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Alteryx Designer Knowledge Base

Definitive answers from Designer experts.

Tool Mastery | Sample

Community Data Engineer
Community Data Engineer
Created on

Sample.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 Sample Tool on our way to mastering the Alteryx Designer:


The Sample Tool allows you selectively pass patterns, block excerpts, or samples of your records (or groups of records) in your dataset: the first N, last N, skipping the first N, 1 of every N, random 1 in N chance for each record to pass, and first N%. Using these options can come in the clutch pretty often in data preparation – that’s why you’ll find it in our Favorites Category, and for good reason. While a great tool to sample your data sets, you can also use it for:


  • Flexible parsing (attached in the workflow Sample.yxzp)


Input formats like the above are especially common with transactional data stores.


  • Stripping (often Excel) formatting from input tables (attached in the workflow Sample.yxzp)



See here for a more detailed walkthrough on how to input data that doesn't start in the first row.


  • Quick appending min/max or chronological first/last in date types (attached in the workflow Sample.yxzp)



 This can also be done with groups of records by using the “Grouping Fields” selection in the Sample Tool’s configuration. The technique itself is also possible, and with multiple fields at a time, using the Summarize Tool.  


With use cases like the above, the Sample Tool is easily 1 of every N=1,000,000!


By now, you should have expert-level proficiency with the Sample 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.


Stay tuned with our latest posts every Tool Tuesday by following Alteryx on Twitter! If you want to master all the Designer tools, consider subscribing for email notifications.

Alteryx Partner

Hi @MattD

I think the images in the last workflow are incorrectly represented.

First Image should have been in output browse and the second one in the input browse.

Kindly correct me if I am wrong.



Hi @, I think @anishbhola is right.

Pictures in the workflow 'Quick appending min/max or chronological first/last in date types' have been placed one in the place of the other and vice versa,

as the column 'Max Scale' was created from the maximum value extracted by the Sample tool.



Community Data Engineer
Community Data Engineer

Thanks for pointing that out for us, @anishbhola and @RichoBsJ! The images should be fixed with our last revisions.


Best regards,


Images referenced above are still out of order.

Sr. Community Content Manager
Sr. Community Content Manager

@mikepawlik It looks correct to me. Can you be more specific?

I am referencing the images in the Sample.yxzb workflow. They have not been corrected.

Sr. Community Content Manager
Sr. Community Content Manager

Ah. Better now, @mikepawlik ?

Alteryx Partner

it's allright @NeilR 

When you used one of the tools, is it possible to know with what statistical procedure it was extracted? No matter what tool is used.. Thank you. 



Hi Everyone,


I've just attempted to use the sample tool for returning the last (1) row from an Excel (xlsx) file by selecting the "Last N rows" option and setting N = 1.

Still it does return all the rows in the file. Can anyone tell why it happens, and more importantly how - if at all - can this tool be used to return indeed just the last single row?


Alteryx - Sample tool - 2019-04-10_11-43-53.png

Dear Janos_B,


The tool must work extracting a single record N = 1, maybe you need to use Sort Tool before use Sample. This is the easy way to you obtain the sample.