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Challenge #56: Parsing and Counting Hashtags

Director, Customer Enablement
Director, Customer Enablement


Last week's solution can be found HERE.



This week's challenge, by its title, sounds like a simple task. However, a quick look at the data will show that it's not going to be just a summarize tool. If you have been meaning to finally learn the RegEx tool, this exercise will be a great first foray with a relatively simple expression. In this exercise, we will take a set of very ugly data, parse it to find hashtags within a text field, find out how many times the hashtag was written, and what users used the hashtag.


If you would like to learn more about our RegEx Tool - check out our help on the tool. If you would like a simpler RegEx overview, check this interactive learning out.


Good luck!






Alteryx Certified Partner

I'm not sure the results provided are correct as they show a #followme result against id_str_13, but that text does not contain a hashtag, unless I'm missing something?


That aside, my solution is as follows:


I first created a RecordID field, then used Regex to parse the text field using the following:


This splits the text by a hashtag and the end of the attached word. I used split to rows to provide a row per hashtag. I then filtered out the null rows, summarised and provided a count of the hashtags per id_str and used crosstab to pivot the data.
I then replaced nulls with zeros using the "Data Cleansing" tool and created the total.



Alteryx Certified Partner
Alteryx Certified Partner

Of course I wanted to solve this without the use of RegEx (just being difficult).  I don't agree that id_str_13 should have any counts.


Screen Shot 2017-02-06 at 12.18.02 PM.png
Alteryx ACE & Top Community Contributor

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

Good catch @mceleavey and @MarqueeCrew, I have updated the start file to have the correct expected results.


Nice challenge, have a great week guys!





Alteryx Certified Partner






I used \#[a-zA-Z\d]+ to grab and tokenize into rows. Biggest difference is I am using the multi-field formula tool to rename and to return binary results for hashtag/string flags. this is in contrast to a formula and dynamic rename. As always, there's more than one way to shine a penny!

I have attached my work for a deep dive-- fun stuff! 




I would like to know how the expression #.*?\> works. I was also trying to solve the challenge using RegEx tool but can't seem to figure out the correct expression to use. Appreciate your feedback on this :-)

Alteryx Certified Partner

In regex the .*? part simply means "take everything in between". From the dropdown you'll see a list of Regex tools that allow you to then construct things like that seen in the example.

The # here, followed by the .*? simply means take everything from the # symbol to...

I then used the \> which means "the end of the word".

So, in speech terms, it literally translates to "take everything from the # symbol to the end of the word".


Regex really isn't as scary as it first appears. I myself had no Regex experience before using Alteryx but it's really easy once you get your head around it.


Try experimenting with the dropdown list:




Feel free to message me if you have any questions or if you have a specific issue with which you're struggling.


Thank you so much for the explanation. I will surely reach out to you guys here in the forum should I need help on anything about Alteryx. Thanks

Alteryx Certified Partner

Also, a great reference for experimentation is You can paste your own test text in the text box and get real-time feedback on how your regular expression evaluates on that text.