • Any other condition
  • Order of execution
    • Need to tell Alteryx what to run first, what to run next, and so on…
    • Run this first
    • Execute this portion after previous finished
    • Wait until “X” finishes to execute “Y”
  • Orchestration
    • Putting all together

This approach involves some functionalities that are already within the product (like exploiting Filtering logic, loading & saving, caching, blocking among others), exposed within a Tool Container with enhanced attributes, like this example:




The approach is to extend Tool Container’s attributes.

This proposition uses actual functionalities we already have in Designer.

So, basically, the Tool Container gets ‘superpowers’, with the addition of some capabilities like: Accepting input data, saving the contents within the container (to create a design pattern, or very commonly used sequence of tools chained together), output data, run the contents of the tools included in the container, etc.), plus a configuration screen like:




  1. Refers to the actual interface of the Tool Container.
  2. Provides the ability to disable a Container (and all tools within) once it runs.
    • Idea based on actual behavior: When we enable or disable a Tool Container from an interface Tool.
  3. Input and output data to the container’s logic, will allow to pickup and/or save files from a particular container, to be used in later containers or persist data as a partial result from the entire workflow’s logic (for example updating a dimensions table)
    • Based on actual behavior: Input & Output Data, Cache, Run Command Tools, and some macros like Prepare Attachment.
  4. Order of Execution: Can be Absolute or Relative. In case of Absolute run, we take the containers in order, executing their contents. If Relative, we have the options to configure which container should run before and after, block until previous container finishes or wait until this container finishes prior to execute next container in list.
    • Based on actual behavior: Block until done, Cache, Find Replace, some interface Designer capabilities (for chained apps for example), macros’ basic behaviors.
  5. Conditional Execution: In order to be able to conditionally execute other containers, conditions must be evaluated. In this case, the idea is to evaluate conditions within the data, interface tools or Error/Warnings occurrence.
    • Based on actual behavior: Filter tool, some Interface Tools, test Tool, Cache, Select.
  6. Notes: Documentation text that will appear automatically inside the container, with options to place it on top or below the tools, or hide it.


This should end a brief introduction to the idea, but taking it a little further, it will allow even to have something like an Orchestration layout, where the users can drag and drop containers or patterns and orchestrate them in a solution, like we can do with the Visual Layout Tool or the Interactive Chart tool:

Alteryx Choreographer.png


I'm looking forward to hear what you think.


Most of the time I use containers to help structure and layout my workflow, as well as then enabling or disabling different parts of it. It would be nice however to still see the tools within a disabled container but have the container greyed out or hashed out?


Enabled Tool Container

Screenshot 2020-11-19 184832.png


Disabled Tool Container

Screenshot 2020-11-19 184832EDIT.png




Sam 🙂

When configuring a FILTER tool, the results of your formula are uncertain until you RUN/PLAY the workflow.  Compare that experience with the configuration of a FORMULA tool where you see a "Data Preview" of the first record results.




TRUE or FALSE could readily be added to the Filter Tool and save the execution time for the workflow.  


When you get to HTML tool versions, you could check many rows of data and potentially give back counts of TRUE and FALSE results as well.


I'll put this on my x-mas list and see if Santa has me on the naughty or nice list.





When using the text mining tools, I have found that the behaviour of using a template only applies to documents with the same page number.


So in my use case I've got a PDF file with 100+ claim statements which are all laid out the same (one page per statement). When setting up the template I used one page to set the annotations, and then input this into the T anchor of the Image to Text tool. Into the D anchor of this tool is my PDF document with 100+ pages. However when examining the output I only get results for page 1.


On examining the JSON for the template I can see that there is reference to the template page number:



And playing around with a generate rows tool and formula to replace the page number with pages 1 - 100 in the JSON doesn't work. I then discovered that if I change the page number on the image input side then I get the desired results. 



However an improvement to the tool, as I suspect this is a common use case for the image to text tool, is to add an option in the configuration of the image to text tool to apply the same template to all pages.








When creating annotations in the new image template tool as part of intelligence suite, a feature improvement would be the ability to modify the annotation, to change the dimensions of it.


Currently the only option is to cancel and redraw but being able to edit and drag the existing annotation would be a great addition. This is because the sizing and position of the annotation is important in the OCR process, and when there are many annotations on a page a user is likely to only need to make minor adjustments instead of deleting and redrawing. A mock up is below.


Untitled drawing (12).png

In the new Intelligence Suite tools the PDF Image Template tool allows a user to select portions of the document to be OCRed downstream by the Image to Text tool, however there is no way to currently zoom in and out of the document to draw the annotations, the only way I have found is to stretch the configuration window and the PDF width will autoscale, but doing so will lose the annotations.


PDF improvements1.gif


So the request is to have zoom in/out and pan options within the configuration pane to improve the UX.



I love using containers, but depending on how I am moving around the workflows or trackpad (when traveling) I find it hard to navigate quickly getting a container on the canvas between either add a container from the tool palette or having to highlight the tools and right-click for menu navigation to add the container. This ranks up there with the hotkeys for aligning the tools which make for quick work of making the workflow look organized and presentable. 

When viewing results of a workflow that has Errors, could we add External error resolution data if the user clicks on the error message?  Like browse everywhere it could lookup the error in help and in community posts.  




Currently, if you download and Alteryx package from an alternative version it doesn't allow import into a newer version.



Workflows allow this with a warning it would be good to allow it on packages too. 

Dear Users, Fans, Compatriots, and Fellow Alteryx Nerds:

One of my favourite parts of using Alteryx is that in all the in-memory tools, there is a quick-and-dirty count in each of your tools' output nodes. You know, you use these all the time and when you switch back into SQL, you get frustrated with having to run the query two or three times just to see the count in each of your join outputs. 

One thing I'm missing as an INDB user is that I have to employ a manual workaround to see what is happening. INDB tools are a bit black-box in that we don't see the counts.

All I want...All I want...



I've been using this workaround for a little over a year now and I haven't found it to be incredibly taxing on my resources, so I'm wondering if Alteryx may be able to look into doing this on the back end to make the INDB experience that much closer to the in-memory experience. I just want those numbers above; I don't need to know the byte count, just the record count.

What I need to do to get itWhat I need to do to get it


Now, I imagine this is not implemented already for a Very Good Reason. But, enough is enough! Let's shoot for the moon and make this tool all that much better!! Anyone with me?


-Cedric Justice

Cambia Healthcare


Currently in 2020.2 (but I assume all versions), when you have a workflow running and click on the Tool Name/ID (1 - in the picture below) in the results window it is then not possible to click on the canvas OR get back to the messages for the full workflow as it is then locked to that tool.


The idea is that it should be possible to get back to all of the workflow messages if you click on a tool name in the results window whilst the workflow is running.


However, a neat little tip that I found is if you click on the input, output or browse hyperlink (2 in the picture below), it will open a pop-out browse rather than show the data in the results window, meaning you can still see all of the messages)




This leads me to think that it could and should be possible to see browse anywhere data whilst the workflow is running if this is fixed. Here's a separate idea for that. 




I didn't find this mentioned before, but apologies if it has. I and a few clients have found that the Download tool 'Query String/Body' is quite difficult to use from a UX perspective. If you have a long query (or anything over 3 short rows in fact), it's almost impossible to navigate to the part you want with ease, as you're required to highlight and move the cursor manually or use up and down arrows, still only ever seeing a few lines of the query. 


My suggestion(s) would be to:

1: include a scroll bar as a minimum

and ideally in addition, either:

2a: give the box itself more real estate (fixed) in the Payload tab, or

2b: allow the user to resize this box in the tool config (probably more complicated?) 


Specific problem below, including my (terrible!) drawings on it:





I appreciate there are other methods, including taking the query from a field etc., but for many users - particularly newer ones - it's preferred to copy a query into this String/Body and edit as needed, but right now this is an almost unmanageable approach.





I've recently been playing with the 'Encrypt Workflow' capability within the platform, and it's great, apart from the fact that it is not possible to edit an encrypted asset, meaning users will have to store an unecrypted version of the file.


It would be great if the 'Serial Numbers' could be extended to allow certain users to be able to not only run the workflow but also edit the workflow. 


Pretty simple one, but one that would be hugely valuable, preventing the need to maintain an unecrypted version of the workflow on your machine.



So I discovered this neat little tip today where if you have a browse tool in your workflow and click on the hyperlink (2 in the picture below) whilst the workflow is running, it will open a pop-out browse rather than show the data in the results window, meaning you can still see all of the messages). However, If you click on the Tool name/ID (1 in the image) is locks the results window to that tool. Idea for a fix here





And this lead me to think that Alteryx must be populating the temporary browse anywhere in memory as it's running, so it would be great if it was possible to either click on the tool anchors or the tool names in the results window whilst the workflow is running to see the browse anywhere data.



As @Jonathan-Sherman pointed out in his blog post we love that the toolbar is back in version 2020.2!


One way that this toolbar could be enhanced, however, is to allow the use of the save button while a workflow is running. The user can still click File->Save while the workflow is running, but it would be quicker to be able to use the button on the toolbar.




If you open a workflow in Designer from the Gallery, make some changes, and then attempt to save it back to Gallery (i.e., Ctrl-S), you receive the Save Workflow dialog (as per attached).  However, if you then realize that you want to make an additional change before saving the workflow and click 'Cancel', the workflow closes without saving.  The expected behavior would be for the Save Workflow dialog to close, but not the entire workbook.  This is terrible functionality and should be fixed because it results in lost work.  Thank you



In the Result window, user can expand the Column Width but not the Row Height, and cannot Wrap the text.


It's a kind of necessary user friendly feature to view the entire text easily.


Sometimes, if text is too large in each field, then expanding the column width for all the fields and scrolling left/right is really annoying.

I know we have the capability to copy a Tool, and paste it into a Connection. This step requires having to right click on the connection to select the option Paste In Connection. I don't know how many times I've tried to copy tool, click on connection, and do Ctrl + V to paste just remember that it does work that way. It sure would be nice if it did.

When developing workflows, it would be great if there was a feature to be able to disable multiple containers at once, rather than having to click on each one individually, for example through selecting all of the required containers and right clicking "disable selected containers".


In the meantime, a workaround is to copy the portion of the workflow being developed onto a new canvas.

Often I am developing a workflow and need to output to a specific network folder location on our company's shared drive. As part of our business requirements, I have the full filepath available to me as I develop.


It would be nice if, when I go to configure the Output Data tool and select a file that will be saved at a folder location, if I were able to simply paste the file path in the "address"/quick access bar (much the same way you can do so in Windows File Explorer. Currently, you cannot do this and have to navigate to the file manually if you are using the save dialogue.


I realize that you can paste the file path to the "Write to File or database" prompt within the Output Tool configuration window. However, this does not allow you the ability to explore the file location simultaneously and ensure that you are dropping the file exactly where you want to. Updating the save dialogue experience itself would help the versatility of the user experience when looking to navigate and identify the folder location desired (or even create a new subfolder or something similar)

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