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Alteryx Designer Knowledge Base

Definitive answers from Designer experts.
Fact: workflows are the best. Look it up. They’re all about getting things done and, with hundreds of tools and the ability to integrate external processes , there’s no shortage of things you can get done. We know that there are some areas of analytics that require a little extra firepower, however, and that’s why you can leverage your workflows in apps and macros for added functionality.
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Question Have you ever wanted your own help page for your custom macros or applications? Answer If you create your own macros or applications and send them to other who aren’t as familiar with your project, or if you just need a refresher from time to time, you may try and access the help menu only to be greeted by the general Alteryx macros/apps pages:   Macro Workflows Page Analytics App Workflows Page   You can actually create your own help pages/files that can be accessed how you would normally access the Alteryx Help Menu for any "out of the box" tool that comes with the Designer.   Using your favorite text editor (Microsoft Word, for example), you can create your help file with any instructions or graphics that you feel would be helpful to the end users who may need to access a help file. Once you are done, you can save this in any file format that your (or your users') machine is able to open, as well as any location those users would be able to access (a network drive for example).   In your application or macro’s Interface Designer Properties, there is an option to add the path of a file or hyperlink to your newly created help file.     For an example I created the following help file as a .docx, .pdf, and .htm file type. Each other these files open in their respective default programs.   Word:   PDF:   HTM:
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In a previous article we’ve shown how the list of selections in the List Box tool can be dynamically generated from: the column names from an input file the values in one of the columns of the input file the values in one of the columns of a user-selected input file (target field must be in both original and new file)   In this second article, we’ll see how to let the user select both a file and a field within this file to create the values in the List Box. The file that the user selects doesn’t need to have the same columns as the one you used when building the App.   Show the selection options from one of the columns of a user-selected input file and field   In this example we will use the techniques we’ve explained in the first article including, reading field names from input, creating value list and using chained Analytic Apps to show the second screen with the list of values for selection. Again, make sure you save these workflows as Analytical Apps.   The first workflow uses what was done in the previous article but relies on the fact that Alteryx yxwz files are XML files containing the configurations of the tools of the workflow. To load the user-selected values into the second List Box, we will manually update the XML of the second workflow to change the List Box configuration. The List Box tool, when set to Manually set values, expects a Name:Value pair and therefore we are using the Multi-Field Formula tool to create these pairs and change the field size to make sure it fits the extended text. We then use the Summarize tool to concatenate all of the separate values into a single field with new-line (\n) as separator.   Now that we have our List Box Values ready it’s time to load them into the second workflow. For this to work, we should have already built the second workflow, ProcessWorkflow.yxwz and setup the List Box tool List Values to Manually set values with the value set to _xxxx_:xxxx.     Back to our first workflow, we start by reading in the second workflow we just created. To be able to read it into Alteryx, we set the Input Data tool to read the file as CSV with \0 as the delimiter (no delimiter) and with first row contains field names.     We then use the Summarize tool to concatenate the rows into a single row and make sure you name the field <?xml version="1.0"?> (this will be the first line in our output file).       We bring in the list of values we created in the first part of the workflow and append it to this data stream using the Append Fields tool and then use the formula tool to find the _xxxx_:xxxx text and replace with the correct values. We deselect all fields except the <?xml version="1.0"?> using the Select tool and write the output to a new file ProcessWorkflow2.yxwz using csv as format and \0 as delimiter.     The last step in this workflow is to set the new workflow we just wrote-out to start when the first one finishes execution. This is done by naming the second workflow in the Interface Designer (Alt-Ctrl-d) under Properties: "On Success – Run Another Analytic App". Also the "On Success - Show Results to User" should be deselected.     You can find the workflow used in the article attached to this post. It was built in Alteryx Designer 10.6 (10.6.6.17413).   Special thanks to @patrick_digan for testing and suggesting improvement to the example workflow.   Happy App-Building!
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This article is part of the CS Macro Development Series. The goal of this series is to communicate tips, tricks, and the thought process that goes into developing good, dynamic macros. If you’ve ever built an analytical app and used the Interface Designer (View >> Interface Designer), you’ve probably spent some time in the Test View: This menu provides a great runtime view of the interface as you’re adding and configuring tools and also allows you to interact with them, much like you would when selecting “Run As An Analytical App” in your Designer. You can clear (Reset), save (Save – as an .yxwv analytical app value file), reopen (Open – search for your .yxwv files) and investigate the xml capture of your test values (View – these will initialize to your specified defaults) in here, but the real value is in using the “Open Debug” button to open your app debug workflow: This will create a new module with the workflow that would result from executing all the actions of your interface tools (individual values, tools, even xml, can be updated). You can also see these values, along with an actions log, in a comment box preceding the tools themselves. The workflow will even show you errors if your interface tools created any after updates! This comes in handy as you’re updating detours, opening/closing tool containers, and performing complex updates to your workflows via interface tools because it gives you a snapshot into what, exactly, is happening with each set of Test View values and, in effect, at runtime. For example, in the screen capture of the Test View above, we have the default app (attached as v10.5 App Debugger.yxwz) values. When opening the debug workflow (attached as v10.5 Debug Workflow Default Values.yxmd), we can see the result of them in that our row value is still “Test” and our detour defaults to the right: However, if you update the values in the Test View and reopen the debug workflow with the values below: You’ll see in the new workflow (attached as v10.5 Debug Workflow New Values.yxmd), that our row value is now updated to “DebugTest” and our detour no longer goes to the right:   The above is a simple example of the power of the tool, but using it more often in your troubleshooting will help pinpoint where your errors or conflicts are arising, freeing more time for you to build out more apps!
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This article is part of the CS Macro Development Series. The goal of this series is to communicate tips, tricks, and the thought process that goes into developing good, dynamic macros. The Detour Tool and its counterpart, the Detour End Tool, are tools that come in handy in building out custom Analytical Apps and Macro workflows when you want to “turn on” or “turn off” entire sections of the workflows based on a user input. While handy, there is an alternative to the approach in using Tool Containers to encapsulate the sections that you’d like to turn on/off and using a Radio Button (or other Interface Tools) and action to “Enable/Disable Container from Condition.” There are other action types that are also useful if you’d like to implement more logic to the enable/disable approach. As long as you conjoin the outputs of each Tool Container to a Union Tool none of your data streams require records to be output, successfully completing your bypass!   Attached is a short v10.5 example of the approach, using Radio Buttons, and the “Update Value with Formula” action to update the “Disabled” attribute of Tool Containers:
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This article is part of the CS Macro Development Series. The goal of this series is to communicate tips, tricks, and the thought process that goes into developing good, dynamic macros.   Implementing APIs into macros isn’t a difficult process, you only need to first understand macros and how they’ll interact with your API requests. In short, a macro gives you the ability to encapsulate just about any repeatable process in an Alteryx workflow as a tool. Understanding that, you only need to identify what in your API request will need to change with each row the process/request is being repeated for, and how to update this request dynamically. With each row of your input data stream, expect to be able to use fields to reference what individual values will be – doing so in a formula tool will build out parts of the request that change with each record. If instead you need to update an argument of the request just once for all your records, try using an interface tool and a place-holding value. Need to update parts of a request for only certain records? You can use formula logic or the batch macro’s control parameter approach.   Consider the Google Maps Geocoding API request format below:   If we were to send a request to their API to geocode a single address (specifying an xml output), this would look like: https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/geocode/xml?address=1600+Amphitheatre+Parkway,+Mountain+View,+CA&key=YOUR_API_KEY To update this dynamically, within a macro, we need only to map our input fields to their appropriate places in the request, emulating the rest of the request syntax with formula logic: "https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/geocode/xml?"+"address="+replace([Address]," ","+")+"+"+[City]+"+"+[State]+"+"+[Zip]+"&key="+"X" (the replace function exchanges spaces for + characters, the remainder of the + characters are added as literal strings to mirror the format above) Then only updating our key remains before passing this to a Download Tool, and this will be the same for all our input rows:           The v10.5 example above is attached for reference. It is an adaptation of a more robust Google Maps Geocoder hosted on our gallery.   Please note that in order to use this macro, you must first generate a server key from the Google Developers Console. Each key has a limit of 2,500 free requests per day. Click here for more information on usage limits for the Google Maps API.   This macro demonstrates requests to Google Maps' web service API and is meant as a proof of concept only. It is not intended for production use.
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This is part 2 of my Interface Designer series. Click here for part 1 (Macros and the basics):   This article will focus on the options specific to Analytic Apps. The majority of the Interface Designer options are the same for Apps and Macros including the Layout View, the Test view, and the Tree view.   One feature to point out that is very handy for Analytic Apps is on the Test view window. When testing your App using the debug option, a cool feature is the ability to save the your test values so that you can quickly bring them back later without having to re-enter every time. In the "App Values" section on the right hand side of the Test view you'll see the option to Reset, Save, Open, and View.   Enter in your test values and click Save to save a file locally with the values you're using. The next time you want to test, simply click the Open button and point to the file to save yourself some time.   Properties: The main difference in the Interface Designer between Macros and Apps will be found in the Properties view.  The first difference is the option to have the App run a second app when it completes. This is Chained App where you just specify the name of the 2nd app in that box and it will automatically call it up. This allows you to set up a process to format a file and then run the analysis.   You'll also see an option to have the App return results to the user. This is helpful especially when running Apps on the Gallery so the user can see the results of their runs. When you select the check box for "On Success - Show Results to User" you can then select the output tools (Render and/or Output Data tools for Gallery runs) to return the results to the user so they can save them locally.   You can create custom output and/or no output messages, and upload a graphic to be used in the interface itself (running on the desktop only, won't show in the Gallery).          
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The Interface Designer is an often missed piece of setting up custom Macros.  To enable the Interface Designer go to View - Interface Designer. Note that nothing will show in this window unless your process is saved as a .yxmc or .yxwz (Macro or Analtyic App).    First the basics: The Interface Designer has 4 main views, designated by icons running down the left side of the window:     From the top down the views are: Layout View - shows you the interface the end user will see when setting up the tool in their workflow Test View - Allows you to enter values for your "Questions" to debug potential errors in the macro/app Tree View - If you created macros or apps prior to version 9.0, this will be familiar to you as it is the old way of setting up your questions and actions. Properties - Allows you to set specific characteristics about your macro/app   For this article we are going to focus on the Layout View, Test View, and Properties.   Layout: The layout view is pretty simple. It shows you what the user will see when configuring your macro. From this view, you can also reorder your questions, or create nested groups depending on the interface tools you are using. You can also add tabs and label boxes for a more custom feel.    Use the "Add" drop down to add a label, group box, link, and/or tab to your interface.You can edit the text seen by the user in the standard configuration window.   Group Box - Adds a box so you can nest questions together Label - Adds custom text to the Interface Link - Add a URL to a website or a file with a relative path. Webpage must be a full URL Tab - Adds a tab to the interface. Can split up questions based on section of macro.   Use the arrows on the right hand side to move questions up or down, or between tabs (left and right).   Test: The Test view allows you to enter sample values to test the configuration of your macro. You can enter responses to your questions and then enter the  Debug mode to ensure  your Actions are handling the responses correctly.   When you click Open Debug you'll notice that a new workflow opens with a text comment box at the top. If you scroll down you will see you macro tools but will notice the Interface tools are not there. Click on any tool that an Action is connected to to ensure the value entered in the Test view window has come through properly. If there are any errors, you will see the standard error icon.   Properties: The first option in the Properties view for macros is to change the icon. Each tool in Alteryx has it's own Icon, and the base color/shape correspond to the category the tool fits in. All of these base icons are available in when selecting the Standard Icon option. Use the drop down arrow to expand the window and scroll through available standard options.     You can also set up a custom icon by selecting that radio button. Using the Custom Icon allows you to either create an image outside of Alteryx, or perhaps use a company logo, to represent your macro.   Another common setting used in Macros is how the output records will be formatted. The default setting is expecting every iteration of output having the exact same schema, and Alteryx will throw an error if they are different.    If your schema may change based on the data being fed into the macro, select the check box indicating that, and then choose a method to align the fields: Similar to the Union tool, you can have macro Auto configure the fields by name or position allowing for greater flexibility with your data. These options can be particularly helpful when using the Dynamic Input tool within your macro to open multiple files. These settings should allow the macro to continue opening files regardless of if the schema changes or if field names are slightly different.   The final option in the Properties view is not used nearly as often but allows the user to create a custom Help file or link to be included with the macro.   Note: Screen shots taken from version 10.5.    
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This article will show three scenarios in which the list of selections in the List Box tool can be generated dynamically.
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You’re creating an app that involves dates. You want the user to be able to dynamically select the dates being used in the app, though. The tools you already know may not work. A  Text Box  would be too messy and allow lots of room for error. Pre-defined  Drop Downs  and  List Boxes  aren’t dynamic enough. Ah ha! What about that tool that looks like a calendar? The  Date  tool in the  Interface  category provides the perfect solution!
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You're working on your gazillionth Formula tool and "Jeff" from Quality Assurance sends you an email that the margin of error for your process has been restandardized. It's not 0.122  anymore but 0.121 . Then the horrible reality sets in - you're going to have to go back through all of your formulas and update that one.. stupid.. little.. number .
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The  Radio Button Tool  can be used in a number of ways. This is a simple tool to configure but can be very powerful!
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When developing an Analytic App, you can use .yxwv files to quickly populate your Analytic App with values.  This can be a real time saver when your Analytic App has more than a few questions (or tabs of questions) that need to be answered.
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When setting up manually specified NAME and VALUE parameters in an Alteryx Analytic App there are two options.  When the NAME and VALUE are different, they must be in the format “Name: Value”.  However, if the name and value are the same, you can just type the Name (or Value, they are the same either way).   The Drop Down list would look like this:
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If your Analytic App has a File Browse option, you can limit what file types are shown to the user.  Choose the radio button “Arbitrary File Specification” and enter the file types to be shown. 
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Alteryx users who have purchased the TomTom Alteryx Maps data set have the ability to extract layers into various formats using the Alteryx Street Analytic App. Installs from TomTom 2011 Q3 Alteryx Maps forward, include the Street App within the install.  The App replaces what was previously known as the StreetWare product.  The Alteryx Street App is an extraction tool which allows the user to extract TomTom layers into various file formats such as .tab, .shp, .yxdb to name a few. The App is specific to the data install vintage of TomTom Alteryx Maps Data and is located in the, AlteryxDataProductsAlteryxMapTomTom_US_xxxx_Qx directory.  To run the Street App (TomTom_US_yyyy_Qx.yxwz) you will need to browse to the location above and select it. Under the Geography Selection tab, select the Geographies you would like data for. You may select all, single or multiple Geographies as shown below: Under the Layer Selection tab, you may select the individual layers you would like to install for the Geographies that you selected. The Output Options tab allows you to select the file format you wish to create and the Destination directory you wish to install the data to.  There is also an option to merge the geographies.   One feature of the wizard that was not present in the StreetWare product is the ability to create seamless .tab files.  This feature allows the user the ability to bypass the 2 GB limitation that .tab files have. Please note .shp files also have a 2 GB file size limitation but do not offer the same seamless ability that is incorporate in the extraction of .tab files When .tab file format is selected a folder is created containing the referenced .tab tables, the seamless .tab files are visible below this folder.  As Shown Below:   The seamless .tab files will be opened and viewed in MapInfo as normal.  The individual .tab files that are referenced by the Seamless files can be found in the SeamlessTabFiles folder. We hope our users find that the Street App will be an easy-to-use utility to extract the desired map layers for use in their preferred applications.
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How to make optional fields in an analytic app.
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