Troubleshooting/FAQ

  1. I lost my Configuration window - how do I get it back?

  2. How do I turn annotations on and off?

  3. How can I append leading zeros to a field?

  4. I outputted to a spatial file, but there are no spatial objects in my new layer. What did I do wrong?

  5. What is the difference between the Transpose tool and the CrossTab tool?

  6. How can I change a word or a character or remove it?

  7. What happens when you union 2 files together where the fields aren't named exactly the same but they should be?

  8. How do you open multiple files that start with the same words? 

  9. How can I rename a field?

  10. How can I change a field type?

  11. My workflow takes a long time to run. How can I speed up the processing time?

  12. What is the Dynamic/Unknown field showing up in the Select tool?

  13. Some of the tools in my Tool Palette appear to have locks on them - how do I unlock them?

  14. What are the minimum and recommended system requirements for running Alteryx?

  15. I have more than one Allocate report in my workflow, but only one report was written. What went wrong?

  16. I would like to compare a couple workflows, side by side. How can I view more than one workflow at once?

  17. How can I save an expression?

  18. How can I split an output into multiple files?

  19. How can I remove the quotation marks around the text fields in my file when it is output to CSV format?

  20. I received the following error, "No Values found before GetMean()" - What does this mean?

  21. Can I run an Alteryx workflow from the Command Line?

  22. How Do I extract a layout file of my data file?

  23. I am trying to overwrite my input file but I keep getting the following error: "The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process." How can I do this?

  24. I have a multi-processor machine, yet Alteryx is only utilizing one processor. How can I ensure it utilizes each processor?

  25. I am using a simple filter: x > 2 and yet I am getting values equal to 2 in my TRUE stream. Is this a bug?

  26. I am using a Join Tool and there are a bunch of fields in displaying in red fonts. How do I make them go away?

  27. I am bringing in an Excel file as my input. My data fields have "NULL" values in them even though there is data in there. Why?

  28. When I bring in an Excel file I am given the choice of duplicate sheet names, one with a $ and one without. What is the difference?

  29. I see %temp% specified in the output for some samples. Does this behave like an Environment Variable?

  30. I just installed the latest version and I am missing some tools. Where did the geocoder go?

  31. How do I perform common Excel tasks in Alteryx?

  32. How do I perform a join using Alteryx and Tableau?

 

  1. I lost my Configuration window - how do I get it back?To get back a window that you may have accidentally closed, such as the Configuration window for example, go to View and select the Configuration window or the window you are missing.

    You can return to the default window settings at any time by going to Options > User Settings > Restore Defaults. This will dock the windows in the original orientation from the default Alteryx setting.

    For more information on customizing the user environment see the User Environment page.

    Also note you can double-click or right-click any tool and the Configuration window will become an active visible window.

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  2. How do I turn annotations on and off?There are a few ways to turn annotations on and off.

    Per Tool:You can turn them on/off per tool, meaning you want to keep some annotations while omitting others. To do this click on the individual tool. Go to Annotation from the Properties window and in the Display Mode, select the appropriate choice.

    Per Workflow : There is a toggle switch on the Workflow Configuration window where you can either turn all the annotations on or off for that particular workflow. Additionally you can have greater control leaving this feature on and controlling the annotations per tool as described above.

    Through Global Settings: You can set up the global settings so that Annotations will appear the same way for each and every workflow and tool.

    See Global Settings, Tool properties, Workflow properties for more information on annotations.

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  3. How can I append leading zeros to a field?

    Use the PadLeft(String, len, char) function, which pads the string to the left with the specified character to the specified length. For example: PadLeft([ZIP], 5, "0"].

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  4. I outputted to a spatial file, but there are no spatial objects in my new layer. What did I do wrong? When you output to a spatial file be sure you are outputting a spatial object with the output.

    Select the Output Data tool. From the Properties window, click on Configuration and specify the file name, type and location you are outputting to.

    Once you click save, an Advanced Options grid will appear in the Configuration Properties. In the second row of the grid choose the appropriate spatial object you would like the output layer to contain.

    Note: While using spatial tools, you may have more than one spatial object field in the data stream. When you are configuring the final Output Data tool, you must remember that spatial files will accept only one spatial object field.

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  5. What is the difference between the Transpose tool and the CrossTab tool? The Transpose and CrossTab tools are alike in that they both transform the orientation of your data, but are opposite in their behavior.

    The Transpose tool pivots horizontal data to a vertical axis. The CrossTab performs the reverse, pivoting vertical data to the horizontal axis, by summarizing the data on a grouping field.

    See the Transpose and CrossTab tool pages for more information.

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  6. How can I change a word or a character or remove it?

    See Functions for examples on creating expressions for strings.

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  7. What happens when you union 2 files together where the fields aren't named exactly the same but they should be?

    The nice thing about the Union tool is you have complete control over how the fields will line up.

    In this situation, let Alteryx get you most of the way there. When you hook up a Union tool, select the radio buttonAuto Config by Name.

    From the Configuration Properties, the Manually Config setting allows you to specify the field order individually. Note: when the mode is set to Manual Config, Alteryx assumes the configuration will not change at runtime. Therefore if anything is missing, an error will be thrown. Be careful to keep this configuration mode out of Analytic App/Macro actions.

    To reorder the way the columns will stack, click inside a field and click the arrows to relocate the column.

    Another way is to hook each input into its own Select tool and rename the fields within each select before passing them through the Union tool.

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  8. How do you open multiple files that start with the same words? Multiple files can be brought through a single input file. When configuring the input file, browse to the file path and type in as much of the name as the files all have in common followed by a* to recognize multiple characters, or?to recognize one character. Remember to include the file extension.

    Example: data\datafiles\ABCD_*.csv Will bring in every.csv file contained within the data\datafile directory whose name begins with ABCD no matter how many characters follow in the field name. So it will bring in ABCD_4.csv and ABCD012.csv.

    Example: data\datafiles\ABCD_?.csv Will bring in every.csv file contained within the data\datafile directory whose name begins with ABCD_ + 1 character. So it will bring in ABCD_4.csv but NOT ABCD_012.csv.

    See the Input Tool page for more information.

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  9. How can I rename a field? Primarily the best place to rename a field is through the Select tool.

    There are a number of tools that have an embedded select within the tool. Therefore you can rename a field there as well. Tools that contain an embedded select are: JoinJoin Multiple, Append Fields, Spatial Match, and Find Nearest.

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  10. How can I change a field type? Primarily the best place to change a field's type is through the  Formula tool. There is more control for custom conversion through the formula tool.

    The next best place to change a field's type is the Select tool or, there are a number of tools that have an embedded select within the tool. Therefore you can change a field's type there as well. Tools that contain an embedded select are: JoinJoin Multiple, Append Fields, Spatial Match, and Find Nearest.

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  11. My workflow takes a long time to run. How can I speed up the processing time?There are a couple of ways to optimize a workflow to speed up the time it takes to run a workflow.

    1. The #1 way to speed up processing time is to use Selecttool to remove fields you are not using as early as possible in a stream.

       

    2. Minimize the time it takes to process and initialize spatial data by writing to *.yxdb files. Any spatial file that will remain static should be sorted on the spatial object and then outputted to an *yxdb file. Such as in the case of using the Spatial Match tool,  you can bring in the *.yxdb file directly and will bypass the backend process of reading in and sorting the spatial file.

     

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  12. What is the Dynamic /Unknown field showing up in the Select tool?The Dynamic/Unknown field shows up and is checked by default in the configuration properties of the Select tool (other tools as well).

    The purpose of this field is that it allows new fields to come in, in cases when your input file may change. You have the ability to determine where new fields will be placed in the file by moving this field's position.

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  13. Some of the tools in my Tool Palette appear to have locks on them - how do I unlock them?There are several different add-on options to the basic bundle of Alteryx that a user can purchase. Based on the license installed on your system, only the corresponding tools will be available. Tools that are not licensed still show up, but are in fact locked. A workflow will fail to run when it comes to a locked tool.

    If a tool is appearing to be locked, and you feel this is in error, email Fulfillment. Someone will contact you promptly and walk you through your setup to make sure your serial number matches your installed license so you can have the full functionality you have subscribed to.

    To inquire about the different add-on options to the basic bundle or to upgrade your configuration, contact your sales representative.

     

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  14. What are the minimum and recommended system requirements for running Alteryx? The minimum and recommended system requirements are referenced here. Ideal system configurations depend on the type of analysis you are conducting. Some processes are much more memory intensive and depend on other factors including file location, file size, other programs that are running simultaneously, etc.

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  15. I have more than one Allocate report in my workflow, but only one report was written. What went wrong?You need to specify a file prefix. From the Configuration Properties there is a box to the right of Output Format called File Prefix. While this box is optional, you MUST create a prefix if there are multiple Allocate reports in the workflow. Otherwise each report will overwrite each other as it is created downstream.

    See the Allocate Report page for more information.

     

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  16. I would like to compare a couple workflows, side by side. How can I view more than one workflow at once?In the workflow window, where the workflows are built, notice the tabs across the top. These allow you to see the workflows you currently have open and allow you to toggle from one workflow to the next. Right click on a tab for additional display options. You can tile multiple workflows to compare side by side.

     

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  17. How can I save an expression ?Expressions can be saved so that they can be used over and over again without having to create them from scratch.

    Create your expression using a combination of selecting variables and inserting them into functions . Once you are happy with the formulated expression, click Save and specify a name for your expression. Your expression is now saved for future use.

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  18. How can I split an output into multiple files?

    Connect an Output Data tool to the data stream and specify the file type and location. From the Options: specify how many records to be output into a single file. If the specified number is less than the total number of records, multiple files will be outputted. The resulting multiple files will be named sequentially, i.e. file.dbf, file_2.dbf, etc.

    Another multi file output option, is to do so according to values of a particular field. From the Configuration Properties of the Output Data tool, check the box: Take File Name From Field. When this box is checked, a separate file will be written out for each value of a particular field. Additionally you can chose to: Append Suffix or Prefix to File/Table Name, Change a file name or change the entire file path.

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  19. How can I remove the quotation marks around the text fields in my file when it is output to CSV format?

    Default processing adds quotes when:

    1) An empty field value is replaced with "". This is so it can differentiate from NULL.

    2) A field value that contains leading or trailing whitespace becomes quoted. Whitespace outside of quotes in a CSV gets ignored by most software.

    3) The field contains delimiters.

    4) The field contains single or double quotes.

    There are 3 options for quoting in a CSV file from the Output Data tool. Choosing Never, will never add quotes to output fields.

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  20. I received the following error, "No Values found before GetMean()" - What does this mean?

    Check your configurations upstream. If there is an Allocate Append tool, be sure the spatial object specified in the drop down selection is a polygon object and NOT a point object. If the error is coming from a Reporting Map tool, ensure you are not choosing Smart Tiling on a String field as a Thematic mapping tile mode.

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  21. Can I run an Alteryx workflow from the Command Line?

    Yes you can. To run a workflow from a DOS prompt simply add the path to the Alteryx executable in your Environmental Variables settings and then create a batch script with the workflow you’d like to run. The batch script would only need the executable name and the workflow name.  For example:

    AlteryxEngineCmd.exe   Test_MODULE.yxmd

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  22. How Do I extract a layout file of my data file?

    A layout file can be created via the Select tool. Link a select tool up to your data stream and go to Options> Save/Load Field Configuration> and specify the file name and file location. A *.yxft (Alteryx Field Type) file will be written out and readable in any text editor.

    Another option is to Use the Field Info tool.

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  23. I am trying to overwrite my input file but I keep getting the following error: "The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process." How can I do this?

    You can overwrite your input file by simply adding one of the following "blocking tools" to your workflow: Block Until Done, AutoField, Sort, or Unique

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  24. I have a multi-processor machine, yet Alteryx is only utilizing one processor. How can I ensure it utilizes each processor?

    Some program has told the operating system to only let Alteryx use a single processor. To specify which processors Alteryx can use:

    1. go to the Windows Task Manager

    2. Click on the Processes tab

    3. Right-click on the AlteryxGui.exe and select Set Affinity...

    4. Check the processors that you would like Alteryx to utilize.

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  25. I am using a simple filter:[Value] > 2and yet I am getting values equal to 2 in my TRUE stream. Is this a bug?

    Check the data type of the field you are filtering on. Most likely this field is a double. This is not a bug, it is how computers store numbers. The value of 2 stored as a double with 16 decimal places of precision is actually somewhere between 1.9999999999999999 and 2.0000000000000019.

  26. I am using a Join Tool and there are a bunch of fields in displaying in red fonts. How do I make them go away?

    Each time the Join tool is configured it remembers the fields that were there each configuration. If the fields are not currently there, they are still remembered by the tool and appear in red. From theOptionsbutton, selectForget Missing Fields.The red fields will be dropped.

  27. I am bringing in an Excel file as my input. My data fields have "NULL " values in them even though there is data in there. Why?

    Most likely, different cells have different data formats associated with them. When bringing in XLS or XLSX input, be sure of the following:

    If using the other Microsoft Excel Legacy XLSX option, this occurrence is due to a well-documented limitation of the Microsoft Jet Engine which is what Alteryx uses to read Microsoft files. By default, Microsoft reads through the first 8 rows of data to determine the field type of a column. It then passes this information to Alteryx and that is what we use to read the file.

    1. The user has the choice to work around this issue or fix it in their registry. The workaround includes the following:

      1. From the Input Data tool configuration, check option 6: "First row contains data." This will force all fields as V_String.

      2. Configure the Dynamic Rename tool to "Take Field Names from First Row of Data."

      3. Use the Auto Field Tool to properly assign the best field type for each data column.

    The fix for this involves changing a setting in your registry. These instructions are being provided as well as document from Microsoft, as Alteryx cannot be sure that changing this setting will not cause problems with other applications. For more information on this issue: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/189897.

    To change the Registry setting:

        1. Go to Start > Run and type "regedit"

        2. In the registry go to HKey Local Machine > Software > Microsoft > Jet > 4.0 >Engines > Excel

        3. Double Click: TypeGuessRows

        4. Change the value to 0 (zero)

      • NOTE: For performance reasons, setting the TypeGuessRows value to zero (0) is not recommended if your Excel table is very large. When this value is set to zero, Microsoft Excel will scan all records in your table to determine the type of data in each column.

  28. When I bring in an Excel file I am given the choice of duplicate sheet names, one with a $ and one without. What is the difference?

    The difference is that a table with a $ references a worksheet contained in the Excel file whereas a table without a $ references a range of cells to import. In most cases the range incorporates all cells so there is no difference when bringing in the file.

    As a best practice, the recommendation is bringing in tables with a $ in order to ensure you are referencing the entire worksheet because if records are added and or incorporated in the range, you will miss some records.

    For more information:

    http://www.infocaptor.com/dashboard/excel-cell-ranges-using-sql-named-unnamed-odbc-jdbc

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  29. I see %temp% specified in the output for some samples. Does this behave like an Environment Variable?

    The %temp% string will reference the system temp directory of the machine Alteryx is running on. The %temp% is not an environment variable.  It may look similar, but it cannot be expected to behave the same as the environment variable of the same name.

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  31. I just installed the latest version and I am missing some tools. Where did the geocoder go?

    The Macros that require data installs are now installed by those data installs. You will need to install the latest datasets to get additional content. Visit our Community page with your technical and product support questions or if you need a new shipment of data installation media.

    This impacts the following Macros: US Geocoder, Canada Geocoder, Non-Overlapping Drive Time, Profile Comparison Report, Profile Detail Report, Profile Rank Report.

  32. How do I perform common Excel tasks in Alteryx?

    The following blog article provides the most common manipulations and how you might approach them using Alteryx:

    http://www.theinformationlab.co.uk/2015/03/12/alteryx-101-for-excel-users/

  33. How do I perform a join using Alteryx and Tableau?

    The following blog article provides details on the different types of joins:

    http://www.theinformationlab.co.uk/2015/02/05/joining-data-tables-tableau-alteryx/

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