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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 Sort Tool on our way to mastering the Alteryx Designer:
Often times in data preparation, the need for order in your records will arise. When that situation occurs, the Sort tool has your back. It’s just that sort of tool. Effortlessly arranging your records – be it alphabetical, numeric, or chronological in order – while not quite a mind-numbingly complex operation, has ample utility. Sorting your records upstream of many tools can even optimize processing time. The fairly simple use cases below are techniques that frequently pop up in the data blending trenches:
Sort Tool, left, helping an analyst take their shots
Enforcing order for consistent Multi Row Formula calculations (attached in the workflow Sort.yxzp)
Listing records in chronological orderfor reporting (attached in the workflow Sort.yxzp)
Using the Summarize Tool’s (master it here) “First” and “Last” actions are only useful when you know which records will be first and last. The easiest way to do that is to apply a quicksort:
Order-based record selection (attached in the workflow Sort.yxzp)
Note: The Sort Tool also has a checkbox option to "Use Dictionary Order" that will sort beyond ASCII string characters. Using this feature will impact the speed of your sorts.
By now, you should have expert-level proficiency with the Sort 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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like your creative tool uses to be featured in the Tool Mastery Series.
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