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The Sample Tool allows you selectively pass patterns, block excerpts, or samples of your records (or groups of records) in your dataset: the first N, last N, skipping the first N, 1 of every N, random 1 in N chance for each record to pass, and first N%. Using these options can come in the clutch pretty often in data preparation – that’s why you’ll find it in our Favorites Category, and for good reason. While a great tool to sample your data sets, you can also use it for:
You know what really stinks? Working with addresses that aren’t standardized or verified. Whether human-input, or one of the many address formatting standards in the U.S., being stuck with an address you can’t either (1) identify or (2) ensure it exists can be a real pain in the… well…
CASS is here to help!
The ConsumerView Matching macro enables users to match their customer file to the Experian ConsumerView data. Starting with customer information such as name and address you can leverage the ConsumerView macro in Alteryx to append a variety of information about your customers such as household segmentation, home purchase price, presence of children in a home, estimated education and income levels, length of residence, and many more!
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.
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!
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.
Believe it or not, data can be beautiful. Take your black and white data points and add some color to them in visuals with the suite of tools found in the Reporting Category https://help.alteryx.com/current/index.htm#Getting_Started/AllTools.htm#Report_Presentation_Tools ! If you’re looking to create reports, presentations, images, or simply output data with a bang, you can use the Render Tool https://help.alteryx.com/current/PortfolioComposerRender.htm paired with other Reporting Tools to create HTML files (*.html), Composer files (*.pcxml), PDF documents (*.pdf), RTF documents (*.rtf), Word documents (*.docx), Excel documents (*.xlsx), MHTML files (*.mht), Power Point presentations (*.pptx), PNG images (*.html), and even Zip files (*.zip) – packed with formatting and visual aesthetic that’ll make any data-geek’s mouth water.
When you’re frequently writing and rewriting data to Excel spreadsheets that you use for Excel graphs and charts, it can quickly become a hassle to make and remake your reporting objects to keep them up-to-date so you’re visualizing the most recent data. A best practice to keep the hassle out of the process exists, though! If you keep your plots isolated to their own spreadsheet, referencing cell values in another sheet used to capture your data, you can simply overwrite the source data sheet and your plots will update automatically upon launching Excel. In the example below (attached in the v10.6 workflow Dynamically Update Reporting from Excel Spreadsheets.yxzp) we’ve included the workaround to make your Excel outputs seamless.
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 Table Tool on our way to mastering the Alteryx Designer:
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.
More flair = always better
Use it when:
Formatting tables of raw data (attached in the v10.6 Table.yxmd):
Be sure to add emphasis to your data by taking advantage of Column or Row rules to apply formats to specific data points or ranges – you can even use formula logic!
Creating pivot tables (attached in the v10.6 Table.yxmd):
Replicating merged Excel cell format to add sub headers and sub fields
Adding images to accompany data sets
Creating Distance Matrices or Mileage Charts
If you're looking to apply Table Tool column rules to multiple columns, read up on the approach here!
By now, you should have expert-level proficiency with the Table 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.
Stay tuned with our latest posts every #ToolTuesday by following @alteryx on Twitter! If you want to master all the Designer tools, consider subscribing for email notifications.
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.
The Fuzzy Match Tool provides some pretty amazing flexibility for string joins with inexact values – usually in the case of names, addresses, phone numbers, or zip codes because many of the pre-configured match styles are designed around the formats of those types of string structures. However, taking advantage of the custom match style and carefully configuring the tool specific to human entered keyword strings in your data can also allow you to use the loose string matching feature of the tool to match those values to cleaner dictionary keyword strings. If done properly, it can help you take otherwise unusable strings and, matching by each individual word, recombine your human entered data to a standardized format that can be used in more advanced analyses.
This article provides step by step instructions for setting up a standard data install. There is already a fantastic article about Network Installs you can check out if you're interested.
A standard data install is pretty straight forward. Plug in the external drive and double click on the DataInstall.exe file to launch the installer.
When the welcome screen comes up, go ahead and click Next:
Read and Accept the license agreement on the next screen and click Next again:
Select the data sets you would like to install. If you want all of them just click the All button on the right. Otherwise, you can select individual datasets by selecting the check box next to them:
Next, choose any previously installed datasets that you would like to remove by selecting them in the tree structure similar to the previous screen. You don't have to choose anything here if you want to keep everything, however, keep in mind that the data bundle is very large and you may not have enough space to keep multiple vintages installed locally.
Finally, browse to the file path you would like to install the data to. The default path will be auto-populated but if you'd like to install it somewhere else just update the path:
Once you set your path, click Finish and sit back and relax while your data installs.
Question I know I can input .csv and other delimited text files - what about text (.txt) files?
Answer Yes - you can input text (.txt) files! The approach described below applies to all delimited text files - and can also input other file types (like XML) as plain text.
Simply point your Input Data Tool to a file of your choice and specify the configuration options below:
The approach uses .csv as the File Format and the \0 (none) delimiter to keep from delimiting the file, inputting it as a single body of text. Since the whole of the file is being input as one string field, you'll have to enter an adequate string length to capture all the file's contents (9999 in the above - you can use an Auto Field Tool to minimize this after inputting). This will usually mean keeping from using the first row of the file as field names, so pay mind to Option 6 (unchecked).
Once the file is input as a single block of text, the Text to Columns Tool can make short work of parsing it into a tabulated format!
The technique shown above can also help to workaround common input errors from delimited files.
Question Can I read in an Excel file located in a zipped archive file from Amazon S3?
Answer Unfortunately, this is not an option within the Amazon S3 Download Tool, as it only allows you to choose between CSV, DBF and YXDB files. However, this is possible within Alteryx with the use of a simple workflow utilizing a three line batch file, the Run Command Tool (master it here), and the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI).
In order to use the CLI, you must first download it and configure its settings. Please visit this page for information on how to do that. Once that is setup, you simply need to setup the batch file and configure the Run Command Tool.
In the first step, you will use a Text Input Tool to write the batch file code. This code will use the CLI to copy the ZIP file from the S3 bucket to a locally accessible drive. Configure the Text Input Tool as follows:
Make sure that line 2 points to where your CLI is installed.
In line 3, replace "alteryxtest" with the name of your bucket, "ExcelTest.zip" with the name of your ZIP file and enter in the correct location to copy the file to.
In the second step, you will use the Run Command Tool to do the following:
Write out the batch file ("Write Source")
Run the batch file created in the previous step ("Run External Program")
Read the file into the workflow ("Read Results")
When entering in the "Read Results" section, your ZIP file will not exist at this point so you cannot simply navigate to and select the file. So, you have two options:
Click on the "Input" button and enter in the full path of where you are copying the ZIP file (found on line 3 of the Text Input tool) along with the file name, a pipe character, and then in brackets, the sheet name. For Example:
Run the workflow once without the "Read Results" section completed in order to copy the ZIP file from the S3 bucket. Then, click on the "Read Results" button and navigate to the ZIP file and choose the Archive file to read it.
This same workflow can be used to read other archived files as well. However, you will have to make slight adjustments to the "Read Results" section of the Run Command tool. For example, if reading in a CSV file, you would simply include the archived file name. Since a CSV file does not have "sheets", the bracketed sheet name is not needed.
I plan to create a simple macro with a user interface that will do the same thing. Once complete, I will post it in the reply section.
Thanks for reading!
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:
Question How can I share my workflows if my recipients don’t have the same files they reference? Sending them all over separately and reconfiguring inputs separately seems like a lot of work. Halp!
Answer You’re right, that does sound like a lot of work. Luckily, we have an export feature to help with this exact scenario:
Navigating in your Designer to Options >> Export Workflow will open a menu where you can include assets that are referenced in your workflow and export them into a single .yxzp file to be shared. Feel free to select whichever files you’d like to include – if a file is missing, try attaching an additional asset/file to the tool it’s associated with. At that point it should appear in your export options:
Note: If your workflow uses a database connection, your recipient will need to either 1) have a DSN set up (system preferred) for the connection string used or 2) use the same alias to establish a connection in their environment.
After you select the files to be included, select “Browse” to specify the location and name of the export:
You should be all set! Share this export with your files included.
To open an exported workflow, simply File >> Open Workflow >> Browse in Alteryx or double click the green .yxzp file like any other Alteryx file type:
You should then see a prompt stating that the file is an Alteryx Package; just hit “Yes” to begin the import:
You’ll then be given the option to change the directory that the export is extracted to; below that option you will see the exported files listed with their locations relative to the destination directory:
Select “Import” to proceed:
Once the export has successfully extracted, you will be given a notification that the import process has completed. Select “Yes” and your exported workflow should already be loaded and ready to run!
Have you ever used the Allocate tools and received back some strange looking variable names? You're not alone! The Allocate Rename Fields Macro will allow you to rename your fields into readable variables.
The macro can be downloaded here. Note: This will navigate you to the Alteryx Gallery. Select "Download & Install the Allocate Rename Fields Macro" and follow the prompts to install.
USING THE TOOL
The Allocate tools allow users to enrich their workflows with third party data provided from Experian and the US Census. This data contains demographic and household information by geography. Allocate tools can be found under the “Demographic Analysis” tab in the Alteryx toolbar; they include the Allocate Input, Allocate Append, Allocate Report, and Allocate Metainfo.
Allocate Input and Allocate Append tools allow users to select variables to display by geography. Once configured, the fields returned look something like this:
Add the Allocate Rename macro after the Allocate Input/Append. In the Configuration window, select the Dataset that you are pulling from. Press Run for the magic!
Voila! Your field names are now human-readable.
What if my company blocks access to downloading new tools/macros from the Gallery?
In the case that you cannot download this macro, you can use Alteryx to dynamically rename the field names. See is it possible to get the variable name I see in the Allocate tool?
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:
If you're using the Record ID Tool in v11.0+, be sure to familiarize yourself with the tool's interface redesign!
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 email@example.com if you’d like your creative tool uses to be featured in the Tool Mastery Series.
Stay tuned with our latest posts every Tool Tuesday by following Alteryx on Twitter! If you want to master all the Designer tools, consider subscribing for email notifications.
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 Union Tool on our way to mastering the Alteryx Designer:
The Union Tool, the aptly named join category tool with DNA on it, accepts multiple input streams of data and combines them into one, unified, data stream. Whereas the Join Tool combines datasets horizontally (either by a record ID or record position), the Union Tool combines datasets vertically. Not unlike how two nucleic acid strands are unified to form the double helical DNA.
We know, great puns are in our DNA.
The Union Tool has a handful of great applications besides side-stitching punchlines, too. Check them out below:
Have common fields in multiple datasets? Stack them into a single stream with the Union Tool by field name, position, or with manual arrangement:
Don't worry - your datasets don't have to have identical. Any uncommon fields will be at the end of the table, with any fields that are not in a given dataset being populated with null values.
Creating different joins
The Alteryx Join Tool has 3 outputs:
These look like:
If you’re used to SQL joins, these are the left, inner, and right joins, respectively. The Union Tool allows you to effortlessly combine these Join outputs (shaded areas above) to create other, more complex, SQL join configurations like the ones below:
Combining reporting elements vertically
Simply take your reporting elements and specify an Output Order in the Union Tool to stack them vertically - without creating a single reporting element from the combination like the Layout Tool does:
Detouring in apps/macros with help from Tool Containers
See the attached v10.6 workflow, Union.yxmd, for the stack, join, and reporting examples shown above!
By now, you should have expert-level proficiency with the Union 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.
Stay tuned with our latest posts every Tool Tuesday by following Alteryx on Twitter! If you want to master all the Designer tools, consider subscribing for email notifications.