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Alteryx File Types

This blog gives brief information on how the Alteryx File Types generates and accesses temporary files to process different data types, and how these files are used to create and manage the workflows created in Alteryx.

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Alteryx is an efficient tool used to generate temporary files and access them to processes various data types. But enough temporary space should be maintained to handle these created files.
Alteryx functionalities are used to create ETL (Extract, Transform and Load) processes, and develop Alteryx workflows and data parsing techniques. The reports can be generated and run on-demand, and predictive tools can perform data analysis using Alteryx file types.

Alteryx Files Types - Table of Content

Alteryx Files Types

The values are processed based on their data type by the Alteryx. The Alteryx database file format, file formats file, supported data types, flat-file type, and native file extensions in these values can be read from a .zip file. The values can be read using an Input Data tool.

Alteryx Workflow File Types

To process the data, workflows use connected tools to perform different functions. When a workflow is built, the tools are added and connected. The workflow properties and also the tools can be configured. To build a new workflow:

select File > New Workflow.

Workflow connections can move horizontally or vertically or downstream depending on the workflow layout chosen in the workflow configuration window. Here are some of the workflow file types that are widely used.

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yxmd (Workflow)

This workflow (.yxmd) describes a repeated workflow process and is saved with the .yxmd extension. A single Alteryx workflow is used to save all the tool configurations, inputs, and outputs so that the workflow can be opened and run any number of times.

yxwg (Workflow group)

.yxwg is a group of workflows represented as (.yxwg), and it can save multiple workflows and open them as a single file. A workflow group can be created for existing workflows and saved locally.

yxmc (Macro)

A workflow named macro (.yxmc) works within another workflow. The design settings in macro help the developer in specifying the parameters that the end-user can choose from in the configuration of the workflow using a single tool. Workflow Properties window changes for any workflow type that is set to macro.

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yxwz (Analytic App)

The developer creates an analytic app with the extension(.yxwz) using the Alteryx Designer for the end-users to run it in the environment of the Alteryx Analytic App. While creating this Alteryx workflow, the developer gives the requirements as a series of parameters to define the user environment and update the actual design using the end-users specifications. Analytical apps downloaded from a server or a desktop installation and accessed through a web browser are saved in the gallery. The design set in the Analytical app defines parameters.

yxzp (Packaged Workflow)

A .yxzp file is a package of workflows including an Alteryx workflow (.yxwz, .yxmd, or .yxmc) and all its dependencies are compressed into one single file. This file can be imported into Alteryx, ensuring that workflows can easily be distributed and shared between users. A workflow package is created when exported or saved to a Gallery. Alteryx workflow is included in a workflow package named as .yxzp file

yxi (Packaged Tool)

Alteryx tool and all of its dependent data are zipped into a single file and included in a package named .yxi file. When an external source file is added, to run a workflow tool, a .yxi file must be installed. The external sources can be Analytics Gallery in Alteryx Designer, the tool palette is loaded in the specified category. 

Alteryx Data Files

yxdb (Alteryx Database)

Parameters such as spatial objects, data fields, and values are held in a file type named Alteryx database format (.yxdb). Writing and Reading in Alteryx can be done using the .yxdb format more efficiently as there is no limit for the size, it is compressed to derive maximum speed, and additional metadata with the data history. The record size is limited to 2GB in a 64-bit environment, and there is no limit for the number of records created.

cydb (Calgary Database)

The Calgary database (.cydb) is a data file used to retrieve records quickly using indexing methodology. A database index represents a data structure that is required to improve retrieval operations on a database table. One or more than one column of a database table is used to create indexes that act as a base for efficient access and random look-ups for the ordered records.

cyidx (Calgary Index)

The Calgary database (.cydb) consists of a dependency file named Calgary index (.cyidx). An index file for every field of the Calgary database is created whenever a .cydb is written. A user can easily retrieve the records and configure specific queries using an index.

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Special Files

yxwv (App Values)

The App Values file (*.yxwv) in Alteryx is a .xml file containing values and syntax that are required for the Analytic App update. Some of the Analytic Apps have options for the users to save their specifications for future use. The specifications are saved to the .yxwv file, not to overload the Analytic App. There is no encryption of .yxwv files and are stored as clear text.

yxft (Field Types)

This File (.yxft) is a text file that portrays the file configuration of field names and their field types. The .yxft is loaded through the Select tool or any tool with an embedded select once a file is saved. The save/load options from the Select tool menu will access or create a .yxft file.

.bak (Backup copy of a workflow)

There is a file created automatically and the moment a workflow is edited and it is called a backup file and saved in the format(.bak). The state of the .bak file will be in a state prior to its most recent save and is created in the same directory where the workflow is created and is saved with the same workflow name.

pcxml (Composer file)

This .pcxml file is brought into use by Alteryx when there is a need for reporting and contains a proprietary language. The users cannot use this file type as it can deliver and read a .pcxml file to report the output. The tools used for reporting can create report snippets and are saved in a .yxdb file.

log (Log files)

Creation of. Log files take place when an error is thrown by the Alteryx engine or its main component. Information on the failures is recorded in these files. When an error is reported to technical support, the log file is retrieved. 

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Designer Menu (version)

The designer menu in Alteryx has the following options to choose from:

  • Compare Workflows.
  • Workflow Configuration Toggle menu.
  • Workflow Management Toggle menu. 
  • Manage Schedules.
  • Results Window Toggle menu.
  • Workflow Dependencies.
  • Schedule Workflows Toggle menu.
  • Alteryx Engine Toggle menu. Engine Compatibility Mode.


Alteryx uses all the data sources, applications, files, and data types using any previous assets created using designer menus. Alteryx and various software can create insights and optimize models for future behaviour forecasts.

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Last updated: 04 Apr 2023
About Author

Usha Sri Mendi is a Senior Content writer with more than three years of experience in writing for Mindmajix on various IT platforms such as Tableau, Linux, and Cloud Computing. She spends her precious time on researching various technologies, and startups. Reach out to her via LinkedIn and Twitter.

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