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Macros: Build your own customizable transformation steps

August 5, 2019

Announcing Macros, a new feature that will radically improve the efficiency of your data-wrangling workflow. 

In order to compete in today’s fast-paced data preparation landscape, reducing repeated tasks and enabling knowledge sharing across an organization is vital. In the pursuit of streamlining and making data wrangling more accessible, Trifacta provides the most common data-cleaning tasks premade and ready to use in any recipe out of the box. But what if you want to combine more complex functions and steps for repeatable use, without needing to copy and paste the steps or create them from scratch?

With the addition of Macros, we remove the limits on what users can accomplish in a single step, and allow them to craft their own business and dataset-specific sets of tasks, to reuse across all of their flows and recipes. This has huge implications on reducing ramp-up time for new analysts and supporting collaboration between users. Macros provide customizable, reusable groups of steps that can be used to build a library of the most common recipe steps your organization needs to streamline your wrangling and let you focus instead on exciting data analytics challenges and finding new insights. 


This blog will cover an example where Macros come in handy in analyzing site traffic data. Understanding how users interact with your site can be an essential tool for making business decisions that save money and satisfy customers. For example, we want to isolate the first place a user lands when they become active on our site. Using Trifacta, we can sort a table of records by time, group them by user, and then filter out the records that occur outside of a specified time ‘gap’ (in this case, the length of a user session). This occurs in three simple recipe steps, but since this is a fairly common process for certain types of data, we can now create a Macro encapsulating these three steps and reuse it across datasets, recipes and flows, and between users. Lets run through how this works. 

From the recipe panel, you can select the steps you want to turn into a Macro and click ‘Create Macro…’

Entering the Macro experience

The next step is to add a name and an optional description to your Macro. Once you create your Macro, it will be searchable by name from the search bar in transformer, and available in a dropdown menu in the toolbar.

Naming the Macro

Once inside the Macro creation modal, keeping track of your parameters is easy and intuitive. You can navigate between the steps view and the parameter view, assigning names and optional descriptions to each parameter that users can input. When you hit ‘create’, the former recipe steps are replaced with your Macro. 

Building a Macro

We’ve also added a new view in the library to see and manage your Macros. Here you can inspect the steps and parameters in a Macro, edit the name and description, or delete a Macro (which will expand the Macro into its steps).

Macros Library

Once your Macro is created, you can search for it in the transform search panel or add it from the Macros drop down in the toolbar 

After you select the Macro, you enter a familiar builder-like experience, just like any other recipe step, but customized for your parameters and descriptions.

After filling in the necessary parameters, you can add your Macro to your recipe 

As part of Trifacta’s commitment to data quality, Macros provide a means to ensure consistent  and efficient data prep and cleaning. Beyond that, Macros have the potential to change the way you interact with your data for the better. By enabling users to create reusable chunks of logic, this new feature simplifies data wrangling for all levels of experience across your organization. Rather than having to track down groups of steps from past recipes, copy the steps and paste in your current recipe, you instead can easily find Macros in the toolbar, search bar and Macros library. This new feature empowers Trifacta users to spend their time and energy on exciting new problems by automating repeated tasks, and improving the transformation experience over time. We’re excited to see how users take advantage of this great new feature, and we will continue to build on this feature as we move forward!