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Work with steps

The Data Prep Steps tool lets you view, edit, add, rearrange, and delete steps within a project. From the Steps tool, you can export a snapshot of your data, called an AnswerSet. You can export the results of all of your data prep steps or you can select a particular step and export the AnswerSet resulting from the data prep activities up to the selected step.

Work with the Steps tool

To access the Steps tool, click steps in the project Tools bar:

Following is an overview of the elements in the Steps pane.

The steps display sequentially. The first step is at the bottom and the most recent step is at the top.

Element Description
Steps history Displays the steps taken so far in the project, from the Start step at the bottom up to the most recent step at the top of the pane.
Copy Steps Copies the project steps to a clipboard or a file for reuse in a different project. See Reuse project steps for details.
Edit Opens the Steps tool in editor mode so that you can make changes to any step in the project.
Publish Publishes your project as an AnswerSet in the Library. An AnswerSet is the published result of your data prep.
Annotations Provides an annotation for any step in your project. See what you can do with the steps tool for details.
Refresh datasets Refreshes datasets in the project so that they use the most current versions. See Update project datasets for details.
Project stats Displays stats about your project—the number of columns and rows at any step in your project. Click on any step to view the stats for that step.
Debugging Displays a raw script of your project in JSON format. Use this is only for debugging purposes if there is ever a problem with your project.

What you can do with the Steps tool

Following are descriptions of the actions you can perform with the Steps tool.

Action Description
View Click a step to display the data as it appeared at that particular step. Click the eye icon next to a step to mute (hide) the step from the project without actually deleting it. Click the eye again to show that step again.
Edit Use the Steps tool to edit steps already committed to the project at any time. When you select a step, the data adjusts to display how it appeared at that particular step in the process. Click Edit in the upper right of the Steps tool to edit the currently selected step. (Be sure to click Save in the upper right following any edits, otherwise your changes will not be kept.) When in edit mode, the Steps tool displays the number of active Data Filtergrams for each individual step of the project, also.
Add a Step Anytime you save an action within your project, it is added to the steps at the top of the Steps tool in reverse chronological order (most recent actions are at the top). It's also possible to add a new step at any historical point in the project. Whenever you click a step in the Steps tool, your data displays as it historically appeared at the completion of that particular step. If you take a new action on the data while this historical view is shown, that new action (step) will be added into the Steps tool directly following the step you initially selected.
Rearrange Steps To rearrange steps, you click, drag, and drop steps within the Steps tool. As you rearrange steps, the data automatically refreshes to reflect the new changes that result from the rearrangement. If the rearrangement of steps causes errors with any of the steps, an alert displays on the Steps button, as well as on any individual steps that have errors.
Delete Steps You can click the eye icon to mutes (hides) steps within the project without completely deleting the step. If you click Edit in the upper right corner of the Steps tool, you will notice that the eye icon disappears, and when you hover over an individual step, an X icon displays instead. Click this X icon to delete the step from the project.
Add Annotations You can provide an annotation for any step in your project. When you click the annotation button that appears on the right side of a step, a free-text field opens where you can enter up to 1,000 characters for the annotation.
Replayability You can replay the same steps against new data. Once you have built your project with the steps necessary to produce your AnswerSet, edit the first step of the project and replace the Base dataset with a new Base dataset. This will result in all of the steps in the project automatically running on the new Base dataset.

Reuse project steps using copy and paste

With the Steps tool, you can copy steps from a Data Prep project and use them elsewhere in the same project or copy them into another Data Prep project. When you copy the steps, you can copy them to your computer's clipboard for a one-click paste. Optionally, you can copy the steps to a file, which you can save for later use or for sharing with other Data Prep users.


  • You can never copy the base dataset (the first step) in a project.
  • If you expand a Lookup or Append step, you'll notice that you can select only the transformation steps that were applied during the import of the Lookup or Append. Those transformation steps are treated as individual steps when you paste them into another project. They cannot be nested under a Lookup or Append in the destination project.

Copy steps

To copy steps from a project:

  1. From the Steps pane, click the Copy Steps (clipboard) icon.

  2. Click Select Steps.

  3. Click the checkboxes for each step you want to copy and click Copy/Save Selected Steps.

    Data Prep copies the steps to the clipboard. You can paste them into the current project, another project, or you can download them to a .txt file for later reuse.

Paste copied steps

  1. From the Steps pane, click the Copy Steps (clipboard) icon.

  2. Click the step in your project after which you want to paste the step (the circled Change step in this example) and click Paste.

    Data Prep pastes the copied steps after the selected step.

Load and paste copied steps

  1. From the Steps pane, click the Copy Steps (clipboard) icon.

  2. Click the step in your project after which you want to paste the step (the circled Change step in this example) and click Load.

  3. Navigate to the saved steps file and click Open.

    Data Prep pastes the copied steps after the selected step.

Updated April 12, 2022
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