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Alteryx defaults to using the US/English Standard when it comes to number formats. However, for reporting purposes, it is important to remember that not all countries report their numbers in the same fashion. This article shows a quick and easy way to use Raw PCXML to convert numbers in to the Continental European Standard before outputting a final report. Throughout the workflow building process, numbers will be represented in the US/English Standard of 1,000.00. However, when building an automated report, it is important to remember who the audience will be. In the case of users in countries that use the Continental European Standard, it may best to have Alteryx change the numerical formatting system before outputting the final report. The following example is specific for the Spanish-Spain numbering convention. Process
1. Pass the data through a Table tool to create a Table Report Snippet. 2. Insert a Report Text Tool and format as seen below. The LocaleID is what is specifically driving the formatting change. For more information on other locale ID's check out this article. 3. Complete your layout and use a Render tool to complete your automated report. Please see the attached workflow for an example in practice.
Here at Alteryx we believe in working smart, not hard. Building out reports to highlight business-critical metrics is a pretty smart way to track goals. Customizing those reports to everyone in the department, then distributing them as attachments to individual emails? That sounds like a lot of hard work. Scheduling those reports from a refreshing data source each month so you don’t have to remake or rerun the reports yourself - that’s genius. Logging into your work computer to open up Alteryx, then having to check the scheduled results before having any peace of mind those reports were delivered without a hitch? Hard.
As users of Alteryx become increasingly international, it is important to support the need to prepare, blend and analyze data in a large number of languages. However, many users with data in non-English languages encounter roadblocks at the first step of their data analysis: inputting the data into Alteryx.
This article will demonstrate two ways of bringing double-byte characters (DBCs) into Alteryx. These particular types of characters are associated with languages that have many unique characters or symbols, such as Chinese, Japanese and Korean (CJK). These languages’ graphic characters are stored in two bytes of data rather than just one, which is sufficient for languages like English, French and Spanish (among many others) that can be represented by 256 characters or less. Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages require a fixed width sequence of two bytes for every character, which allows for about 65,000 characters. This need to support such an extensive dataset requires an Alteryx user whose data may be represented by CJK characters to consider certain formatting and preparation steps both before and after inputting data into Alteryx.
Before inputting data into Alteryx, data with CJK characters requires certain encoding and file type considerations. Encoding is the process of converting data from one format into another specific equivalent code that uses letters, symbols and numbers for storage and processing. When using CJK characters, encoding your data in a format that supports double-byte characters is important to accommodate the range of characters in your dataset. Storing the data as Unicode ensures that you do not lose data as you begin your inputting process into Alteryx (Figure 1).
Figure 1: To encode your data from Excel, click “Tools> Web Options” in the bottom right-hand corner of the Save As Window. Then, select “Encoding” from the file tabs. In the Dropdown menu to Save the Document, select “Unicode”, then click “OK”. Make sure that your file name does contain any non-English characters, as that can cause issues the Input tool.
The second pre-input consideration for CJK data is the file extension, or type, with respect to how the data is saved. For example, saving CJK data directly to a Comma Separated Values (CSV) format, especially without encoding, is discouraged. This is because CSV file formats distort characters other than those supported by the American Standard Code for Information Exchange (ASCII) text. In the case of CJK characters, that is likely to be all of your data (Figure 2)! Rather than suffer through the heart-wrenching experience of seeing all your data turned into meaningless question marks, try saving your data as a Unicode text file (.txt) or Excel workbook (.xlsx), both of which are supported by the Alteryx Input Tool (Figure 3). I have found that using CJK characters in these file formats ease the process of inputting data into Alteryx and even reduce some of the steps you may need to perform in your post-input process.
Figure 2: Rats! CJK characters that are saved directly to CSV format without encoding turn into meaningless question marks. WHHHYYYYYY?????
Figure 3: Rather than lose your precious data, save as Unicode Text or an Excel Workbook (encoded as Unicode as a safeguard).
Post- Input Considerations
Because CJK characters are double-byte in size, it is important that their field type is set appropriately to display the data completely. Generally, importing data stored as Unicode text or a Unicode-encoded Excel workbook will be read in as a variable length wide string format (V_WString) to accommodate these wider types of characters (Figure 4). As you can see, forcing the field type to a narrow string format (V_String) leads to data loss. Throughout the data preparation and blending process in Alteryx, you should be sure that fields containing CJK characters have the necessary space requirements to store and transmit the data. The sudden conversion of CJK characters to question marks may indicate that your field type has changed; should this occur, field types can be easily changed using a Select Tool.
Figure 4: The larger size requirements of CJK characters creates the need for using wide string fields (V_WString).
Datasets that contain a mix of Western Latin character sets and CJK characters may require the conversion of text between Code Pages. This may be especially necessary if data has been transferred among many users who have different computer language settings or encoding systems. Figure 5 shows data that has been transferred from a Chinese colleague to an American Alteryx user. Despite bringing the data in as Unicode Text, the data is still unreadable. To convert the data to a useable and meaningful format, Alteryx tools with an Edit Formula Box (or Expression builder), such as the Formula or Multi-Field Formula Tools, contain ConvertFromCodePage and ConvertToCodePage functions. These functions facilitate the conversions between language codes and Unicode. In the below example, the Multi-Field Formula tool is used to overcome coding issues to convert data from the original Chinese code to Unicode using the ConvertFromCodePage function. As a result, the data is displayed in a readable and useable way.
Figure 5: Converting the data from Code Page 20936 (Simplified Chinese GB2312) to Unicode using the ConvertFromCodePage function renders the data readable and useable…Hooray!
And voila! Errr… 这里是! Now your CJK characters are brought into Alteryx beautifully!
Have you had experience with inputting non-English language data with Alteryx? Post any helpful tips or tricks that you’ve used to the Comments section to share with the Alteryx Community.
**Thanks not only to the Alteryx users whose data prep needs have inspired this article, but also to Alteryx’s RodL for his Community post that has provided me with the steps to even know where to begin when troubleshooting data in a variety of languages including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai and Vietnamese.
To get a better understanding of how to properly leverage a machine’s resources to use Alteryx, it can be very helpful to understand how the Alteryx Engine functions. To clear up any haziness surrounding the term “Alteryx Engine”, this article covers what happens when you click the Run Button
Building out a workflow and find yourself stumped when trying to add needed functionality to your process? While the Designer does an incredible job of packaging just about every operation an analyst could need, you might need that extra mile. We get that. Here at Alteryx we are all about going that extra mile; if we don’t have a tool that doesn’t explicitly capture functionality for you, we try to equip you with tools that can make for an easy reach to that functionality from resources just outside of the Designer environment (see our R Tool, the API based Connector Tools, and the Run Command Tool). In this article we’ll go over an introduction on how to make and use batch files – these will easily incorporate command line based scripting into your workflows that will help you do just about everything short of feeding your dog.
In short, a batch file is a plain text file that lists a series of commands for the command line interpreter to run in Windows. They’re frequently used to make, remove, rename, move, or even copy directories or files, ping IP addresses, run other programs or services, and manipulate environment variables – and that’s hardly even the tip of the iceberg. There’s a wealth of resources online listing the different batch commands available to you, but the Ben/Peter Parker rule applies to them all: “with great power comes great responsibility.” Please use them responsibly!
To make a batch file, all you need to do is take your desired batch command(s) and write them into a text file:
Be sure to take note of the paths being used! This batch command will make a directory named “batchfolder” in whatever directory it is in when run. Before it can be run as a script, however, we have to save it as a .bat file:
In “Save As” change the “Save as type” to “All Files (*.*)” and change the “File name” .txt extension to .bat:
In your working directory you should now see a different icon, extension, and type, describing the file:
How easy was that? If you want, you can test to see if it works by navigating to the directory the batch file resides in and typing its name into the Command Prompt:
You’ll now see the directory we made with the execution of the batch file:
See, I’m not making this stuff up. Now let’s get all this set up to run for us in the designer. All you need to do is specify the .bat file name in the “Command” configuration option - by default, it will look for this file in the directory the workflow is saved in:
In the attached example, I use the Run Command Tool as an input of a test file (specified in the “Read Results”) before writing the file to the new directory made from executing the .bat file.
Unbeknown to many, by default Alteryx saves your open workflows every 10 minutes, keeps the last three iterations of them, and keeps them around for 30 days since the last save. As you can imagine, many people are very happy to find this out when they frantically come to Support hoping for some way to resurrect a deleted or corrupted workflow. I have always found Alteryx to be an incredibly stable program, but it is nice knowing that my workflows will still be there in an unfortunate emergency, self-inflicted or otherwise.
From my experience, this is something that a lot of people either ignore or don't realize is there. What most people do realize is that for some reason, every one of their workflows has a similarly named copy, but with a .bak extension. The important thing to know is that when you least expect it, this file can become a lifesaver if something happens to your original workflow, so please don't delete them!
To recover autosaved files: Go to File > Open Autosaved Files
To change the settings: Go to the 'Advanced' tab under Options > User Settings > Edit User Settings
Open an Autosaved Workflow
To open an autosaved file, simply go to the menu File > Open Workflow > Open Autosaved Files:
The following screen will open:
You simply click on the iteration of the workflow that you want to restore and then you have the choice of either opening that workflow or saving it to a directory. If you open the workflow directly from this screen, Alteryx will open up a temporary version of that workflow that you will need to save to an appropriate directory of your choosing.
Edit the Autosave Defaults
To edit the Autosave settings, go to 'Advanced' tab under Options > User Settings > Edit User Settings.
The Autosave options are highlighted in yellow below. As you can see below, you can adjust the interval in minutes that the workflow is saved, how many iterations of the workflow to save and how many days to keep the file.
As you can see, the Autosave feature is very straightforward, while at the same time it can be the most important feature you ever used!
Check it out in our Help too!
Everyone has their own way of organizing their window setup in Alteryx and there are a few tricks to make your canvas as user-friendly as possible.
My new favorite is the Ctrl+Tab and holding down Ctrl. Similar to toggling internet browser windows, this allows the user to toggle between workflows, but also tool windows. You can then place tool windows in the same position and then toggle between them. This will allow more room on the user's canvas since all of the tool windows will be in one spot!
Another great feature to open up canvas space is the Auto Hide. This will create tabs for you with each of the tool windows and hide them until you select the tab or use the feature above. When your window is docked you can hover over the pin (see below), click the pin, and your window will change to Undockable and Auto Hide. You should then see a tab on the screen with the window's name.
We have many ways to configure your tool windows in Alteryx, so don't forget about the other options you have when you select the down arrow on the tool window (see below). These options can be beneficial when optimizing your view.
Floating: Allows users to move the window around the canvas as you please. This also allows you to move the window to another monitor.
Dockable: Allows users to place their window in a certain position on the canvas and will not move when selected or viewed.
Tabbed Document: This configuration will place your tool window in the same position as if it was another workflow.
Auto Hide: Hides the tool window until the tab is selected.
Hide: Hides the tool window.
Hope these tips help keep your canvas view!
There have been a couple instances lately where users have wanted to use the Email tool to send email notifications as part of their workflow but run into issues because their email service is web based like Gmail or Hotmail.
Unfortunately the current Alteryx Email tools don’t support email from an online provider.
However, there is still a way to send email from Alteryx with a web based email. It’ll require the use of the Event tab or the Run Command tool and the installation of a third party tool. In this example a tool called SendEmail is used (Alteryx does not recommend or endorse this tool, it happened to be free and worked).
From the Events tab or the Run Command tool enter in the command that executes the tool then in the arguments section add in the tags that are required for the particular email tool.
Run Command tool:
There is another option in this post in the Ideas section by
Sometimes multiple conclusions can be drawn from the same data. Ok, often multiple conclusions can be drawn from the same data. This is especially the case with the Connection Progress that pops up between tools. You may be a bit familiar with this already. When you run a module, you may see something similar to the following: 114gb of data is being passed through my data stream! Is this a lot? Well, yes, but ultimately we have to remember that Alteryx processes everything in memory. Knowing this, the information that we see above doesn't mean we have 114gb of data being written directly to disk (many PC's don't even have this much available). Simply put, there is a ton of data there but if you do not have any type of output connected to the tool, it stays in memory. If we were to connect say, a Browse Tool to the end of my XML Parse Tool shown above, the temp file written out by my Browse Tool would in fact be every bit of that 114gb. Luckily, I don't really need the data written out at this point (I'm performing further analysis downstream), so I simply add a Select Tool just after this and de-select the field with the massive amount of data and just like magic, my module runs very fast and efficient. This little bit of info can be both extremely valuable and scary at the same time. The value is simply that it shows you the amount of data you are dealing with. The scary part is that it can be assumed this is all being written out to disk during runtime. We now know that as long as we're not attaching a Browse Tool to the data at this point, and we deselect the fields we do not need further downstream, we keep our module tidy and efficient! Until next time, - Chad Follow me on Twitter! @AlteryxChad
Alteryx is designed to use all of the resources it possibly can. In order to make Alteryx run as fast as possible, it tries to balance the use of as much CPU, memory, and disk I/O as possible. The good news is that most of the resource utilization can be controlled. You can limit the amount of memory that is used on a system, user, or module level. The Sort/Join memory setting is not a maximum memory usage setting; it’s more like a minimum. One part of Alteryx (sorts) that benefits from having a big chunk of memory will take that entire amount right from the start. It will be split between all the sorts in your module, but other tools will still use memory outside that sort/join block. Some of them (e.g. drive times with a long maximum time) can use a lot. If a sorting can be done entirely in memory, it will go faster than if we have to fall back to temp files, so that’s why it’s good to set this higher. But if the total memory usage on the system pushes it into virtual memory, you’ll be swapping data to disk in a much less optimal way, and performance will be much worse and that’s why setting it too high is a bigger concern. The Default Dedicated Sort/Join Memory Usage can be found in the Designer at Options > User Settings > Edit User Settings Best Practices on Memory Settings 32-bit machines*: Setting should be on the lower, conservative side. No matter how much actual RAM is there, only has at maximum 1 GB available, as soon as it is set higher, the machine will cross over into virtual memory and be unable to recover. A 32-bit machine should never have a setting over 1000MB, and 512 is a good setting. Set it low (128 MB), especially when using Adobe products simultaneously with Alteryx. 64-bit machines: Set this in the system settings to half your physical memory divided by the number of simultaneous processes you expect to run. If you have 8 GB of RAM and run 2 processes at a time, your Sort/Join memory should be set to 2GB. You might set it lower if you expect to be doing a lot of memory intensive stuff on the machine besides Alteryx Set your Dedicated Sort/Join Memory Usage lower or higher on a per-module basis depending on the use of your computer, doing memory intensive non-sort work (i.e. large drive-times) then lower it, doing memory intensive sort-work then higher.
*Please refer to this link for additional details on 32-bit support for Designer
Did you know that instead of having to choose a save location in the Output Tool, you could leverage the directory that is used to save your temporary files?
This can be handy if you are running chained apps locally or have macros that have a file output process. To use temporary space instead of actually writing out a file to a specified location. All you have to do is add the following onto your file name: %temp%..\Output.yxdb. Once you run your workflow you can navigate to your temporary directory (which can be found in System Settings->Engine->General->Temporary Directory) to view your saved file.
The same path you used in the output tool can be used in an input tool to read in the file that is saved to the temporary directory.
When bringing data into Alteryx a lot of users often add a select tool to check the data type and structure. Data types are very important because of the available operations/functions in tools can be adjusted to fit the data type being used!
You have gone through the hard work of creating your macro and now want to make it easy to insert this into your workflow time and time again. You may have, up until this point, been right clicking on the Alteryx Canvas and going to Insert>>>Macro.
However, you can now create your own macro category by going to Options>>User Settings>>Edit User Settings
Within this splash screen you should now be able to see a macros tab:
At this point you can hit the '+' icon and you can give a name to your category and select the file folder where you save your macros in.
Then simply press Apply and OK and the new tool category will appear at the end of your tool palette.
If you are un lucky while rendering a map in Alteryx with a Carto base map, you may encounter the error message Error: AGG error loading font (C:\WINDOWS\fonts\C:\Program). This article explains the cause of this error, and how to resolve it.