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Weekly Challenge

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Challenge #19: Excel Record Locator

Alteryx Alumni (Retired)

For this week’s challenge we can look at using Alteryx to automate a repetitive task.   The link to last week’s challenge (challenge #18) is HERE.

Use Case: Customer has 100's of xls files with 1 common sheet available in all workbooks. Through one process, the user would like to read across all of the xls files and return the values contained in specific cells - Row 2, Column 3 and Row 8, Column 2 for each sheet within each XLS workbook.

The result should be a table OR browse tool containing 3 columns: XLS File, Row2_ Column3, and Row8_Column2.

You will only have 2 xls files for this challenge, Book1 and Book2, but keep in mind that the use case is for 100s of Excel files with the same schema.  You won’t want to use 2 input tools since that would not scale to 100’s.  Also, for all data consumption, please check the box for First Row Contains Data.  This is because in the headers for an Excel file are in row #1.

Good luck and keep it simple, this should be an easy challenge!

Creative Director
Creative Director

The soultion has been posted above.

2016-04-04 12_21_13-Alteryx Designer x64 - Week19_DataPrep_RecordLocator_Beginner_Solution.yxmd_.png
Tara McCoy

Provided solution from @GeneR and @TaraM is more direct - attached mine below


- Added a row-ID using a multi-field formula (same as provided)
- Added a field that only held the value for the Row2 result, and a name column
- Same for the row 8 result, and a name column
- Filtered out all blanks
- Quick transpose
- job done...

Same outcome - just a different approach
Alteryx Certified Partner
Alteryx Certified Partner



I missed the K.I.S.S. principle here.

Alteryx ACE & Top Community Contributor

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

We actually used this one as a demo in a User Group meeting last year - just realized I already had the answer! Posted! :)


Solution: Tile (to get Record ID by XLS file name) > Transpose > Filter for Column 3/Row 2 (F3 & Tile # 2) and Column 2/Row 8 (F2 & Tile # 8) > Cross Tab

Used a directory tool, dynamic input, and tile tool

Alteryx Certified Partner

My solution was the same as the one provided.


Alteryx Certified Partner

Pretty much the same as the solution


Weekly Challenge 19.png
Alteryx Certified Partner

Ok, going through the back catalogue.

This was a nice and easy one and I assume everybody has done this in pretty much the same way:


I started by setting the path in the input tool to use a * to replace the filename of the Excel sheet, then set the filename to be brought in as a column in the input tool using the "Output Filename as Field" option. Then I used the multi-row formula to assign a Row ID, restarting the numbering sequence at each change in filename.
I then used a formula to determine where it was Row ID 2 and Row ID 8, assigning the column names as the value, and assign a column to highlight these rows, and a value field to return the value of column 3 where the Row Id was 2 and column 2 where the Row ID was 8.
I then simply removed the extraneous rows and cross-tabbed the data accordingly.

Alteryx Certified Partner