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1. Introduction and the Interface
This introductory lesson explains the benefits of using Alteryx, and walks through the working environment.
Lesson Goal (00:11)
This lesson explains what Alteryx is used for and the different elements of the user interface.
Alteryx Uses (00:17)
Alteryx allows users to blend and manipulate data, focusing on those who aren’t data specialists.
Alteryx Designer is a standalone desktop software package that offers advanced data analytics functionality. Alteryx Server also offers advanced data analytics functionality, along with collaboration and Enterprise IT features.
Configuring the Interface (01:15)
The interface is made up of seven components; users can add or remove some interface elements via the View menu.
Alteryx has five menu options: File, Edit, View, Options, and Help. The File menu allows users to manipulate Alteryx files. The Edit menu allows users to manipulate text and icons within the application through the cut, paste, copy, undo, and redo commands. The View menu allows users to add or remove some elements of the interface. The Options menu allows users to run and export workflows, manage licenses, and adjust user settings and advanced options. The Help menu contains links to the Alteryx help portal as well as sample workflows.
The Tools Palette (02:51)
The Tools Palette contains various tabs that each hold a number of icons. Each individual tool icon performs a specific action on data users connect to the application.
The Canvas (03:14)
The Canvas is the large blank space below the Tools Palette where users arrange tools to manipulate data, creating a workflow. Thin wires connect the output node of one tool to the input node of another, showing the path of manipulated data through a workflow.
The Configuration Window (03:36)
The Configuration Window allows users to tailor a tools actions to a specific dataset. More complex tools can display various tabs in the Configuration Window. It’s important to look though all these tabs, as they may have settings that apply to your specific workflow.
The Results Window (04:15)
The Results Window presents a snapshot of the dataset when any tool is selected. Note that depending the on the tool, this area may only display information after running the workflow.
The Results Window also displays messages that highlight any specific issues with your workflow.
The Interface Designer (04:25)
The Interface Designer is used to develop Macros and Apps.
The Overview Window (04:39)
The Overview Window gives users a high-level view of the entire canvas. This window can be useful when working with large or complex workflows.
Adjusting Interface Elements (04:50)
Users can select the down arrow in any interface window to show a few display options. Floating arranges the selected element in a separate window above the main Alteryx application. Tabbed Document arranges the selected element as a tab in the canvas area.
In this course, we'll introduce you to the Alteryx interface, as well as the basics around how to import and organize your data. Our goal in this lesson is to understand what Alteryx does and the main elements of the interface. Alteryx is a program that allows users to blend and manipulate data. It's geared towards bringing advanced data analysis techniques to those who aren't specialists in the field. In order to get the most out of Alteryx, it's important that you're familiar with desktop spreadsheet programs like Microsoft Excel and have same basic understanding of how data is structured and used. If you need a refresher on data analysis and data structure, please review our Data Literacy courses. Alteryx comes in two forms, Alteryx Designer and Alteryx Server. These two products are very similar. Both products provide advanced data analytics functionality. However, the Server version is an enterprise solution with collaboration and enterprise IT features. In these lessons, we'll focus on Alteryx Designer. Upon opening Alteryx, we're presented with a tab that includes some basic tutorials.
Beginners should take the time to go through the information offered. Before we look at the various elements of the interface, let's see how to configure it. We'll navigate to the View menu, and ensure that all five choices are checked.
The interface itself is made up of seven components. The first components we'll cover, is the menus.
Several of these menus offer functionality similar to that found in other programs.
For example, the File menu allows users to open, save and print workflows.
The Edit menu contains options for cutting, pasting, undoing and redoing actions.
The View menu, allows users to add and remove elements from the interface.
The Options menu is a little more tailored towards Alteryx.
From here, users can run workflows and apps. Manage licenses, and edit settings or advanced options. Note that users can also run workflows by clicking the run button on the right of the screen, or using keyboard shortcut Control + R.
The run command is key to using Alteryx, and something we'll come back to again and again.
For now, just take note of the three options for accessing this command.
The final menu, Help, 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 next section of the interface is called the Tools Palette. This contains a range of tabs, each with a number of icons.
These icons are individual tools that perform a specific task.
Alteryx is predominantly a drag and drop environment, where we input our data, and then combine different tools to manipulate this data.
The large blank space below the Tools palette is known as the Canvas. This is where we arrange our tools to manipulate data.
The lines or wires connect the output node of one tool to the input node of another, showing the journey of data manipulation.
This collection of connected tools is called a workflow.
To the left of the canvas is the Configuration window. When we bring individual tools onto the Canvas, we'll use the Configuration window, to tailor those tools to our specific needs.
For example, when we click on the Select tool, the Configuration window gives us options for organizing our various data fields. We'll cover that specific functionality in a later lesson.
Note that in some cases, the Configuration window can contain various tabs.
Each of these can have relevance to your specific workflow.
We'll discuss these tabs in more detail as they come up for relevant tools.
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, we have the Interface Designer.
This space is used to develop macros and apps.
These concepts are quite advanced, so we'll discuss them in a later course.
Finally, we have the Overview window on the bottom left.
This gives us a high level view of our entire Canvas, which can be useful for larger workflows.
If you're like me, you probably think that this interface is currently a little too cramped, we can fix this by changing how these elements appear.
For example, if we click the down arrow on the Interface Designer and then select Floating, it appears in a separate window above the main application.
If we click the down arrow again and click Tabbed.
It appears as a tab in the Canvas area.
However, we won't need the Interface Designer, or Overview windows anytime soon.
To remove them, we'll navigate to the View menu and uncheck both elements.
Now that we've gone through the basics of the Alteryx interface, we'll stop the lesson here. In the next lesson, we'll look at how to import and view data.