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This 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 Make Group Tool on our way to mastering the Alteryx Designer:
Did you ever play that party-game called 6-degrees of separation where you have to figure out how you are connected to someone famous in less than 6 relationships (or the movie version – 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon)?
The Make Group Tool’s job is to link together data into clusters where there is a link between them in data formatted as a table.
Using the Make Group ool, we can now prove (with just 1 tool) that all these bones are connected to the Head bone!
So – how is this useful in a practical case?
Discrete IDs in a data-set, grouped into ranges (attached in the v10.0 workflow, MakeGroups.yxmd)
So you’re given as set of IDs - primary keys in a database table, and you need to bring these into your Alteryx canvas. However, there are several hundred thousand IDs, and running these as individual queries will take forever. Rather than run one query for each ID, you want to group these into continuous blocks!
We use a Formula Tool to add a column which is the number immediately after the one provided. We then use the Make Group Tool to find the groupings; and the Summarize Tool to find the largest grouping - which then gives you a substantially smaller number of queries (with a ‘from’ and ‘to’ value on each query).
Imagine you’re in charge of the social event in your company – and you’re trying to figure out if you’ve got disparate islands of people in the company who don’t know each other, or if everyone is connected to each other in some way.
One way to find out is to make a list of who knows who, and then let the Make Group Tool sort out the connectedness question:
You can use the Make Group Tool for a range of other different applications – looking for connectedness in any graph (“graph” being used in the Computer Science sense of a set of points which are connected); assisting to find more fuzzy matches; or checking if there’s a connection between different types of products in various shopping baskets form an online retailer.
The common factor is where you have a from;to column pair, and are trying to find the grouping – the Make Group Tool is for you!
By now, you should have expert-level proficiency with the Make Group 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 email@example.com if you’d like your creative tool uses to be featured in the Tool Mastery Series.
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