Specialized Functions

Last modified: September 09, 2021

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These functions perform a variety of specialized actions and can be used with all data types.


EscapeXMLMetacharacters(String): Replaces XML metacharacters with their escaped versions. There are 5 characters that are escaped.

Character Escaped Version
" "
' '
< &lt;
> &gt;
& &amp;


EscapeXMLMetacharacters("2>1&1<2") returns 2&gt;1&amp;1&lt;2


GetVal(index, v0,...vn): Returns the value (v0, ..., vn) specified by the 0-based index.


GetEnvironmentVariable(Name): Returns the environment variable specified in Name. To get a list of environment variables, on your machine go to Control Panel > System and Security > SystemAdvanced System Settings > Environment Variables. A list of system variables appears. Any value from this list can be used.


GetEnvironmentVariable(CommonProgramFiles) returns C:\Program Files\Common Files

GetEnvironmentVariable(OS) returns Windows_NT


Message(messageType, message, returnValue): Use with a conditional statement to output a message to the message log and update column data with a specified value when a condition is met.

The message type and text is shown in the Results window. If logging is enabled, the output log file also resembles this information.


messageType: A number that corresponds to the type of message:

  • 1: Messages
  • 2: Warnings
  • 3: Errors
  • 5: Conv Errors (field conversion errors)
  • 8: Files (input)
  • 9: Files (output)

message: The text of the message expressed as a string between quotes.

returnValue: A value to output to column data. This can be a numeric value (for example, 0), null, or a text string between quotes (for example, "False").


In this example, the Message function is used within a conditional expression to output a field conversion error message and update column data with a value of "False" if given date-time values do not contain valid time data.

If [Hour] = "0" and [Minutes] = "0" then
Message(5, "Invalid time in DateTime", "False")


NULL(): Returns a Null value.


RangeMedian(...): Calculates the median from a series of aggregated ranges.


ReadRegistryString(Key, ValueName, DefaultValue="): Returns a value from the registry.


Soundex(String): Returns the Soundex of String. Soundex creates a code based on the first character in the string plus three characters based on these items:

Character Soundex
Non-Alpha Characters (numbers and punctuation) -1
a, e, i, o, u, y, h, and w Ignored unless it's the first character in the string.
b, f, p, and v 1
c, g, j, k, q, s, x, and z 2
d and t 3
l 4
m and n 5
r 6


If the resulting code is only 2 or 3 characters long, Soundex uses zeros to fill out the code to 4 characters. For example, in the name Lauren, only the L, r, and n are translated (Lrn), so the resulting Soundex code is L650.

If the resulting code is more than 4 characters long, all characters after the fourth character are ignored. For example, in the name Patrick, the P, t, r, c, and k can be translated (Ptrck), but the resulting Soundex code is only 4 characters: P362.


Soundex_Digits(String): Returns the first 4 digits or the Soundex if none.

  • If there are digits (numbers) in the String, the first 4 digits are returned.
  • If there are no digits, the Soundex code is returned.
Example String Soundex_Digits
3825 Iris 3825
55555 Main 5555
14L Broadway 14
Commerce Street C562
L Street L236


TOPNIDX(N, v0, v1, ..., vn): Returns the 0-based index of the Nth from the maximum value from the list. With N==0, it is the same as MaxIdx(...).

  • N is the starting point. 
  • v0 is the indexed field (subsequent variables are optional).
  • vn is the goal.


TOPNIDX(0, [IndexedField], 5) returns the top 5 of a stream.


UrlEncode(String): Encodes UTF-16 String as a web-legal URL for both original engine and AMP. 


C:\temp\Alteryx URL Encode returns C:/temp/Alteryx%20URL%20Encode

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