Alteryx macro tip - Making dynamic drop downs using the input's fields

by Robert Headington

For our 4th week Friday project, we were asked to create as many macros based on tableau table calculations as possible in 3 hours.

While completing my first macro (rank unique), I wanted to have an option to allow the user to be able to choose the field that they wanted to rank. However, when I linked the output node of the input macro to the dropdown box:

First try – didn’t work

the drop-down box in the macro would only give the fields of the sample data I originally used to create the macro (i.e. the fields in “Sample – Superstore.xls”). This worked fine when I wanted to use the macro to rank things for this data but when I connected this macro to another data source, it would error as it needs the fields to match.

After trying a couple of methods:

Still didn’t work

and finding no success, given the time-limited nature of our project, I moved on and decided to just use text boxes so the user could write the field they want to rank.

It works but it wasn’t ideal

So I woke up this morning with a simple idea – why don’t I look at some of the macro’s inside Alteryx itself to see how they do it. I decided to look at the Cleanse tool expecting something complex and started to kick myself when I saw how simple it was (and for not thinking to do this sooner):

Underneath the macro input tool, there’s a symbol that you can connect to a Drop Down or List Box tool to use the fields in whatever is connected to the macro’s input node. So all I had to do was this:

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