The first week at the Data School was about Alteryx, Alteryx is a powerful software used for data cleansing, data mining, ETL, spatial analysis, machine learning, and other BI-related activities. Its usage can range from relatively basic activities like joining different data sources and pre-processing, or complicated activities such as predictive modelling, time series, and simulations. Users can build an analytical workflow in a code-friendly environment and continue to deploy it over time; also it can be easily traced back in each step, I’ve using Alteryx since September of this year, once you use it, you will never go back to Excel for data manipulation.

In this blog, here are five useful tips I picked up to improve efficiency for beginner users; some of the tips are from what I had learned at the Data School last week.


1. Multi-line entry at the same time

When users typing repeated words in a conditional function, like ‘elseif’, this tip may help you; it can make you more efficient and keep formula well structured.

showing multi line entry example


2. Forget all missing fields

Sometimes you will see a similar situation like the image below:

The reason is that the select tool remembers fields that used to be included in the data but are now missing because they were removed upstream. This is a useful feature when building workflows to help you troubleshoot to make sure all data flows through. To clean this up, use the “forget all missing fields” option in the select tool.


3. Remove duplicates in join tool

If there is no need to keep the duplicate fields in the join output, they can be easily deselected with the Deselect Duplicate Fields options.


4. Use [ to find field names

Use an open bracket [ to look for fields and constants in the formula tool; it will present all fields in incoming order. If you start typing, it will narrow the list to fields that meet what you are typing. Field names appear in blue, constants appear in green.


5. Set default location and base layer

When the user who uses spatial tools, they might see the map without any layer, and users need to change the setting every time (like below image). To make development faster, use a default location and map layer for the map input tool; therefore, users don’t need to scope each time.

map without layer

Go to the User Settings then choose Dataset Defaults Tab, then change Reference Base Map to any one of the selection (except None), after that change the Default Location For Map Input/Question to your preference, now you will have no issue with base layer and location when you input spatial data.


These are all 5 useful tips for Alteryx beginners, and I hope this may help you. If you have any enquiry, please feel free to contact me.

Jason Hu
Author: Jason Hu