Engine Works

Under the hood of Alteryx: tips, tricks and how-tos.
13 - Pulsar
13 - Pulsar

When @estherb47 and I proposed the idea to @TuvyL & @MindiG a few months ago to present 100 tips in 40 minutes, they were like...




And Esther and I responded like…




They eventually came to their senses and reluctantly agreed to let two crazy ACEs from New York and London present this session in Sydney at Inspire APAC.




We compromised on 40 tips in 40 minutes and the tips were broken down into the following 5 sections:


Tip Category

Start Time





Prep & Blend


Esther Bezborodko

Documentation & User Settings


Joe Lipski

Navigation & Shortcuts


Joe Lipski

Input & Output


Esther Bezborodko





Enjoy the video below! A full list of tips that we planned to get through is listed below the video, although I’m sure we missed a couple and snuck a few more in!



Prep + Blend


  • Save field confiuration in Select tool
  • Select tool - remove/add prefix
  • Forget missing fields in Select tool
  • Join versus Find/Replace
  • Union only matching fields
  • Use copy + paste from Results window to get a text input
  • Use IIF instead of IF/THEN/ELSE
  • Use "[" in formula tool to find fields
  • Use Tile tool to create groups within groups
  • Use Summarize tool to sort as well


Documentation + User Settings


  • Add Images in comments
  • Double click comment or tool container to edit text
  • Explorer Box for help, input files, web pages, etc.
  • Set Location & Map Base Layer
  • Always show connection progress
  • Show Macro Indicator
  • Insert already opened macros with right click
  • Use Metadata to put macro into an existing tool category
  • Workflow Metainfo - particularly useful for gallery


Navigation + Shortcuts


  • Hover over tab for file path
  • Right click tab to open directory
  • Right click output link for directory
  • Mouse wheel to scroll through categories and tools
  • Ctrl + Tab to cycle through workflows
  • Add or Remove categories from tool bar
  • Pin Category to tool palette favourites
  • Right Click to show Depricated Tools (preparation)
  • Right click paste for exact paste location rather than ctrl + V
  • Right click and drag to zoon to certain part of workflow
  • Double click scroll wheel to zoom to all tools & ctrl + 0 to zoom to full workflow


Input + Output


  • Drag and drop files
  • Drag & drop apps
  • Drag & drop folders for Directory tool
  • Start input on line n
  • Disable all output tools
  • Add a Browse tool (Ctrl+Shift+B)
  • Use a Browse tool for output
  • Output to different sheets/files
  • Convert Browse tool to Output Data tool
  • Convert Output Data tool to Input tool with same data connection




  • (Esther) Align tools - Ctrl+Shift++ vertical, Ctrl+Shift+- horizontal
  • (Esther) Duplicate workflow to debug/troubleshoot
  • (Esther) Name tools
  • (Esther) Ctrl+F to find tools (really useful in use with naming tools)
  • (Joe) CReW Macros
  • (Joe) %Temp%
  • (Joe) ZoomIt for Demos & Training
  • (Joe) Getting Started Template C:\Program Files\Alteryx\Samples\en\Start Here\
15 - Aurora
15 - Aurora

And for the curious, it was 49 tips in 38 minutes! Perhaps more - tips are difficult to count and we definitely snuck in some extra favorites.

8 - Asteroid

Wowsers! LOVED this.  The tips presented here were amazing and will definitely help me in my Alteryx journey.  You two worked your magic well together!  And the post bullet point post above is a really nice timesaver.  Thanks! 

6 - Meteoroid

This was fantastic to watch and learn from.


Very engaging and helpful presentation!!!




7 - Meteor

Great presentation.  I use some the tips already but I learnt a lot more, so thank you.  

Joe, I am pretty sure I saw you at the Sydney user group meetup and I'm sorry I couldn't say hello!  My life has changed in the past 12 months because of Alteryx and I don't see myself looking back anymore.  This past year has definitely whetted my appetite for more.

I have one question about the converting output tool to an input tool.  When you do this and re-run the workflow, how does the data flow through?...or am I missing something?

Once again, a great presentation!!!

13 - Pulsar
13 - Pulsar

Thanks @RPS, both Esther and I made sure we were at at the User Group Meetup, so a shame we didn't get to say hello, but I'm sure our paths will cross again!


It's fantastic to hear about Alteryx changing your life, it's definitely been a similar journey for myself and I'm sure many many others! You should certainly have a think about sharing your journey via the Excellence Awards Program: https://community.alteryx.com/t5/Alteryx-Use-Cases/tkb-p/use-cases#!analytics-excellence-awards


In regards to the covert to output question, this is one that @estherb47 presented, so she might have her own use cases, but I've used it in the past for when creating a workflow that I know will write to a file then read in from that same file, you would probably want to use a block until done tool before writing too. The more common use case is probably just to save time having to drag a new input tool and configure it.


If you liked this, Esther and Joe reprised this session virtually recently with a 30 tips in 30 minutes that can be found here: https://community.alteryx.com/t5/Engine-Works/30-Tips-in-30-Minutes/bc-p/686709#M2576


There is some of the same content but some new content.


Repetition can assist with retention so why not watch both? 



6 - Meteoroid

Great video, thanks for sharing. :)