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Tool Mastery | Tile

Alteryx Alumni (Retired)

1.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 Tile Tool on our way to mastering the Alteryx Designer:

The Tile Tool is one of those Designer tools that appears to be nothing spectacular, but secretly simplifies a number of operations that would otherwise be labor intensive. The Tile Tool will never be as important as the Input Data Tool, as versatile as the Download Tool, make something as beautiful as the Render Tool, or be as totally rad as the Lift Chart (I mean just look at that icon, bro). Basically, if the Designer was the Beatles, the Tile Tool would be Ringo Starr. But hey, even though Ringo wasn’t the most important, handsome, or charismatic of the bunch, he still made impact in the world of music. And that’s just what the Tile Tool is about – impact. Check out the ways the Tile Tool can impact your Designer use and significantly reduce the difficulty of some operations:

  • Create a “group by” record ID

Simply use the Tile Method “Unique Value” and select the field(s) you would like to have the record IDs “grouped” to. This will reset the record ID (renamed from the “Tile_SequenceNum” field) counter for each unique value in your specified Unique Fields:



Just like before, use the Tile Method “Unique Value” and select the field(s) to determine uniqueness, the “Tile_Num” field will assign a new number (it can function as an ID) to each unique value that occurs:


You can use the same approach (Tile Method “Unique Value”), specifying your cross-tab “New Column Headers” field as your Unique Field, to properly reshape datasets that might have missing values prior to a cross-tab. This is done by using the “Tile_SequenceNum” to group the data values in the cross-tab, requiring that each record of each field is listed individually, rather than with an aggregation method:

5.png 6.png

  • Splitting your data set

Equal parts? Try Tile Method “Equal Records” and specifying how many splits you want in your data by using “Number of Tiles”:


Equal sum? You guessed it – Tile Method “Equal Sum”:


  • Binning numeric values in your data set

Want to determine bins or your own and determine where each record falls? Use Tile Method “Manual” and enter Tile Cutoffs to determine where your tiles begin/end:

tile2.PNG 10.png

All the examples above are included in the attached workflow, Tile.yxmd. Want to try your own rebinning of tile assignments? Try adapting the attached workflow, Rebinning Tiles for the Tile Tool.yxmd.

By now, you should have expert-level proficiency with the Tile 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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17 - Castor
17 - Castor

Hey @MattD,


These tool mastery series are absolutely fantastic - I'm going through every tool one by one and building exercises for myself to learn them - so this is fantastic.


Few questions:

- In your next tool mastery - would you be open to add a few challenging exercises so that the student of this tool can make sure they really get deeply into the tool (not just read the blog, but get their hands dirty)

- Would you be willing to do one of these on the Multi-field binning tool too?

- I'm also really interested in getting my head around the Calgary tools - do you think that it would be possible to do a Mastery article on these (along with some pretty challenging exercises)?   


Thank you again for these documents Matt - they really are valued.


Alteryx Alumni (Retired)

Hey @SeanAdams!



Oh man, I'm thrilled the series is helping so much! Please, keep the feedback coming! We want them to help communicate Designer proficiency as best as we can. As of right now, the format we try to fit to for Tool Mastery includes complete examples rather than exercises, just to help communicate the tool applications as completely as possible. I love the enthusiasm to apply the concepts right out of the gate, though! I'll see if we can't organize a better way on our end to have the weekly exercises include similar concepts that we introduce through this series to try to meet that need for you and other users with your gusto! In the meantime, have you tried your hand on our #Santalytics exercises from last holiday season? They're quite involved, and require you to apply a lot of these advanced techniques (like the ones in the Tool Mastery Series) to complete a solution (you can find our posted solutions in the Engine Works Blog by searching #Santalytics). I think, for a user of your expertise, they would be a great exercise of your Alteryx skills!


Also, I'm happy to bump the Multi-Field Binning Tool and Calgary Tools to our priority list of tools to approach in the coming series releases. Please, don't be shy if you'd be at all interested in guest authoring any of these topics as you're mastering the concepts yourself! We'd love to continue to get your perspective and collaborate on the ideas you've been contributing to the Community as of late.


Thanks for your exceptional engagement, Sean! You rock!


17 - Castor
17 - Castor

@MattD- you're a legend, thank you.


My thought around the exercises is not that far off your suggestion.   I think you don't want to eliminate any of the goodness in the way that you write these documents now, focusing on a demonstration of the capabilities and how-to use them.   Rather than eliminating, could we augment.   For example - let's take one of the simplest tools in the pack - the countRecords.     The tool mastery for this one could be less than a page long, but then there are some really interesting challenges you could set for folks in the last few lines of the post - example below.    I absolutely love your idea of also cross-referencing to weekly challenges or actual user issues raised on the discussion boards (that way you don't have to create these exercises from scratch :-)).


IF you keep the excellence of the tool mastery series as they are (and I really do appreciate that you work so hard to cover the various different use cases), but append a few challenges to the bottom (as shown below) I think you can ramp up the engagement so that people actually WANT to complete all of them (you could even give badges out :-)), but also it will increase the skill level because actually using a tool drives the mastery into the brain.


On the #Santalytics exercises - I previously thought that the door had closed on that - but now that you tell me that I can still participate, I'm on it!


example below - thank you @MattD





<insert the usual tool mastery goodness for  the count records tool here>

Finally - for those who want to practice; apply; challenge and stretch themselves to build true mastery - we've included 3 optional challenges:

a) Beginner:   Given a set of sale data from stores around the country - can you count how many different unique store IDs there are.   Constraint: using only 2 tools (Unique; and CountRecords) <attach sample data>

b) Intermediate: Given the same sale data - which store had the largest overall percentage of transaction count?  Constraint: Use exactly one of each of these Summarize; Count; Formula; Append; Sample

c) Advanced: give the exercise posted by a user here - but specify that it must be dynamic (i.e. using the Count tool to count columns), must throw an error if count of fields is not an even number, and should preferably use a solution like @BenMoss or @patrick_digan provided.


Ridiculous quote of the day: 

"TO BATTLE" he cried, bravely waving his wooden leg!









Alteryx Alumni (Retired)

I love it. You definitely have described the best format for learning and applying each tool in the above. We’re going to use your feedback to enhance the series as we move forward with it! Unfortunately, due to competing priorities, it may be a little bit before we see the articles themselves posted with exercises attached – however, I have already circled back with the team and we’ve discussed how to more consistently mirror topics between the Weekly Exercises and Tool Mastery series so that we can provide an outlet to apply those techniques in the interim. We have you to thank for that!


Thank you for going above and beyond on this one,  @SeanAdams!


11 - Bolide

@MattD, would it be possible to also detail the "Smart Tile" functionality of the tile tool in this article? I believe there may be extra complexity depending on the nature of the input data (contains negative values vs not) with this mode which may be helpful to document. 




6 - Meteoroid

Hey, this article was so enlightening to read!

Now I can envisage so many different applications to it, that I'm currently reviewing some workflows to use it more.


Thanks for sharing it

I really love the "master it here" links in Tool-Mastery pages. It really helps to see how the different tools can be combined to solve a problem. For example, I was reading the Tool-Mastery document on Text-to-Columns tool and before I could finish I have learnt about the Tile tool.