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April 22, 2015

Multiple PDFs to Tableau Extract to Tableau Viz in Seconds via Alteryx

Retired Two-time Alteryx Grand Prix Champ Chris Love put a post on G+ today to the Information Lab team asking us to test a new Alteryx module he’s working on. The gist of it is:
  1. You put a bunch of PDFs into a folder (as many as you’d like)
  2. Run the Alteryx module
  3. Alteryx spits out a Tableau extract and workbook that count how many times each word appears in the PDFs

Keep an eye on The Information Lab Blog for more details. Chris is going to write a post soon on how he built this. It’s genius!

For my testing, I decide to run the module against the PDFs of the course materials that Stephen Few gives you at his Visual Business Intelligence Workshop. These PDFs average 25MB (i.e., that’s a lot of words). Chris provided a simple word cloud output as part of the package he wrote. I took that and added a bar chart and a parameter. Anyone that uses Alteryx is going to love what Chris created, pun intended.


  1. Love the irony of a world cloud in data from Stephen.

  2. It is ironic and he would hate it, but it's merely demonstrating a technique. The viz could be anything. It is interesting, though, to see his most used words. The viz confirms what he preaches.