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Alteryx Designer Knowledge Base

Definitive answers from Designer experts.

Tool Mastery | Input Data

Community Data Engineer
Community Data Engineer
Created on

Input Data.pngThis article is part of the Tool Mastery Series, a compilation of Knowledge Base contributions to introduce diverse working examples for Designer Tools. Here we’ll delve into uses of the Input Data Tool on our way to mastering the Alteryx Designer:


The Input Data Tool is where it all starts in the Designer. Sure, you can bring in webscraped or API data with the Download Tool (master it here) and our prebuilt Connector Tools, but the tool that makes it a breeze to grab data from your most used file formats and databases is the Input Data Tool. Behold:


  • Input any supported file format with a simple file browse:













Done and done. Once the input file is selected you can preview the incoming dataset in the tool’s configuration menu.


 Be sure to look into saving your database connections as aliases for quicker input later on!



You can also use the Input Data Tool with a wildcard (*) to input multiple files of the same schema from a single directory. Learn how to use the wildcard and input tables of different schemas here.


Looking for more dynamic inputs? We’ve got you covered with the Dynamic Input Tool! Master it here.


Note: If you’re sharing workflows with inputs, be sure to export if the recipient doesn’t have the same input file on their computer already.


By now, you should have expert-level proficiency with the Input Data Tool! If you can think of a use case we left out, feel free to use the comments section below! Consider yourself a Tool Master already? Let us know at if you’d like your creative tool uses to be featured in the Tool Mastery Series.


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I'm trying to use the Pre SQL Statement to limit the importation of data to improve load time.

1) Do you have an example of a Pre SQL Statement?

2) What is the best methodology to limit the importation of data when it's a simple filter? 

Alteryx Partner
Alteryx Partner

Hi @Eric227,


You don’t need to use the preSQL statement to accomplish limiting.  If you look at the first line under the connection drop down box there is a parameter option called “Record Limit” you just need to type in a numerical value and it will limit the record pull for you.  

This article is part Lesson 2 of the "Getting Started with the Alteryx Designer" curriculum.  You can find a link to the curriculum at the bottom of the Academy Overview page here:   If you do the "Connecting to Data" tutorial, you can find the links to the 3 "Read about" items listed for lesson 2.  I'm finding the curriculum very helpful.

Is there any good info about using * and ? in inputs?



While executing an SQL Query through ODBC Connection, i need to filter the date field available in the table dynamically in the critera.

I have tried Date(), CURDATE(), GETDATE(), DATETIMETODAY(), DATETIMENOW() and few other formats to get dynamic date criteria. But not of them seems to work. Since the table has millions of records, it takes time to download and then filter.

Kindly suggest a better way to give the date criterila in the query itself

@Nithyanand, I have to do this as well but am not to the point I can test yet. Sounds like you'd use the Dynamic Input Tool linked near the bottom of the article.



are there limits to the file types? I noticed txt files don't seem to work.

I really wish there was an option to use a SQL file as the source of the SQL for the Database Connection functionality. I've tried using the dynamic input tool for this, but run into issues when my file is too long. The summarize/concat tool ends up truncating the string so it fails.


Great first tool mastery article.

What if I had an Excel file with 5 sheets. The schema is exactly the same with all sheets, they simply represent a different month per sheet. How could I import all of the data at the same time? Would I need 5 separate input tools?

The "Unzip and input .zip files" link says access denied.




Good catch! The article previously linked there was very out of date, so we archived it. I've updated the link to our help documentation about .zip files. Thank you!