If you are tired of doing things over and over again then this blog post is for you. For this week’s tutorial, I would like to introduce you to Alteryx Macros which will be your lifesaver in your data analytics journey. Firstly let’s find out what a macro is and how to customise it and next we will learn how to build one.

What is the macro?

Macro is a workflow containing a group of tools that can be built into one tool. You could insert your macro into another workflow to save time from doing things repeatedly. There are 3 types of macro: standard macro, batch macro, and iterative macro. A macro could be saved with .yxmc extension and shared within your organisation – private gallery  or publicly – Alteryx Analytics Gallery

Different types of macro

Standard macro: is a standard workflow that contains a set of tools

Batch macro: this macro will run multiple times FOR EACH record or group of records and create an output after each run

Iterative macro:  this macro will run an ‘x’ iterations until a condition is met. One of the outputs will become the input for the next iteration.

How to turn a standard workflow into a macro?

There are two ways of turning a workflow into a macro.

  • Navigate to the Workflow – Configuration panel  -> Workflow -> Macro. On the Macro dropdown, choose the type of macro you wish to build
  • Navigate to the Interface tool palette and drag the Macro Input tool onto the canvas. The workflow then automatically changes into a standard macro. If you wish to create a batch macro, drag the Control Parameter onto the canvas then your workflow will be updated into a batch macro type.

Note* There is a small difference between a standard workflow and a macro. Tools in a macro workflow have a little lightning bolt above them and some may have a Q. These are connected to the interface input that allows you to change the parameter.

What part of the workflow can become a macro?

You can use a macro at the beginning, the end, the middle of the workflow, or a macro could be your whole workflow.

How to customise the shape of a macro?

By default, your macro will have a blue circle shape however you could customise it into whatever shape you desire.

Go to view -> Interface Designer. There are two options

  • Standard icon: You could choose the available icons from Alteryx
  • Custom Icon: Insert your own icon available from your local file
How to configure the metadata?

This step helps you to search for your macro easily. Click anywhere on the canvas. In the Workflow Configuration Window select Meta Info.

  • Workflow Name: This will be the name of your macro, you could either use the workflow name that you saved or pick a new name for your macro
  • Description: Give your macro a description so people will know what your macro does
  • Search Tags: Type some short descriptions in the search tags so you could find your macro easily

At this stage, we have an idea of what the macro is and how to customise it. For the next tutorial, I will walk you through how to build one. See you in the next blog post.




The Data School
Author: The Data School