Alteryx Database File Format

Last modified: September 09, 2021

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The Alteryx database file format, .yxdb, is a file type that can hold data columns, values, and spatial objects. The .yxdb format is the most efficient file type for reading and writing in Alteryx because it has no size limit, is compressed for maximum speed, and includes additional metadata that references the source of the data and how the data was created. While there is no limit to the number of rows or file size, there is a size limit of 2 GB for a single cell in a 64-bit environment. All Alteryx products have read and write support for .yxdb files.

Why is .yxdb the most efficient input/output file type?

A .yxdb file uses the exact same column types, structures, and formats as Alteryx does internally, so it works best with the program.  There is no row limit so you can have greater than 2 billion rows. There is not any other file format, other than text, that supports as many rows.

Is a .yxdb file compressed?

Yes, .yxdb files are minimally compressed for maximum speed, not maximum compression. If you have a spatial index, the compression is not very noticeable. Without a spatial index, the compression can still be decent at times.

If I want to transform data in a file that contains a spatial object, but do not interact with the spatial object, is it still most efficient to use a .yxdb?

Yes, but in this case, you should turn off the Spatial Index in the advanced options so you don't waste any time and space creating it.

What other information is stored in a .yxdb file?

When Alteryx writes to a .yxdb file, the data in the Source and Description columns are saved in the file so you always know how a column was created or what vintage of the underlying data values are. Visit the Column Info tool for an example of this metadata.

  • Source: Contains the tool, file, or process the column came from. Might also contain additional metainfo, like a specific dataset from a plugin.
  • Description: Might or might not contain information. Additionally, the user can add their own field description via the Select tool, and this information stays associated with the column.
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