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Tool Mastery | Message


Message.pngThis 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 Message Tool on our way to mastering the Alteryx Designer:


The Message Tool within the Alteryx Designer is your own personal car alarm. This tool can provide you warnings or errors when your data doesn't meet a user-specified criteria or it can set up to tell you when data does not match.


The Message Tool can be set up to pick up records before, during and after the records have passed through the tool itself. This makes it useful for evaluating your dataset at different parts of your workflow.


Pic 1.png


One of the useful features of the message tool is the ability to select the message type you want:


1: Message

2: Warning

3: Field Conversion Warning

4: Error


Among others:


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If that wasn't enough - you can customize the message you get back!


Pic 3.png


Just take a look at this perfect use case which shows how to use the message tool and identify the row and fields which differ between datasets.


Another example is the threshold example. If you have an expected amount of records you think will pass through your workflow and want to be notified if this isn't the case. The Message Tool can be set up to send you one of the message types (workflow attached built in Alteryx 10.5).


By now, you should have expert-level proficiency with the Message 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 if you’d like your creative tool uses to be featured in the Tool Mastery Series.


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9 - Comet

Hi Jordan, 


I've got a pretty good handle on this tool, I believe, but I'm curious about the Input and Output file options. Could you explain a little bit more about how those work and possibly a use-case for them? 


I was thinking that it would maybe write the lines to a specific output if they meet the criteria specified in the message tool, but would not write them to that file if they did not meet the criteria. That doesn't seem to be the case in my test. I entered a file path and description, and they show up in the log below(it actually looked like it created a file for each of the 100K rows in my test file, at first. Eeek!), but don't seem to actually write anything to the file path I pointed to. 


Anyways, the reasoning for my question is that we are trying to update a .yxdb from a workflow that runs every other hour, but only want to update this .yxdb on the 5AM run. Currently, we use a filter for our excel files, and if there are 0 records, it does not overwrite the Excel file, however it does overwrite the .yxdb with 0 rows, thus deleting the data on the 7AM run. I know we've, as a team, come up with a few ways to make this work with conditional formulas and unions, but I am hoping for a more elegant solution. I thought I may have found it in the message tool, but we don't want to throw an error if there is no rows. We want it to stop processing that branch of the workflow without throwing an error at us every other hour. Perhaps it is a bug that the .yxdb is overwritten with 0 rows, given that this does not happen to the Excel files. 


Thanks in advance!

11 - Bolide

I've got a Message tool outputting a message with "Error" and in my Runtime settings I've set the workflow to "Cancel Running Workflow on Error", but even when this Message tool outputs an error the workflow continues running contrary to the Runtime settings.


When I choose the option "Error -  and stop passing records through this tool" the workflow stops successfully.


Is this a bug or by design for when "Error" is chosen?


Hi @Balders


The 'Error' message option will just be a message within the logs and have no relationship with the workflow properties.


The 'Error - And Stop Passing Records Through This Tool' will allow you to add gateways to your data stream and curate via the workflow properties.




Jordan Barker

Solutions Consultant

6 - Meteoroid

Can you customise the Output message from an app using the Message tool? I've tried it but it doesn't work. I can only customise it if I go to Interface Designer - Properties and I write it under Output Message but I cannot add dynamic fields there.