Build Workflows

Version:
Current
Last modified: March 27, 2020

Add or Remove Tools

To add a tool to a workflow, select any tool from the tool palette and drag it onto the workflow canvas, or right-click the workflow to access a menu to insert tools. See Tool Categories.

To remove a tool from a workflow, select the tool and use the Delete key on your keyboard.

Connect Tools

To connect tools in a workflow, drag a tool from the tool palette onto the canvas near the output anchor output anchor icon of another tool. You can also drag the output anchor output anchor icon from an existing tool to the tool you just added.

Connections go in through the left side (or top) of a tool and out through the right side (or bottom) of a tool. Some tools accept multiple inputs indicated by multiple input anchors multiple input anchor icon. Some tools have optional inputs indicated by a gray input anchor. All tools with an output anchor output anchor icon can be output to multiple streams.

Select a tool to display the incoming and outgoing connector indicators. The connector input to a tool displays in green. The connector output from a tool displays in blue.

Delete a Connection

Select the connection and use the Delete key on your keyboard. Downstream tools are not deleted.

Insert a Tool Between a Connection
  • Right-click the connection and select Insert in Connection, then select a tool.
  • Drag a tool from the tool palette or anywhere on the canvas and hover over an existing connection.
  • Right-click the output anchor output anchor icon and select Insert After, then select a tool.
Connect Multiple Tools At Once

You can view a list of possible tool connections and make multiple connections at the same time. For example, this is useful for connecting multiple data inputs to a single downstream tool.

To make multiple connections...

  1. Select a tool on the canvas. If the tool accepts both an input and output, specifically select the input anchor or output anchor of the tool to determine the list of possible connections to or from that anchor.
  2. Right-click the selected anchor and select View Possible Connections.
    1. In the Possible Connections window, select one or more tools from the Output Connections list to connect to one or more tools from the Input Connections list.
    2. Under Connection Type, select whether to make the connection Wired or Wireless.
    3. Select Connect.

If you view possible connections for multiple selected tools, only valid connections from output to input anchors are shown.

View Connection Properties

Double-click any connection to view and modify its properties in the Configuration window:

  • Name: Enter a name for the connection.
  • Wireless: Select to set a connection to wireless.
  • Fields: In the table, view data going through the connection.

For wireless connections, a wireless connection icon wireless connection icon with colored bars indicates the number of connections coming into or out of an anchor:

  • One bar equals one connection.
  • Two bars equals two connections.
  • Three bars equals three or more connections.

The connection becomes invisible unless the tool is selected.

Workflow Tab Right-Click Options

Select a workflow tab on the canvas to select it, then right-click the tab to display a menu with these options:

  • Close: Close the workflow.
  • Close All But This: Close all open workflows except this one.
  • Close All: Close all open workflows.
  • Duplicate: Create a duplicate of this workflow.

Designer changes path dependencies from relative to absolute. See Workflow Dependencies for more information.

Tool Right-Click Options

Select a tool on the canvas, then right-click to display a menu with these options:

  • Cut: Cut the selected tool from the canvas.
  • Copy: Copy the selected tool.
  • Delete: Delete the selected tool.
  • Zoom: Select to:
    • Zoom In
    • Zoom Normal: Cancel zoom.
    • Zoom Out
    • All: Zoom to fit all tools in the window.
    • Selected tools: Zoom to fit all selected tools in the window.
  • View Possible Connections: View a list of possible tool connections to or from a selected tool. 
  • Add to New Container: Adds the selected tool or tools to a Container Tool. See Tool Container Tool.
  • Bring to Front: Send the selected tool to the front if tools are overlapping. This is useful for layering Comment boxes or ordering overlapping tool annotations. See Comment Tool.
  • Send to Back: Send the selected tool to the back if tools are overlapping. This is useful for layering Comment boxes or ordering overlapping tool annotations. See Comment Tool.
  • Toggle between Make Incoming Connections Wired and Make Incoming Connections Wireless to change how the connections display.
  • Toggle between Make Outgoing Connections Wired and Make Outgoing Connections Wireless to change how the connections display. Input and output anchors with a wireless connection display the icon , which presents colored bars indicating the number of connections coming into or out of an anchor (connection becomes invisible unless the tool is selected):
    • One bar equals one connection.
    • Two bars equals two connections.
    • Three bars equals three or more connections.
  • Cache and Run Workflow: Runs the workflow and caches all data up to the selected tool. You can use multiple caches in a single workflow.
     

    When you interact with a tool that has been cached, you can view the tool's configuration without clearing the cache. However, changing the tool's configuration will release the cached data. Alteryx clears caches when you close the workflow.

    To cache a tool

    1. Right-click the tool.
    2. Select Clear Cache. Alteryx creates multiple cache points simultaneously.

You can work with multiple cache points by holding down the Control key and clicking individual cache points.

Not all tools and workflows can be cached. The tool must not be upstream or downstream of another tool. The tool can have only a single output anchor and it cannot be part of a loop. In-DB tools cannot be cached.

  • Clear Cache: Remove a cache.

To clear cache for a tool

  1. Right-click the tool.
  2. Select Cache and Run Workflow.

    Alteryx clears multiple cache points simultaneously. To clear cache on one or more tools individually, select the tool or tools, and then right-click to view the menu.
  • Convert to Macro Input: Convert a selected input tool to a macro input tool. See Macro Input Tool.
  • Insert After: Select a tool to insert after the selected tool. See Tool Categories
  • Add Browse After: Add a Browse tool after the selected tool. If the selected tool has multiple output anchors, an option to add a Browse tool to each output will be available.
  • Properties: Place the focus on the Configuration window for the selected tool.

Select a tool to display the incoming and outgoing connector indicators. The connector input to a tool displays in green. The connector output from a tool displays in blue.

Select two or more tools to see alignment options.

  • Align Horizontally: The selected tools align horizontally with the selected tool that was placed on the canvas first.
  • Align Vertically: The selected tools align vertically with the selected tool that was placed on the canvas first.

Select three or more tools to see distribution options.

  • Distribute Horizontally: The selected tools are arranged to have even space between them along the horizontal axis.
  • Distribute Vertically: The selected tools are arranged to have even space between them along the vertical axis.

Copy and Paste

To control where an item pastes onto the canvas, select the item, copy it (Ctrl + C), select where you want to paste the item, and then paste it (Ctrl + V). Designer pastes the item at the same point as the cursor.

Save Files

Designer prompts you to save unsaved workflows when you have one or more unsaved workflows and you attempt to exit the application. Designer displays Save changes to the following workflows? and provides these options:

  • Save Selected: Select the workflows you want to save and then select Save Selected. Designer saves the selected workflows and closes. Any workflows you do not select are not saved.
  • Discard Changes: Select Discard Changes to discard all changes and exit without saving.
  • Cancel: Select Cancel to return to the canvas.
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