An Introduction to Macros in Alteryx

by Carlo Sanzeri

Last week was my cohorts second week of Alteryx training, and on the same week we took the Alteryx Core Certification Exam, we were also introduced to the wonderful world of macros. I say the 'wonderful world' as when learning about Macros you realise just how many tools and use cases there are with Alteryx (completely blowing my mind). Luckily, we were introduced in a very logical and easy way to begin with, with Alteryx wiz Peter showing us the ropes.

So first things first, what exactly is a macro?

Simply put, a macro is a set of custom instructions that are placed into a single tool. If you have a basic knowledge of Alteryx, you have probably used a macro before without even knowing it, as you can open up the hood of some of the core tools and take a peek at what's underneath.

For example, the harmless looking Data Cleansing tool goes from this:


But don't be alarmed! Even though a tool like this can look very complicated, it is in fact very logical in it's process, and it's a logic that you can recreate depending on your use case. It also opens up a world of possibilities, as macros allow you to use loops to process your data.

The three types of macros

Standard Macro - This kind of Macro will consolidate all of your data into one macro: everything in, everything out.

Batch Macro - This starts to incorporate a loop, effectively grouping your data and executing a different function depending on the group. (Tools like Data Cleansing are these types of Macros).

Iterative Macro - This Macro is 'goal-orientated', meaning that it create a loop and group your data, much like a Batch Macro, but the loop will flow until your data meets a set of parameters.

So, that's basically how Macros work in Alteryx. It can seem confusing at first, but hopefully this has alleviated some questions that you may have as first-time macro users.