Alright! You’ve just finished your workflow, clicked run, and you have the expected results, hooray! Now what? Are you ready to send it to your team or the client? Most likely not. As your workflow gets more complex, you’ll notice that your canvas looks unorganised and untidy.
As much as I enjoy doing research on any topic, in this opportunity, I enjoyed reading blogs and discussions about documentation in Alteryx. I outlined the best practices I’ve used to make beautiful documentation so far in this post. As I am still learning, I encourage you to make appropriate adjustments to these findings.
Here we go!
1. Hide Annotations
As you can see, Alteryx by default maintains annotations (descriptions) regarding the tool’s performance. I prefer to hide all of them.
To do this, click on the canvas to display the workflow configuration window. Choose Hide from the Annotations options under Canvas, and voila-it worked. All annotations disappeared. If you want to keep annotations, you can customise them to a short version by clicking the “Label” icon. Find out where to find it here.
2. Comment Tool
Yes, I hid the annotations, but I still want to add comments about what each tool does. It will make more sense soon.
To ensure that each tool is clearly explained and easy to follow, I do my best to explain them well. Usually, I do this at the very end when no further changes are needed because the comment box will not be fixed to the tool. The best part is that each comment box can be personalized to have a different colour background. Why is this useful? First impressions matter, so you want your team or the client to understand what’s going on at a first look. Organising the tools based on colour coding is one of my favourites! Hence, input/output tools go in green, preparation goes in blue, and joining in purple.
3. Container Tool
For really large and complex workflows, I recommend using the container tool instead. You can learn more about it here.
4. Tool Alignment
You have improved your workflow, but you now notice that the connections between the lines are not all straight. You can fix this by selecting all the tools you want to align and press Ctrl+Shift+minus(-) to align horizontally. If you want to align vertically, press plus(+).
5. Meta Info
We are almost done with the workflow. If you want to explain your workflow clearly, a good place to do it is in the Meta Information. Click on the Canvas again to display the workflow configuration window. Next to Events, you can click MetaInfo and in the description section, you can add a brief explanation about your workflow.
6. Final details
Details are so important when we’re doing documentation. So now, you want to add a title for your workflow, explanation, logos, your name, and so on. You could do it with the comment tool. You can add images with a comment tool. You will see the Background option under the configuration window at the bottom.
This is all I can share with you, for now, hope you enjoyed it. As a result of the best practices I have presented to you, I created the workflow below for my first presentation at The Data School. I look forward to seeing how you document yours.