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Alteryx Knowledge Base

Definitive answers from Designer experts.
Announcement | Looking to expand your Alteryx skillset?! Check out the latest set of interactive lessons in Alteryx Academy: Creating Analytic Apps
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Symptoms Have you ever downloaded a workflow solution from the community and found that the solution used a more recent version than you were running at work (e.g. 10.5 vs 10.1)?  Alteryx won't allow you to open the workflow if your version of the workflow is newer than your software supports.  I've seen this a few times in my career and while it makes sense that new functionality or new tools wouldn't work but for the most part, you're likely using tools that the version won't matter with. Diagnosis My friend and colleague jdunkerley79 recently wrote a blog post about Alteryx versions (https://jdunkerley.co.uk/2016/06/29/adjusting-alteryx-files-for-different-versions/) explaining HOW-TO get around the version safety control.  While we've both encountered this symptom in the community, we've been either manually editing workflows in the background or telling folks how to solve the problem using Notepad.   If you get a message similar to this picture, there is a solution for you:   Solution In the Alteryx gallery (https://gallery.alteryx.com/#!apps/galleryv) I've posted a new macro to allow users to modify a workflow source version number: https://gallery.alteryx.com/#!app/Modify-Alteryx-Workflow-Version/5773f9c33df7da0e58dc82d3   For those cases where new functionality isn't present in a workflow, this macro should do the trick for you.  After you download the macro and save it to your computer, you can open a new workflow and put the macro on the canvas.  There aren't any inputs or outputs to link with the macro.  Answer the questions of "where is the workflow" and "what version are you running" and a new workflow will be created.  Your original workflow is left as-is and a new workflow with a "WorkflowName_v_##_#" is created.   Attached is a version 10 and version 10.5 copy of the macro.  If you are using an older version of Alteryx, let me know in the comments and I'll see what I can do about creating a time-machine for you!
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Sometimes you may want to stop a workflow if certain conditions are met!   Luckily within Alteryx we have the combination of the Test Tool and Workflow Properties to stop the workflow.   A common use case is you have scheduled workflow with an input file which is updated each week, but sometimes there is no new data. You would like to stop the workflow outputting and overwriting your output file if there are zero records in the workflow. In this particular use case you will want to add a count and test tool before your output tool to make sure no records pass to the output tool.   Adding a count tool will give you the value you need to see if any records are present in the workflow. If the count is 0 it means there no records present, if it greater than this there are records present and you would like the workflow to continue as designed.   When you attach the test tool to the count tool, you will need to hit the ‘Add’ button to create a test scenario.     When you hit add it will pop out another window.     In this window you can enter your test name which will populate in the results window error log. The input connection is the data stream. And the Test type reflects the type of test you would like to apply. In this particular example we will be using ‘Expression is True for All Records’.     The Test value field will give you a window similar to the formula tool. In here you can create your expression. The test tool works  when a user-specified condition is not met . Therefore, the in this particular case I am looking for no data so having count less than 0 will error when there is no data available.   Once you have configured the test tool and attached it in the workflow. You need to click on the canvas and navigate to ‘Runtime’ in the configuration window. In here there are a list of tick boxes, you will have to tick ‘Cancel workflow on error’. This will work in tandem with the test tool to cancel the workflow when the error is generated.   Here is a screenshot of the sample workflow.       I have also attached the example workflow! (Built in Alteryx Desginer 10.1)   Best,   Jordan Barker Solutions Consultant 
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To go along with our example on how to download a file from FTP, we’ve assembled steps in v10.1 below (credentials, server removed) as an example of uploading a file to FTP. In this example (attached) I’ve encoded a string field as a Blob to be posted as a text file. Theoretically, all your fields could be concatenated to a CSV format, or another delimited format, to be converted and posted using the same steps:   My field string to be converted:     1. First identify the field to be converted to Blob in your Blob Convert Tool:     2. Specify in a Formula Tool your FTP URL and filename in the format URL/filename.extension:     3. Have your Download Tool use this field as the URL field in the Basic Tab:     4. In the Payload tab specify the HTTP action PUT and select the option “Take Query String/Body from Field” and specify your Blob field:     5. Specify your credentials in the Connection tab of the Download Tool, leave all other configuration options default:     6. Run the workflow!   After running, you should be able to confirm the successful transfer of your file in the DownloadHeader field returned from the Download Tool (it'll also be hosted on your FTP path):     Take a look at the results below:      
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As users collaborate, the sharing of workflows that connect to databases can be helpful. The In-DB Connection File type allows for this. A database connection is saved as an .INDBC file so it can be packaged with a workflow.   To create an In-DB Connection File that can be used on your workflow, go to Options > Advanced Options > Alias Manager > In-DB Connections.     Select the Data Source from the dropdown (1), for our example we will select Oracle, then pick File for the connection type (2), this option will ask you to navigate to a folder where the INDBC file will be stored and also will ask you to provide a name for this file (3).     Then proceed to set up your connection as you would normally do by selecting the appropriate driver and setting up the connection string for Read & Write.     Now that your connection file is created, the next step is to connect to your database using this file. Bring a Connect In-DB into your canvas, click on the dropdown for the Connection name and select Open File Connections, browse to your file and select it.     The next thing you will see the list of tables.       Select the table and/or write your query in the SQL Editor and proceed to build your workflow.   Now that you are ready to share, package your workflow by going to Options > Export workflow, notice that the INDBC file is being packaged with the workflow.       At the receiving end, the database drivers/client, data sources for that database should be installed and set up. The INDBC file looks like below, the password is encrypted.   Note: Workflow and all images created in this article are from Alteryx version 10.1
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Need more information on how to use our visual query builder when choosing tables or queries to input? We’ve put together a quick video in v10.1 for your reference:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJjAiAHtCuc   Find more information on our visual query builder below: http://help.alteryx.com/current/index.htm#ChooseTableorSpecifyQuery.htm#Visual   Matt D CSR
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When writing to Excel, have you ever had the need to populate a column with values that come from formulas referencing other cells in your data? You’ve probably noticed that when writing to either .xlsx or .xls Excel file formats that your output still appears as a string, rather than a calculated value, like the below:   .xlsx Each formula cell has the proper cell references and syntax but will need to be interacted with (add or remove a space in the formula and hit enter on your keyboard) to calculate the true formula value.   .xls When expanding on the string you’ll see there’s an apostrophe (‘) preceding the formula and you’ll need to remove each and hit enter on your keyboard for the formula to execute.     In the attached v10.1 workflow, Writing to Excel with Formulas.yxmd, we provide a sample formula expression to build formulas with basic cell indexing (using a record ID field) and the ability to write formulas that can be interpreted by Excel. This is done by leveraging the .csv file format; when excel opens this output file type it automatically recognizes the formula syntax and will interpret it as such – populating each cell with the true formula calculated value:  
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Tired of pulling conversion rates manually? Me too!   Let’s build ourselves a currency converter in Alteryx Designer version 10.1 using the http://fixer.io/ exchange rates. Fixer.io is a free JSON API for current foreign exchange rates published by the European Central Bank. The rates are updated daily around 3PM CET.   The first thing we will do is gather the API documentation from the Fixer.io website. This will give us the URL we need to make our REST API call. If you are unfamiliar with making REST calls please take a look at Tasha’s
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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.   Reduce Multi-Character Delimiters for Text to Columns: Probably the most intuitive of use cases, the Find and Replace Tool can be used to simplify multi-character delimiters. This comes in handy because the Text to Columns can only split fields by single characters; putting multiple characters in the “Delimiters” configuration option will split on each character, not the combination of them. Try reducing those delimiters to a single character with Find Replace:     Circumvent Complex Regex Expressions: Having trouble parsing with Regex? Me too. It’s hard. You can email me at support@alteryx.com so we can work through that expression together, or you can try to work around it by specifying as many patterns as you can identify as the Find field and replacing them with a delimiter of your choice. This isn’t always applicable, but can often help you work around if time is of the essence and you can’t get your RegEx working with one of these handy RegEx expression testers.     Nested HTML: Frequently when parsing out HTML there will be layering of the formatting tags for you to unravel before capturing your records (e.g. a table inside of a table). You can parse through this iteratively by removing layer after layer of tags or you can try to find each hierarchical layer of tags and replace them with unique delimiters. This especially comes in handy when the tags might vary, even within the same hierarchical layer:     Semistructured, Consistent, Data without Delimiters: Wanting to parse something without delimiters? Try identifying patterns that give the data semistructure, like the example below parsing out addresses fields. Address records often have multi-word addresses, cities, or states and thus make it impossible to parse an address field into address, city, state, and zip using only whitespace or numeric characters to parse. There are only so many address endings (St, Street, Rd, Road, Ave, Avenue, etc), however, and identifying these in your data can allow you to replace them with the same ending but with a delimiter. Rinse and repeat for state names with a delimiter on either side. After parsing you should now have your address field, your city, you state, and zip code in their own separate fields even if they are multiple words!     Bonus example (regex replace): whitespace delimiters Although this example technically doesn’t even need to use the Find Replace tool, it relies on a similar technique to simplify parsing data structures with formatted (whitespace) delimiters using the function REGEX_REPLACE(). Let’s put it this way, if the Find Replace Tool was a quarterback, REGEX_REPLACE() would be Tom Brady. Picture the following:     That’s one ugly field, right? You can turn that ugly duckling into 13 swans just by applying this function in a formula tool: REGEX_REPLACE([DownloadData], '[\s]{2,}' , '|'). Translating RegEx to English, this is essentially saying “Take my DownloadData field, find the pattern \s (space) when it occurs {2,} (two or more) times, and replace it with |.” I like to think that once all the whitespace characters have been replaced by a pipe, we’ve successfully “deflated” the data to something that can be easily parsed into the fields we need. Just send your data into a Text to Columns Tool using | as your delimiter, and then tack on a Dynamic Rename to “Take Field Names from First Row of Data.” Touchdown.   Looking for more information on the Find Replace Tool? Everything you need to know can be found here: http://help.alteryx.com/current/index.htm#cshid=FindReplace.htm   Matt DeSimone Client Services Representative  
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For 10.1, we updated our installer screens to something a bit more modern looking. Here's a comparison:         Some users may run into an issue where the new Alteryx installer screens do not display text correctly if Alteryx is being installed on a machine using a Windows Classic/Windows Standard theme. (See the image to the right.)   Windows 2008 R2 Server OS system uses this theme, so users with this OS may encounter the issue.   We believe this problem will only occur if the machine also has a previous version of Alteryx installed.   If the issue occurs, there is a simple work-around: Quit the installation Uninstall the previous version of Alteryx using the Control Panel. After the uninstall is complete, run the installer again. The installer screens should display properly.     This information is also available on our Release Notes page (http://downloads.alteryx.com/). It's always a good idea to read through the Release Notes when downloading a new version. Key Features - highlights exciting new enhancements added for the release. Additional Changes - lists minor updates as well as notable bug fixes. Known Issues - documents small issues (like the one outlined above) and work-arounds to use if you encounter them.   Although 10.1 is a minor release, it contains a number of exciting new enhancements, and we're looking forward to hearing what you think about them.
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Regression analysis is widely used for prediction and forecasting. Alteryx customers use these statistical tools to understand risk, fraud, customer retention and pricing, among many other business needs.   Regression analysis is a statistical process for estimating the relationships among variables.  The common reason to use this tool is to ascertain a causal effect of one variable upon another, such as the effect of a price increase on demand, for example, the effect of a tobacco habit on an individual’s likelihood to be diagnosed with lung cancer. Regression analysis is comprised of a variety of tools within Alteryx, which are part of the standard Alteryx Designer License.   This video provides a brief tutorial of using Regression Analysis tools on Major League Baseball Stats and includes an overview on how to configure the following tools:   Association Analysis tool Linear Regression tool Stepwise tool Nested Test tool Score tool     Alteryx customers use predictive analytics to identify patterns found in historical and transactional data to identify risks as well as opportunities. Alteryx Predictive analytic tools are built on Open source R.   Alteryx users are not required to know R to execute predictive models because all of the models in Alteryx are packaged into easy-to-use macro tools that only require configuration.  All predictive tools are macros, and therefore not a “black box”. Macros provide the user with the flexibility to open all models and dissect the logic, as well as see and modify the R-script(s) being executed.
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With the introduction of the Predictive Analytics Starter Kit , you can enhance your analytic skills through an interactive, guided starter kit that teaches core predictive modeling techniques (A/B testing, linear regression, and logistic regression)
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How to dynamically run the most recent file in a file folder   Sometimes you may have daily, weekly, monthly or yearly data dumps where you want to only run the most recent file. Within Alteryx you can make this process dynamic and seamless through the use of a few tools.   Step 1: Directory Tool The Directory Tool will allow you to browse to a folder and return all the metadata related to the files which exist within that folder. The field of interest in the metadata is the 'Creation Time'.    Step 2: Sort Tool Using the field called ‘Creation Time’ we can use the Sort Tool to sort the date and time values into descending order to get the most recent file at the top of the dataset.   Step 3: Sample Tool After sorting the 'Creation Time' field I now have my most recent file in record 1. Yet, I still have rows of data for the other files within that folder that I need to remove. I can now use the Sample Tool to take the ‘First 1 Record’ and this will result in the latest file information being left.     Step 4: Dynamic Input Currently the field I have in my dataset only shows metadata avaliable for that file such as Full path, Creation Time etc. I now need to read this file and pull in the data by using the Dynamic Input Tool. In the ‘edit’ section select a placeholder file.   Then in the Read a list of data sources ‘Field’ dropdown this will need to be the ‘Full Path’ field coming from the directory Tool. In the Action dropdown this will need to be set to ‘Change Entire File Path’.     Step 5: Run the workflow You can now run the workflow and it will dynamically always pick the latest file from that folder and read the data into Alteryx.   Please find an example module attached to this article (Built in Alteryx Designer 10.5)   Best,   Jordan Barker Solutions Consultant  
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Scientific notation , or E notation , is used to more simply represent values that are very large or very small.  Rather than represent the vertical distance from the top of Mount Everest to the bottom of the Marianas Trench as 19795000 millimeters (why millimeters, you ask?  Well, why not?), expressing this distance in scientific notation, 1.9795e+7 mm, provides a more accessible way to understand the magnitude and precision of that value.  When databases and spreadsheets format data in scientific notation, that formatting may be carried over into Alteryx.  For some users, data in scientific notation can be problematic, especially if the data type is read in Alteryx as a string.  Some Alteryx users have posted their helpful ideas on dealing with converting data in scientific notation to the full numeric value, and the links to those discussion threads are provided below.  This article summarizes and demonstrates their ideas. 
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So you've built out your app and everything is working great, provided the user enters in all the information requested by your well thought out and organized user interface. How do you protect yourself from a flood of emails due to user error?   With the addition of a simple to configure tool, you can easily add checks and custom error messages if things are not entered correctly.   The Error Message Tool (Interface Toolset) is simple to configure and can provide the insurance you need to make sure that the information requested by your Analytic App is being entered correctly.   The Error Message tool connects to questions and allows you to build out a custom expression to ensure the data entered is what you're looking for. One of the most common uses is simply to make sure something was entered. To do this, connect your Error message tool to any question in your app and fill out the configuration as shown below:   When I run my app, and leave the answer to that question blank, my error appears:   You can also use a single Error Message tool for multiple questions. Instead of building a separate message for each user required input, you can connect additional questions into a single Error and return an error if any of them are left unanswered:   You'll notice the questions are represented by [#1] and [#2] in the expression. This corresponds to the numbered connection line feeding into the Error Message tool. A best practice is to rename those lines so that you know which connection applies to each question. The process of renaming is simple. With any tool configuration window open, click on the connection line you wish to rename and enter the name you want to change it to. You'll see the change on the workflow canvas itself, as well as within the Error Message tool:   Now if a user leaves either one of the questions blank an error will appear stating that he/she must answer all questions.   A sample app demonstrating the setup is attached.   Note: Sample App and all screen shots taken from 10.1  
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Having trouble reading or writing Microsoft Access files? No worries - Client Services is here to help!
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With 10.1, License owners can now manage their license keys and the users tied to them through the Alteryx Analytics Gallery (gallery.alteryx.com).    To access your licenses, follow the steps below: 1) Open a browser and go to gallery.alteryx.com 2) Sign in to your account, or create one if you are a new user 3) Click on the Cog icon in the top right hand corner: 4) Click on the Designer Licenses tab:   From here you will see the licenses that you are the listed as the Owner for and you will be see/edit the license users from this screen:   User Information:                                                                                     Expiration Date:                 Seats used/total available:                                                                        Delete User from License:             Download License:   The new features in 10.1 also make the transfer of a license from one machine to another easier. A common scenario for this is when a user's machine fails or gets replaced and they need to activate Alteryx on their new machine. With 10.1 all you need to do is enter the license key and email associated and the user will see a pop up similar to what is shown below:   Clicking yes will transfer the license onto the new machine, without having to contact Customer Support or Fulfillment for assistance saving you time.     Note: For all of the above features, users must be on 10.1. When transferring the license, message will only appear if old machine had 10.1 installed. Previous versions do not have these licensing capabilities.  
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You may be trying to install the Alteryx Designer or Server and recieve an error saying: There was an error downloading "AlteryxInstallx64_10.1.7.12.188.exe...." (Image below)     This is due to a proxy blocking the data manager from installing the software.    DO NOT FEAR THE ANSWER IS HERE!   All you need to do is to install the Individual Installs of the Designer/Server/Predictive tools to circumvent the data manager GUI and you will be able to download the designer as normal.      *****Please remember to download the correct bit and admin/non-admin version for your machine!    Once the download has finished it will prompt you to finish and open the designer. This is when you can enter your license key and use Alteryx!   If this fails to resolve your issues please do not hesitate to reach out to Support   Best,   Jordan Barker Client Services Support Engineer        
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Ever wonder about the “behind-the-scenes” calculations of Alteryx’s drive times?  How does Alteryx know how long it would take to travel from Point A to Point B?  This post explores the “speed” variable used to calculate Drivetimes.
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In Designer v10.1, there are four components to making Salesforce connections in the Designer Salesforce tools:   Making sure you have the correct Salesforce URL; it would look something like https://[instance].salesforce.com. For an example, I've posted one that I use below: Your Salesforce username Your Salesforce password A Security token that you can recover from your Salesforce administrator or using the steps below (if you have the sufficient privileges from your Salesforce admin): In Salesforce.com, click on the picture icon in the top right hand corner and click on my Settings Click on Personal > Reset My Security Token   This will send out an automated email with your security token. Voila! You should be ready to connect!     If you have trouble connecting thereafter, please consult our help pages or the Client Services team!
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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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