7 Alteryx Tips you need to start using today
Below are my top tips for beginners to help you get the most out of Alteryx and start getting answers in minutes not hours.
- Turn on Connection progress to see record counts across your workflow
While connection progress shows when you run a module often it’s very useful to see it all the time, so make sure you change your properties and turn connection progress to show. To do so then bring up the properties for your workflow (click on the background of your canvas) and select the Show option under “Show Connection Progress”.
- Use Dynamic Rename to sort out header issues
Do you ever get data with the headers in the second row rather than the first? Or receive files with no headers and a separate field layout. Well slightly hidden away from beginners in the Developer tools is the Dynamic Rename tool – this has a couple of modes that can be very useful in this situation. Download a sample here.
- Use a record limit or yxdb in your module while developing with databases to cut down load times
If you’re working with a large database it can be slightly frustrating to wait for large datasets to download into Alteryx every time you run it. Either use the record limit option in the Input Tool (shown below) to temporarily limit the data you’re downloading, alternatively you can export the database to a .yxdb format and use that while building the workflow, then switch to the database pull down the live data when you’re happy with it.
- Use Containers to hide and disable investigative workflows
You’re doing some predictive analysis, you’re investigating the best model and which variables to include, once you’re done it’s tempting to save the module away somewhere and start again elsewhere. However if someone picks up your module they won’t have the full story, so use Containers (drag and drop tools onto them then minimise) and you’ll save all that important investigation in the module so anyone can see it.
- Only keep what you need
Don’t carry baggage around that you don’t need, make sure you cut down data as you go using Select tools (or the inbuilt Select tools in the likes of the Join and Spatial Match tools). This will speed up your module, in some cases dramatically. Pay particular attention to polygon fields and ensure you’re not duplicating these many times after a spatial match – it can create many GBs of data (using the record counts from tip 1 can be useful here)
- Use Multi-Field Formula to work with many records at once
The Multi-Field formula tool can really shortcut a formula you need to perform many times, e.g. if you need to clean up NULL records in your data then you can write
IF ISNULL([_CurrentField]) then 0 else [_CurrentField] endif
The special _CurrentField_ “field” will work across every field you’ve selected in your dataset and run formula, changing NULLs to Zeros in each instance.
- Download the Alteryx CReW Macros
These modules from the Alteryx community are really easy to install and provide loads of helpful macros that will make your Alteryx life even easier. Check out Adam Riley’s blog for a download and regular updates.