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2. Introduction and Interface
This introductory lesson explains the benefits of using Alteryx, and a walk-through of the working environment.
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- Alteryx is a drag and drop environment that put advanced data analysis tools in reach of those who are not specialists
- There are two main versions of Alteryx - Alteryx Designer and Alteryx Server
- These version are very similar, however Alteryx Server is gear towards enterprise clients
- The flow of data through the manipulation process is called the Workflow
- The Run command is integral to performing actions on data
- Users can Run a Workflow by either clicking the Run icon, or using the shortcut Ctrl + R
Over the next few courses, we'll introduce you to Alteryx.
Alteryx is an advanced data analysis program that allows users to blend and manipulate data.
The beauty of Alteryx is that its geared towards bring advanced data analysis techniques to those who aren't specialist in the field.
As such, these lessons assume that you're familiar with desktop spreadsheet programs like Microsoft Excel but not necessarily a coder.
Alteryx will enable you to more efficiently manage large datasets for onward analysis and visualization.
The Alteryx software program comes in two forms.
Alteryx designer and Alteryx server.
These two products are very similar.
However, the server version is an enterprise solution.
Upon opening Alteryx, we're presented with a useful pop-up tool which include some basic tutorials.
Beginners should definitely take the time to go through the information offered.
Before diving into the interface let's make sure that our view is configured correctly.
We'll navigate to the view menu and ensure that all 6 choices are ticked.
Alteryx is predominately a drag and drop environment where you input your right data and then combine different elements to manipulate this data.
This journey of data manipulation within Alteryx is called a workflow.
The interface itself is made up of 7 components.
We'll start with the menus in tool bar.
The menus in tool bar contain many expected or self-explanatory functions.
There are however two important points.
First, the help function is very useful.
It not only contains links to the Alteryx help portal and Alteryx community pages, but it also offers a range of sample workflows split by topic.
The tool bar also contains the Alteryx run icon which can also be accessed via the shortcut CTRL+R.
This is a key part of the Alteryx interface and it's something that will come back to you again and again.
For now just take note of its position.
The next section of the interface is called the tools palette.
It contains a range of tabs each with a number of icons.
These icons can be thought of as individual macros performing a specific task on the workflow.
The large blank space below is known as the canvas.
This is where is you will drag and drop various tools in order to build your workflows.
To the left of the canvas is the configuration window.
When you bring individual tools onto the canvas you'll use the configuration window to tailor those tools to your specific needs.
For example, which data fields to apply a specific formula to.
Notice that the configuration window comprises of various tabs.
Each of these can have relevance to your specific workflow.
We'll discuss this in more detail in lessons ahead.
Beneath the canvas is the results window.
This area will present a snapshot of your data and also highlight any specific issues with your workflow.
To the left of the configuration window is the interface designer.
This space is used to develop your own macros and apps.
While this is quite advanced it can be very useful for larger workflows and especially when collaborating with others.
Finally, we have the overview window.
This gives a high level view of your entire canvas which again, can be useful for larger workflows.
Now that you've been introduced to the interface, we'll look at how to import and view data in the next lesson.