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To do your best data blending, it is a critical need to have the flexibility to connect to as many data stores as possible. No puzzle reveals a complete picture without all the pieces in place, and the same adage holds true in analytics. While we’re proud to boast a list of supported input file formats and data platforms that may even be large enough for database storage itself, unfortunately, in the ever expanding world of data you just can’t catch them all. Enter the Download Tool . In addition to FTP access, this tool can web scrape or transfer data via API (check your data source – there’s almost always an API!), giving you access to even the most secluded data stores. With the examples compiled below, and the wealth of data accessible on the web, you can turn nearly any analytical puzzle into the Mona Lisa :
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 Record ID Tool on our way to mastering the Alteryx Designer:
Here at Alteryx, we do our best to keep things simple. Analytics is hard enough, there’s no need to overcomplicate things. That’s why we have the Record ID Tool – true to its name, if your records don’t have a unique identifier or row count just drag this tool onto the canvas. That’s it. Put your feet up, take a deep breath, and celebrate the win. The best part? The Record ID Tool doesn’t stop there – there’s countless applications of the tool that can simply other operations, too. It’s a gift that just keeps on giving:
Use a Record ID field to create primary keys in database tables created by a workflow
Split your output into multiple files using Record IDs to specify precise record counts
Process workflows in “packets” of records leveraging a Record ID - in some cases, this decreases run time
Compare datasets down to the last record by mapping them to a Record ID
Use the modulo (mod) function to make groups of your data from the Record ID field, simplifying otherwise complex reshapes (see examples 1 and 2)
You can also enforce a record order to your datasets using a Record ID (just sort by it), which often comes in handy before reshaping or macro processing. If you’re looking to assign “Group By” Record IDs that reset to unique values of a particular field, try using the Tile Tool.
That’s a lot of operations made simpler by a single tool; it could be a record. Now, if that’s not worth celebrating, we don’t know what is.
By now, you should have expert-level proficiency with the Record ID 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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A common task that analysts can run into (and a good practice when analyzing data) is to determine if the means of 2 sampled groups are significantly different. When this inquest arises, the Test of Means tool is right for you! To demonstrate how to configure this tool and how to interpret the results, a workflow has been attached. The attached workflow (v. 11.7 ) compares the amount of money that customers spent across different regions in the US. The Dollars_Spent field identifies the amount of money an individual spent and the Region field identifies the region that the individual resides in (NORTH, SOUTH, EAST, WEST).
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!
A must-have for any app or macro, the Error Message Tool displays a prompt to the user based on input from Interface Tools . Using any expression that evaluates to true, along with any number of user inputs from question anchor connected Interface Tools, the Error Message Tool can layer even the most involved applications with failsafes that ease a user’s experience through more robust interactions.
Binary Large OBject (BLOB) data types are often used to store images, audio, and other multimedia files/objects in a single, standardized, format for simplified database management - making them a frequent filetype in the Alteryx Designer. Fortunately, with the Blob Convert Tool , along with the Blob Input and Blob Output Developer Tools , working with BLOB objects is no more difficult than the file types they represent!
A close relative of the Layout Tool , the Visual Layout Tool is the newest, and coolest, Reporting Tool on the block. Sporting all the badassery of the original Layout Tool in its ability to format and arrange reporting objects, the Visual Layout Tool differentiates in that it provides an intuitive, visual, interface that allows for easy drag-and-drop organization of multiple reporting object inputs. Basically, it’s the reporting tool category equivalent of upgrading from Paint to Photoshop.
The consummate Reporting Tool , the Layout Tool isn’t named after its ability to “layout” your reporting work like Terry Tate, Office Linebacker . No, the name is borrowed from the tool’s core functionality to freely arrange reporting objects in your workflows to fit a templated, “layout,” format to be output by the Render Tool . Giving you the flexibility to organize reporting snippets horizontally or vertically, set the width and height of columns and rows, and to add borders and separators, the Layout Tool is the last requisite step in compiling, formatting, and generating a report in Alteryx - probably to never be made by hand again!
Did you ever play that party-game called 6-degrees of separation where you have to figure out how you are connected to someone famous in less than 6 relationships (or the movie version – 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon)? Well that game just got a whole lot easier with the Make Group Tool!
For any macro or analytic app – one of the inevitable questions that you may encounter is “how do I configure this to do what I need?” For example, if you build a macro that checks if two fields are equal, but sometimes you want to ignore the case such that “A” equals “a,” and sometimes you want an exact match. This is where the Interface Tool Category comes to the rescue, with a super-tool called Check Box!
The Field Info Tool is another one of the gems hidden in the Developer Tool Category – however don’t be intimidated, this is a tool for all of us! The purpose of the Field Info Tool is to give you the information about the fields in your data in a way that you can use down-stream as part of your workflow. There are no settings to configure, so just drop it on your canvas and you’re good to go!
You know what they say; the devil is in the details. Precious little separates a good report from a great one and it often comes down to just a few details. Don’t let a report header be the detail you left out – use the Report Header Tool to painlessly add header reporting elements to your reporting creations!
With all the bells and whistles to play around with in the Reporting Tool Category , it’s hard not to leave some out of your reporting workflows every now and again. Just don’t forget about the Report Text Tool – the tool that’ll help you painlessly add text to your reporting objects, presentations, or documents to help spruce up their readability or formatting.
As long as you know where to look, data has all the answers. Sometimes, though, those answers aren’t clear as day. More often than not, they need to be communicated in an effective format - a format that can let the data talk and highlight the important motifs for you. Another favorite of the Reporting Tool Category , the Charting Tool can do just that by adding expressive visuals to any report or presentation. Offering an exhaustive list of charts to choose from (area, stacked area, column, stacked column, bar, stacked bar, line, tornado, pareto , box and whisker, scatter, bubble, polar, radar, pie), the Charting Tool will give you the ability to add descriptive visuals, with legends and even watermarks, to your reporting workflows that will help you find the answers in your data.
The Auto Field Tool : a tool so easy you don’t have to do anything – just put it on your canvas and viola. Automatically optimized data types. If you’re running into data type related issues and errors in your workflows, or just looking to add some speed or reduce the occupied disk space your data is hoarding – look no further than the Preparation Tool Category ’s Auto Field Tool, which reads through all the records of an input and sets the field type to the smallest possible size relative to the data contained within the column.
Any time you want to get a good point across, it’s best to show your data. Show your data off in style in your reports or presentations by adding formatting to otherwise bland data with the Table Tool! Found in the Reporting Tool Category, the Table Tool will make it easy flair to your raw data, and give it the pop it needs to really sink in.