This site uses different types of cookies, including analytics and functional cookies (its own and from other sites). To change your cookie settings or find out more, click here. If you continue browsing our website, you accept these cookies.
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.
One of the best things about Alteryx is the ability to read in multiple files very easily and automatically combine them into a single dataset. This becomes a bit trickier when dealing with files that have different schemas or Excel files with multiple tabs. Adding both multiple excel files with multiple tabs, and having the schema change within each tab takes it to another level.
For most tools that already have “dynamic” in the name, it would be redundant to call them one of the most dynamic tools in the Designer. That’s not the case for Dynamic Input. With basic configuration, the Dynamic Input Tool allows you to specify a template (this can be a file or database table) and input any number of tables that match that template format (shape/schema) by reading in a list of other sources or modifying SQL queries. This is especially useful for periodic data sets, but the use of the tool goes far beyond its basic configuration. To aid in your data blending, we’ve gone ahead and cataloged a handful of uses that make the Dynamic Input Tool so versatile:
The Multi-Field Formula Tool offers the same functionality as the Formula Tool, but offers the added benefit of applying a function across multiple fields of data all at once. Gone are the days of writing the same function for multiple fields.
Say there are four fields with dollar signs ($) that need to be removed. It could be done with a Formula Tool and a function written for each field:
Here at Alteryx we believe in working smart, not hard. Building out reports to highlight business-critical metrics is a pretty smart way to track goals. Customizing those reports to everyone in the department, then distributing them as attachments to individual emails? That sounds like a lot of hard work. Scheduling those reports from a refreshing data source each month so you don’t have to remake or rerun the reports yourself - that’s genius. Logging into your work computer to open up Alteryx, then having to check the scheduled results before having any peace of mind those reports were delivered without a hitch? Hard.
One of the great features of the output tool is the option to take the file or table name (or part of it) from a field. It allows you to append a suffix, prepend a prefix, change the entire file name, or the entire file path. It also gives you the option whether to keep the field on output.
The Multi-Row Formula Tool functions much like the normal Formula Tool but adds the ability to reference multiple rows of data within one expression . Say, for example, someone was on the ground floor of a house and had a Formula Tool. They would only be able to talk to the people also on the ground floor. If they had a Multi-Row Formula Tool, though, they would also be able to talk to the people upstairs, in the attic, and in the basement as well.
These methods should work in most versions of Alteryx up to and including 10.1.
One of the most common issues we see from clients trying to read in a .csv file is that they are receiving an error starting “Too many fields in row x”, and because of this Alteryx can’t read in the file.
There are a couple of different ways you can resolve this error.
First, in the Input Data tool, you can tell Alteryx to treat read errors as warnings to allow the file to be read in.
This will change the Error to a Warning so that Alteryx can read in the file so you can investigate.
The other method is to read the file in with no delimiter. You can do this by changing the delimiter in the Input Data tool to \0.
Once you have your data parsed back out into its fields, you can use the Dynamic Rename tool to correct your field names, a select tool to remove the original field, and a simple Trim() function to remove the extra delimiter from your data.
This process is illustrated in the attached workflow, created in version 10.1.
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.
If you are developing with Alteryx's In-Database tools you may want to share the workflows with users who do not have as much database experience. Below is an example workflow to create a macro that will allow your users to select which fields are brought out of the in database tools without interacting with the in database tools directly.
The premise of the process is that you can stream out a single record of your table, then leverage a List Box tool in select mode to de-select the fields your user does not want to pull. From there, you can use Field Summary and Summarize to create a select statement that will be used to update a Dynamic Input In-DB tool.
To run in your environment, update the Connect In-DB tool to a connection that exists on your machine and start with a select all query.
Is there a workaround for not being able to use the Folder Browse Tool in the Gallery? Though it may not be as clean as being able to use the Folder Browse Tool, the simple workaround for this is to use the Text Box Interface Tool instead. This will allow the user to copy a directory path from Windows Explorer and paste it into the Text Box. In the workflow, all you need to do is connect the Text Box Tool to an Output Data Tool and have the Action Tool update the path portion of the Output Data Tool. You can even enter in a default path in the Default Text section of the Text Box if there is a path that is most commonly used.
Imagine this – you’re on vacation. You’re on a sandy beach where the sun has been relentless all day. It’s hot and you need something to cool you off. Ice cream would be perfect! The Find Nearest tool can help!
The Dynamic Replace Tool is an under-utilized tool in the Developer Toolset that is very powerful. It allows for dynamic formulas or conditions to be used in your workflow. It was first introduced in Alteryx 6.1 . It’s one of the few tools that is currently multi-threaded which makes is fast.
Upon creating a BINGO game, I came across a technique that I thought could be useful in "real world" scenarios for users who are attempting to iterate a process and then replenishing the data after a certain amount of time.
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!
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!
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.