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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 Text To Columns Tool on our way to mastering the Alteryx Designer:
Easily the most used tool in the parsing category, the Text To Columns Tool makes for an extremely quick dicing of delimited fields. To use it you only need to specify a delimited field, delimiter(s), whether you’re parsing to rows or columns (you’ll need to specify a number of columns to parse into with this selection) and you’re off. Any way you slice it, this tool has you covered:
When using selection-based tools, the output will often be a concatenated string of all your selections:
To use the List Box Tool output from the above in your analytic apps (master them here), simply update a placeholding string in a Text Input Tool with an Action Tool (master it here). Then apply some Text To Columns magic to parse the selections into rows of keys that you can easily join (master the art of joining here) back to your input data set for the record filtering.
The parsed Interface Tool output will look like the below:
Searching for keywords: The Text to Columns Tool is especially useful when building keyword analyses because you can easily split larger strings into rows of single word substrings to join or fuzzy match to for keyword matching.
Don’t know how many columns your field will be parsed into? There’s a useful trick to avoid specifying – if you assign a Record ID (master the tool here) and use the Tile Tool (master it here) to count each occurrence of your records (Tile_SequenceNum) you can then Cross Tab (master it here) them back into the table shape you would have had anyway (example attached in ParseIntoRows.yxmd):
By now, you should have expert-level proficiency with the Text To Columns 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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