Alteryx offers a concatenation feature that enables the merging of strings. It allows you to combine columns in Alteryx, whether they originate from fields, rows, or are manually inputted in formulas.
This functionality serves multiple purposes, including flexible searching, generating XML or JSON files, and consolidating information into a single field for data warehousing or storage.
What is Concatenation
Concatenation involves the act of merging multiple strings together to form a single string.
To put it simply, in Alteryx, concatenation allows you to Alteryx merge two columns into one.
How to Concatenate using Alteryx formulas
In Alteryx, the Formula tool provides a straightforward approach to combining or joining two fields. To concatenate strings, all you need to do is use the plus (+) operator. This operator allows you to merge not only two strings, but also multiple strings, string fields, or a combination of both. By leveraging the plus operator, you can effortlessly create new strings by bringing together various fragments of information from your dataset.
Concatenating two String fields
When utilizing the Concatenate Alteryx string concatenation tool, combining two string fields follows a specific rule. In Formula 1, the strings are merged exact same as they presented in their respective fields. This means that if there are no spaces in the fields, the resulting merged field will also lack any spaces. For example, merging “PAMELA” and “WRIGHT” will yield “PAMELAWRIGHT” in the formula preview, without any spaces.
However, if you wish to include a separator, such as a space, between the merged strings, you can achieve this by employing an additional string in Formula 2. By enclosing the desired separator within quotes (whether single or double, as long as consistency is maintained), you can ensure that particular character is included in the final merged field. For instance, by adding a space between quotes like ” “, the resulting field will be “PAMELA WRIGHT”, with a space serving as the separator between the two original strings.
Concatenating a string column with a string
As seen in Formula 3, you can add more text to a field by using the plus (+) operator. You may provide an existing field more context, which is useful for future analysis, by combining the [Customer Segment] column with the string “- Transaction.”
This feature may also be used to create text descriptions that incorporate dynamic material to provide context or clarification for usage at a later time. In Formula 4, the number of visits is added to the entire name (which was introduced in Formula 1) to offer context. The ToString method must be used to change the visits field’s numeric (integer) format into a string one, though. You can define the required number of decimal places using the ToString method.
Concatenate by Aggregation Functions
You have the choice to employ string aggregation in the Alteryx Concatenate Tool to get more flexibility when concatenating data. With the help of a designated separator between the data, you may combine many rows into a single row using the string aggregation function. When you want to merge many records into a single record from multiple records, this becomes quite helpful. It’s crucial to remember that the aggregation technique has restrictions on the amount of custom strings or other context that may be added to the final record.
If the desired string for concatenation is not already included in the target column, you cannot employ the aggregation technique to combine it with other values. The aggregation technique specifically combines the existing values within the target column and does not allow the inclusion of external strings or context for concatenating data.
Setting the Stage for Aggregation-Based Concatenate
To utilize the aggregation method in the Alteryx Concatenate Tool, it is necessary to arrange the strings you want to combine in rows. To accomplish this, the initial step involves reshaping your dataset accordingly.
Reshaping the dataset becomes particularly advantageous when you have multiple columns that you wish to concatenate together. It is also capable of handling scenarios where the number of columns varies.
To reshape the dataset, you need to specify the fields you want to concatenate as Data Columns. Additionally, the fields that represent each record should be designated as the Key Column. As a result of this reshaping process, the table becomes elongated and narrow in structure. The newly created “Name” field is not essential for further analysis, but it acts as a reference, indicating the original source of the Values.
Concatenate with Summarise
Once the dataset has been successfully reshaped, our next goal is to merge the newly created “Value” column using the Summarize tool. Configuring this step is similar to utilizing the Alteryx Concatenate Summarize tool in any other scenario.
To get started, you must determine the fields you want to repeat vertically on each page. Typically, these fields are the ones you previously designated as “Key Columns” during the reshaping process of your input data.
As for the “Value Column,” which is the field you intend to concatenate, you will select the appropriate string field. To do this, go to the “Add” list, then navigate to the “String” submenu and choose the “concatenate” option.
Once you have added the concatenate field, a new configuration option will appear at the bottom of the summaries configuration. This option becomes visible when the concatenate action is highlighted. Here, you can specify the delimiters that should appear between each record (the default is a comma). Furthermore, you have the ability to define the characters that should appear at the beginning and end of the record. This feature proves useful for creating quoted strings or defining elements in JSON or XML format.
Concatenate with crosstab
The cross-tab operation in Alteryx Concatenation shares the same data shaping requirement as the summarise tool. However, it offers an additional capability to create new columns that will be concatenated. Like the summarise tool, the first step is to choose the grouping column (e.g., Customer Name) and the values that will appear in the records (e.g., the Value column).
The distinction lies in the inclusion of a header column. In this example, a new column named “header” was introduced, where all values are set to 1. This results in a single output column. However, if there were multiple values in the header column, each value would correspond to a separate column containing the concatenated values.
Alteryx concatenation offers a convenient method for combining fields, allowing the merging of strings from various sources such as fields, rows, or manual input in formulas.
By merging string fields, you can produce outputs that serve multiple purposes. This includes facilitating flexible searches, generating XML or JSON files, or consolidating information into a single field for efficient loading into data warehouses or storage systems. The Concatenate Alteryx tool simplifies the process of combining columns, making it easy to accomplish.
Alteryx Concatenate becomes especially valuable when utilized within macros. It empowers the creation of highly adaptable and robust solutions that can meet diverse requirements and achieve desired outcomes.
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