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Sometimes clients have asked how they can re-input the same excel file that they have just outputted into the same workflow. Normally, their gut instinct would be to open up a new workflow and start fresh with the updated file. However, this can be a bit cumbersome especially if they want to do this multiple times or for those wanting to do some sort of logging process in an app. Luckily, there is a quick and easy trick for this.
The Directory Tool gives you a data-stream input that contains information about the files and folders (file name; file date; last modified, etc.) for the location of your choice, which you can then use for more complex interactions with the file system. Basically, the Directory Tool could also finally help me track down my keys - not just where I put the keys in the house, but also how long they've been there, and when they were last moved.
Have you ever wanted to restrict the fields that flow through your workflow based on their data type? What about only allowing fields that begin with the same word or are in a specific position? The Dynamic Select tool is just what you’re looking for!
The Dynamic Replace Tool is an under-utilized tool in the Developer Toolset that is very powerful. It allows for dynamic formulas or conditions to be used in your workflow. It was first introduced in Alteryx 6.1. It’s one of the few tools that is currently multi-threaded which makes is fast.
Imagine this – you’re on vacation. You’re on a sandy beach where the sun has been relentless all day. It’s hot and you need something to cool you off. Ice cream would be perfect! The Find Nearest tool can help!
The Multi-Row Formula Tool functions much like the normal Formula Tool but adds the ability to reference multiple rows of data within one expression. Say, for example, someone was on the ground floor of a house and had a Formula Tool. They would only be able to talk to the people also on the ground floor. If they had a Multi-Row Formula Tool, though, they would also be able to talk to the people upstairs, in the attic, and in the basement as well.
Suppose that your spreadsheet has multiple sheets with the same structure and you would like to read several sheets into your module at once. In this case, the preferred alternative is to use the Dynamic Input tool.
In this article we’ll take a look at how to leverage a batch macro to read in multiple sheets from multiple Excel files using Designer version 10.0. The two Excel files I’ll be using in the example are called Fruits and Vegetables with sheets named Apples, Oranges, Broccoli and Spinach, respectively.
The first step will be to read in the list of sheet names from one of the Excel files using an Input tool. This feature is new to 10.0 and is a great addition when used in conjunction with the Dynamic Input tool.
We can then connect our Input tool from the previous step to a Dynamic Input tool. In our configuration, use the same Excel file as our Input Data Source Template. We can use the Sheet Names field from our Input tool as our List of Data Sources and our action is going to be to Change File/Table Name.
Now we’re ready to add our Interface tools to the canvas. Bring in a Control Parameter tool, 2 Action tools and a Macro Output. Connect the Control Parameter to the 2 Action tools, and then connect on to the Input and Dynamic Input. The Macro output will be connected to the output of the Dynamic Input.
In our Action tool configuration our action type will be Update Value. We want to update the File – value that is being passed on to the Input and Dynamic Input. We will, however, only need to update the portion of the string without the sheet name, which is why we’ll also select Replace a specific string: This will allow us to batch our process with multiple files.
Lastly, if our Excel files have different schemas, in the interface designer we can set the macro to Auto Configure by Name or Position so that our workflow does not error out. Note: sheets within the same file will have to be the same schema.
We’re now ready to save the macro and put it to use!
Now, on a new canvas, we can place a Directory tool (If all your Excel files are in one directory), or, we can use a Text Input to manually enter each individual file path location. After the Directory or Text Input tool, insert your macro (right click on the canvas->insert->macro), then choose the full file path for your question in the macro configuration. Add a browse, hit run and look at the results!
We now are able to read in multiple Excel sheets from multiple Excel files!
The attached workflow package includes a workflow, batch macro and excel files created in Alteryx v.10.0
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These methods should work in most versions of Alteryx.
One of the most common issues we see from clients trying to read in a .csv file is that they are receiving an error starting “Too many fields in row x”, and because of this Alteryx can’t read in the file.
There are a couple of different ways you can resolve this error.
First, in the Input Data tool, you can tell Alteryx to treat read errors as warnings to allow the file to be read in.
This will change the Error to a Warning so that Alteryx can read in the file so you can investigate.
The other method is to read the file in with no delimiter. You can do this by changing the delimiter in the Input Data tool to \0.
Once you have your data parsed back out into its fields, you can use the Dynamic Rename tool to correct your field names, a select tool to remove the original field, and a simple Trim() function to remove the extra delimiter from your data.
This process is illustrated in the attached workflow, created in version 10.1.
Between the RegEx , Text To Columns , and XML Parse Tools , the Alteryx data artisan already has an exceptionally robust selection of tools to help parse uniquely delimited data. However, there are still some data sets so entangled in formatting that it’s labor intensive to parse even for them. Enter the Find and Replace Tool , which captures the ability to find your nightmarish parsing workflows and replace them with sweet color by number pictures. Just kidding, it finds bad jokes and replaces them with good ones. Seriously, though, you could do both if you wanted to because this tool has the capability to look up a table of any number of specified targets to find in your data and will replace them with a table of specified sources. With the help of a few quick configuration steps, this tool can simplify some parsing use cases significantly.