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Alteryx Knowledge Base

Definitive answers from Designer experts.
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Is it possible to append to a YXDB instead of having to read in the whole thing, union the new records, and then re-create it? The short answer is, No, but you can accomplish this with SQLITE.
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This article is part of the Client Services Macro Development Series. The goal of this series is to communicate tips, tricks, and the thought process that goes into developing good, dynamic macros.
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One common reason can be due to mixed cases within the data of the join fields between the two datasets. For example, and as shown below, "Orange" from the first dataset is not going to join to "orange" in the second dataset. And this does not just apply to the leading character. Another common reason can be due to the existence of trailing or leading spaces. As also shown in the example below, "Plum " is not going to join with "Plum". The little red triangle in the upper right-hand corner of "Plum" indicates that there are leading and/or trailing spaces.
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The Email Tool is a tremendously useful shortcut when it comes time to disseminate your analyses and other results straight from your workflow. However, in order to do so, it must communicate using Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), which is often restricted by IT infrastructure and firewalls to protect organizations from spam. As a result, many users excited to try the tool get the direct, yet demoralizing, error below (among others): “SMTP Failed.”     That’s why we’ve detailed in this article the steps you can take to investigate what, exactly, is giving you trouble: Autodetected SMTP server Using autodetect SMTP Alteryx communicates with destination mail servers directly, acting as its own mail server. If autodetect isn’t working, this usually implies firewall restrictions, as it is quite common for IT to block SMTP from any machine other than the company's SMTP server. You can check that autodetect’s default port (25) is open using the Telnet instructions in the section below. Manually-entered SMTP server First make sure a colon and port number are appended to the server name: Does this SMTP server use SSL/TLS or require username/password authentication? Unless the SMTP server uses windows authentication you won’t be able to use the Email Tool, as SSL and TLS are not yet supported through the tool. You can, however, look into other approaches to sending emails in the Designer that can accommodate those requirements.   If not, do you have the required ports open in your network firewall? You can check with your IT team for port numbers and statuses, but the default ports you can check yourself are usually 25, 445, 465, 587, and 993: You can check to see if a server and port are open using the Telnet utility; if you have Telnet installed, open the command prompt and simply type telnet.     If you do not see the second prompt above then you’ll have to install a Telnet/SSH third party client like PuTTY.   From either the Telnet prompt or client, you can open a connection to the server and port to test: In Telnet, connect to the server and port using the command below.     In PuTTY, opening the port will look like the following.     Either approach will then send you to the following prompt.     Then use these commands ( <CRLF> is the enter key ) to send a test email that, if received, will indicate that your port is open. HELO <CRLF> mail from:<mail from address> <CRLF> rcpt to:<mail to address> <CRLF> data< CRLF> subject:<email subject here><CRLF> <CRLF> <type the body of the message here> <CRLF> . <CRLF> To send the email, you must end the body by hitting the enter key (<CRLF>), then period, then enter again (please note that after specifying your subject you must also press the enter key twice – not doing may neglect the message body argument). The test should look something like the below:   If the email sends and the mail to address confirms receipt, then your port is open. Otherwise, you should receive an error that should help your IT team diagnose why the traffic is being blocked. Use the steps above to determine likely causes for the error and you’ll be able to take steps to get the Email Tool unrestricted in your network. Once that happens, bid adieu to whatever repetitious emails you might have to send in the future!  
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Once you have started a workflow within Alteryx it's hard to think about leaving! However, if you feel like that time has come, Alteryx makes that transition easier than Micheal Phelps winning Gold in the Olympics. The Output Data Tool is used to write the results of your workflow to any supported database or file formats ; Alteryx also offers the opportunity to output directly to Tableau Server , and  Power BI . Using the Output Data Tool, you can:
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Now everyone loves to talk about their workflow masterpieces, however the notion of documenting them doesn't always hold the same appeal. The  Comment Tool  would be happy to help and can make documenting and structuring your workflow easy and straight forward.  Whether you want to include images, text descriptions or categorize parts of your workflow, the Comment Tool can act as a great refresher when revisiting workflows and make it far more intuitive for work colleagues to follow along. This article provides a few examples on how.
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Setting up the Map tool in this order will help you in building your modules: Add Map tool to canvas. Connect up input connections. Name input connections appropriately. Set Up as much of the settings tab as you can (you may need to come back to this once you have the amp on your final report). Set Up all of the fields on the data tab. Run your module. This will provide actual sample data for the preview pane. Add and style your layers, hitting refresh to update the preview, until you are happy with your map’s appearance.
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Tool Purpose: The Field Info tool allows the user to see in tabular form, the name of fields within a data stream as well as the field order, field type, field size, and more. A typical use scenario is to combine with the Test tool (and maybe Block Until Done) to validate that a schema is correct before deploying to scheduled processing. When to use: You wish to see specific data about the fields in a database. The Output:
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Tool Purpose: The Directory Tool returns all the attributes of files in a specified directory. Along with file names, other pertinent information about each file is returned, including size, creation date, last modified date, and much more. When to use: You would like to locate a file or file type in a specified directory or sub directory. Configuration Properties: Specify the directory to return the file contents of. Either type in the file location path or use the browse icon to navigate to the intended directory. Specify the type of files to return. Example: *.* will return all file types in the specified directory. *.csv will return all csv files in the specified directory. temp*.* will return all files that begin with temp in the file name: (eg. temp1.txt and temp_file.yxdb) Include Sub directories check box. When checked, it will search for the specified file types in directories that lie within the specified directory. When this box is left unchecked, only files at the root level of the specified directory will be returned.                                                                                        Information provided by the Directory tool:                                  
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Macros can be designed to treat nearly every and any repeatable operation in Alteryx. If you’re working with formalized, established, processes and prefer not to duplicate work, or you’ve just found a handful of useful macros on our Public Gallery, being able to maintain macros is a must.   Whether you’ve installed the macro or built it yourself, the Workflow Configuration Meta Info tab will be crucial:       1: A custom workflow name will appear as the macro tool name in both the Designer or Gallery; it will override the macro file name.     2: The description specified in this tab will help users grasp the how to use the macro; it is also listed on the Gallery if shared there.     3: Tool Version helps to differentiate between iterations of the same macro, it will also push version updates to the Gallery if re-posted, updating the version numbed listed there.     4: Category Name will override the macro’s default to appear in your macro directory for another – in this example the macro will be found next to the other Designer Address Tools.     5: Any search tags listed here will be matched keywords when searching in the Designer or Gallery for the macro.     6: Any author information provided is also listed in the Gallery if the macro is posted; it also may help when sharing.         If you’re sharing your macro, be sure to also include any tool assets that are used (including nested macro files) by attaching them to their associated tool!
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Truncated data is usually defined as numeric rounding or cut off, string shortening, or datum deletion - essentially any time information is lost. Since, as analysts, our insights are only as good as our data, we usually find ourselves trying to preserve the integrity of data as we’re processing it. That’s not to say we can’t also optimize our resources usage when our data will allow for it.   While keeping your data types as small as possible is important, and can serve to shorten run times, it is even more important to understand what data types are most accommodating to your data and in what situations they can be shortened without truncation. If you’ve ever seen Office Space, you understand just how important even fractions of a cent are – and accuracy doesn’t just apply to financial data.   To avoid truncation in your data you have to first explore your data types in the context of your analyses. What data types and sizes did you receive the data in and why? What format would we like to see our results in? Are there opportunities to reduce memory usage between those two? And finally - what operations will we perform on the fields in our workflows that may impact each data type and size? The answers to these questions will be unique to each dataset, but once they’re addressed you can use the same techniques to keep your data both optimized and accurate.   Start by identifying the data types that most closely fits your fields based on the questions above. If you want Alteryx’s best guess, try using the Auto Field Tool to assign optimized data types and sizes automatically. While this tool is immensely helpful, be sure to check that the output is not truncating data or leaving it in a form less conducive to your downstream analyses – the Auto Field Tool doesn’t know the answers to your questions above. You can have the best of both worlds by adjusting the assignments from the Auto Field Tool, where necessary, by placing a Select Tool (master it here) just afterwards. You’ll then have suggestions and be able to change the less accurate/accommodating assignments by hand. Some things to consider:   If performing string operations later in your workflow that may increase their length, pay close attention to see if they are being truncated after that maximum string value is reached. String and WString (accepts Unicode characters) types are set length and will drop any characters that exceed their size. On the other hand, V_string and V_WString (accepts Unicode characters) are of variable length, and will adjust to accommodate strings after assignment.   Numerics may seem the most intuitive of the bunch, but pay close, close attention to the precision of each type so as to avoid unintentional rounding. Fixed Decimal is the only type to have an adjustable length – the rest may force your data to fit if not assigned to the correct type.   Dates are not always input in the standard ISO format yyyy-mm-dd HH:MM:SS, and may require some converting in order to handle them as Date/Time types in the Designer (this is important when trying to sort or filter by date or apply Date/Time functions in formulas). Any other date format will be interpreted as a string, and treated as such, unless converted using the DateTimeParse() function, the DateTime Tool, the Parse Dates Macro, or the fan favorite BB Date Macro. If you need to return to your original formatting, or simply prefer another, you can always convert your dates back into another format string after they’ve been processed using the DateTimeFormat() function or the DateTime Tool.
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What's the difference between Admin and Non-Admin installs of Alteryx? Stuff and things.
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Even though Alteryx 9.0 was just released a few months ago, the incremental 9.1 update contains some very powerful and useful features.  Complete detail can be found on our Downloads Page, but I've outlined a few key highlights below. Users can add their own macro tool category with a simple user interface under the User Settings.   Xlsx files can now be read using a native Alteryx driver rather than the Microsoft driver.  Note: This feature is currently in BETA ans user feedback is requested. Benefits include up to 10x performance improvements for large data sheets. Sheet width greater than 255 columns are now supported (they are not using the Microsoft driver).  Data types in all rows are returned accurately, rather than just the first portion of data. Tableau's TDE files can now be appended from within Alteryx. Open files are now auto-saved in regular intervals.  The auto save intervals can be modified in the User Settings. Support for Open Source R 3.0.3 and Revolution Analytics RRE 7.2 has been added. A series of new tools and updates have been added to the Predictive Tool set.  We've also added a few server features, including the ability to deactivate users, and changing "Public Gallery" to "My Company's Gallery", and it is customizable! If you haven't upgraded yet, I strongly suggest you give it a shot.  The latest versions can again be found on our Downloads Page. Until next time! Chad Follow me on Twitter! @AlteryxChad
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