This is Part II (the last part, I promise) of my sharing on tools and tips that you should use when building Alteryx workflows, organising and documenting along the way.

If you have not read Part I, please head over there right now as I covered important basics over there. Now, I’ll be talking about…

The Extras

…the finishing touches. These are the things that you can use/do to add more useful information to your workflow, or tidy things up to enhance the readability and aesthetics.

Annotations

Annotations are not tools. They are more like a property that is built into every tool in Alteryx. Simply go the configuration panel of any tool, click on the annotation button (refer to pic), and add the text that you want into the textbox.

The textbox allows you to enter multiple lines of text, but I strongly discourage that. Instead, consider using annotations as short, little post-it notes that remind you (or inform others) the broad uses/configurations of the tools in your workflow, without the need to click into the configuration panel for each of them. For example, I use them to highlight the aggregation level of summarize tools, whether a select tool is used to drop any fields, the purpose of a formula tool, etc.

Before annotations…

 

After annotations!

Tools Alignment and Distribution
Now we are really delving into the finer details. Alignment and distribution help with readability and visual pleasantness of your workflow. That’s not to say that these tweaking are just cosmetic though, because they work well in tandem with all that I have discussed so far. Here’s an example:

 

Messy and annotations obscured

 

Spaced out, aligned, and readable

 

Using these is easy. Just select multiple tools on your canvas, right-click, and you will see these options in the menu:

The alignment options help you get the selected tools into a straight line, without the need to do so one by one. “Align Horizontally” arrange the tools neatly into a row, and “Align Vertically” does the same, but into a column instead.

The distribution options spread your tools out by equally spacing each of the selected tools in between the tools on either end of the selection. Similar to alignment, “Distribute Horizontally” spreads the tools out sideways, and “Distributed Vertically” does the same but from top to bottom.

So there you have it! A few simple tools and tips that should help you in your quest for a well-organised and well-documented workflow. If you feel like there’s just too much to do at once, just start by doing one or two things first. Before you know it, these will all become second nature to you. All the best!

 

 

J Tay
Author: J Tay