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Inspire Tips & Tricks: Calling out our users to share their favorite Alteryx tips & tricks

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15 - Aurora
15 - Aurora

When working with interface tools (drop down, listbox, textbox etc.), you can use the %Question.UniqueToolName% syntax to call the user input in any tool. This allows for easier debugging (you can now run an app like a normal workflow and give it test data in the workflow config panel) and a cleaner look (no need for action tools).

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9 - Comet
One of the another time saver was, automatic changing credentials when moving from one environment to another for e.g. Connection URL, User, Password.

This was done by reading alteryx code (source code which are to be modified to be placed under a single folder) as source files using Alteryx Tool, looking for exact places(regex) wherein credentials related information would be stored, changing it to desired value, finally again writing those as new source files to a separate target directory(needs to be created manually).

Since at times the credentials get encrypted, a dummy workflow was created with target environment related credentials, which will be again read as a source file to get encrypted credentials which will act as replacement values to above mentioned logic.

Courtesy: Got help while implementing this from community.

Thanks,
Rohit Bajaj
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9 - Comet
Another timesaver was to open the source code for particular Alteryx tools like say 'Salesforce Output' as if they were actual piece of Alteryx source code, and making necessary modifications to get desired outputs.

One of the use cases was to generate some custom detailed level logging.

This is much faster than trying to modify the source code in text editor and one can prior knowledge in Alteryx to best use without knowing the underlying technology in which the tool is itself designed.

Thanks,
Rohit Bajaj
Alteryx Certified Partner

I like to Right-Click > Paste to control where copied tools get placed on the canvas (rather than Ctrl-V).

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12 - Quasar
12 - Quasar

We can use an Action tool without another Interface tool feeding into it, for example: https://community.alteryx.com/t5/Data-Preparation-Blending/Directory-Read-From-a-Different-Directory...

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Alteryx
Alteryx

The new workflow navigation features

 

- Double click the scroll wheel on your mouse zooms to whole workflow.

- Right click drag selects an area of your workflow to zoom in to.

- Right click menu to zoom to specific tool containers.

Adam Riley
Principal Software Engineer
Tech Lead Core Engines, Alteryx
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16 - Nebula
16 - Nebula

This one should be a tip for folk - the Field Summary tool is fantastic!   Saved me fortunes of time rather than the way I would have done this in SQL by doing count-distinct on fields etc.

 

Bonus tip - the "Tour": When you put a browse after it, the 3rd output (labelled "I") even has a Tour function so that you can learn how to use this info and this tool without having to revert to a different blog post or help-text.   That's really thoughtful and useful and would be a great addition to other tools!

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11 - Bolide

Disable and/or delete all browse tools before scheduling workflows to run on your server.  This will help reduce memory consumption and overall server performance hindrances.

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Alteryx Certified Partner
Alteryx Certified Partner

Here are some thoughts:

 

  1. Filters:  Multiple Filters perform faster than a single filter.
  2. Range Formulas: Don't ask the obviously true question repeatedly.
  3. Find Replace vs Join.

Filters:

When working with large sets of data this is more apparent and the benefits can add up.  Suppose you are looking at a National file and want to find all households with children that own their own home and live in a specific geography.  This might look like:

 

 

Contains([CHILDREN: AGE 0-18 VERSION 3],"Y") AND
[HOMEOWNER: COMBINED HOMEOWNER-RENTER] == "H" AND
[FIPS ZIP CODE] == '49033'

You would actually be testing more conditions (in the US you would be testing 400+MM conditions) than if you first tested for Postal Code then filtered for Residency and/or Presence of Children separately.  The Postal Code would net you a few thousand records.  The subsequent filter/tests would get you down to the few records faster.

 

 

There are 169 households out of 139,709,868 records.  With one filter the job runs in 3:09 minutes.  With three filters the job runs in only 2:08 minutes.

 

Range Formulas:

I've seen this often:

 

 

IF
[LENGTH OF RESIDENCE] == 0 THEN 'Less than 1 year' ELSEIF
[LENGTH OF RESIDENCE] >= 1 AND
[LENGTH OF RESIDENCE] <= 5 THEN '1 to 5 years' ELSEIF
[LENGTH OF RESIDENCE] >= 6 AND
[LENGTH OF RESIDENCE] <= 10 THEN '6 to 10 years' ELSEIF
[LENGTH OF RESIDENCE] >= 11 AND
[LENGTH OF RESIDENCE] <= 15 THEN '11 to 15 years' ELSEIF
[LENGTH OF RESIDENCE] >= 16 AND
[LENGTH OF RESIDENCE] <= 20 THEN '16 to 20 years' ELSEIF
[LENGTH OF RESIDENCE] >= 21 AND
[LENGTH OF RESIDENCE] <= 25 THEN '21 to 25 years' ELSEIF
[LENGTH OF RESIDENCE] >= 26 AND
[LENGTH OF RESIDENCE] <= 30 THEN '26 to 30 years'
ELSE
'More than 30 years'
ENDIF

When processing the IF statement, you can shortcut the coding and run time with this logic:

 

 

IF
[LENGTH OF RESIDENCE] == 0 THEN 'Less than 1 year' ELSEIF
[LENGTH OF RESIDENCE] <= 5 THEN '1 to 5 years' ELSEIF
[LENGTH OF RESIDENCE] <= 10 THEN '6 to 10 years' ELSEIF
[LENGTH OF RESIDENCE] <= 15 THEN '11 to 15 years' ELSEIF
[LENGTH OF RESIDENCE] <= 20 THEN '16 to 20 years' ELSEIF
[LENGTH OF RESIDENCE] <= 25 THEN '21 to 25 years' ELSEIF
[LENGTH OF RESIDENCE] <= 30 THEN '26 to 30 years'
ELSE
'More than 30 years'
ENDIF

Once the first test is passed, you need not ask the lower range question again.

 

 

Timings for "Before" on 135,708,968 records are: 3:24 minutes versus 3:06 minutes.  The code is easier to create this way, but you could actually improve the performance by knowing your data.  If you know where your skew is in residency, you could code to asking that question first.  

 

Join vs Find Replace:

Join is AMAZING if Left and Right inputs have the same record count and order.  Suppose that you've used a select tool and done some functions to create new columns of data that you want to join back to the original data.  You can use the join and use the "Join by Record Position" configuration (radio button).  You can't get any faster than that.  Your data is NOT sorted.

 

If you are joining a Large set of data to a small set of data (Large is large and small is < 32,000 rows) the Find Replace offers you the ability to put the small data into memory and avoid the expensive sort.  Imagine with those 138 million records using a TILE tool and then looking up the eight (8) length descriptors from a text input tool.  The JOIN version runs in 3:40 minutes and the FIND REPLACE version runs in 3:09 minutes.  Adding to that difference, your data is now in LOR order so you might have to resort the data later.

 

FIND REPLACE also allows for case insensitive and partial matching.  If you're ever applying descriptions or labels to values, this is the way that I'd recommend you doing that substitution.

 

Cheers,

Mark

Alteryx ACE & Top Community Contributor

Chaos reigns within. Repent, reflect and reboot. Order shall return.
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Director, Customer Enablement
Director, Customer Enablement

My nice trick that I use all the time - how to compare two or more records.

Method A: Highlight two records in your data set using 'CTRL'+Click/Drag. Once the desired fields are highlighted, go to the upper-right corner of the results and click the new window (selected records)

Method B: Highlight two records in your data set using 'CTRL'+Click/Drag. Once the desired fields are highlighted, go the up and down arrows on the top bar of the results window and use them to toggle between all your selected records.