Top 12 Secret Shortcuts of Dataiku DSS

Technology|Data Science|Data| April 12, 2016| Jean-Baptiste Rouquier

Here is a post for power users, people who want to make the most out of Dataiku DSS. The following are undocumented keyboard shortcuts subject to change. But some of them are still darn useful, so I thought I might share, and I hope the developers won't get mad at me for exposing some of their internal gimmicks.

Why 12? Because it's a beautiful number (like all small numbers, it has tons of remarkable properties). Or more precisely, because I aimed at usefulness and still haven't converted to the cult of the top 10.

Oh, and this is a post about the secret ones: the official shortcuts are here!

When things get big

First things first, let's start with shortcuts about big data and big projects.

Shortcut #1: Alt + A

Alt + A: do not refresh the preview each time a step is added or modified. Use case: you have a longish script on a dataset with many columns, adding a step is getting slow. You might want to change the sample to only 10 lines. You can also hit Alt + A to temporarily disable refreshing the preview. Adding steps is now quick. Dataiku DSS reminds you that the preview is outdated with a big red pause symbol:

alt a

Hit Alt + A again to re-enable the preview.


Shortcut #2: Z

Z: zoom flow on last used dataset. Typical use case: you're exploring a dataset, then back to the huge flow where there are so many datasets that each one is tiny. Hit Z to see the surroundings of the last dataset you saw (including input and output recipes). (Just make sure focus is not in an input box.)

zoom


Shortcut #3: C

C: scroll horizontally to make a column visible.

horizontal scroll

I couldn't live without this one. Routinely working with datasets of 200+ columns, finding the Right one™ could be tedious. But thanks to this life-saver, just hit C, type in a few letters of the column you want, and see the tabular view automatically moved left or right to make sure this column is visible. It's the first column on the left, provided there are enough remaining columns to fill the space up to the right edge. You can also use the columns quick view: just click on a column (note this view has a filter too):

column quick view

Improve your productivity

Keyboard shortcuts are meant for productivity, right? Here are 3 of them to save you some time.

Shortcut #4: R C D

The next one applies to plugin developers. Remember that when you modify a file of your plugin:

  • if it's a python file, there's nothing to do, it will be reread next time you execute the custom recipe or read the custom dataset;
  • if it's a json file, you need to click “reload descriptors”. Or just to hit @ R C D (for “Reload Custom Descriptors”). You'll see a brief spinner while it's reloading.

Shortcut #5: A

A add new step. More precisely, toggle displaying the list of available processors. Used when editing a preparation script. Granted, the “add new step” button is pretty big already, but for keyboard shortcut fans, here you go.

add step


Shortcut #6: Esc

Esc close or cancel a dialog (not implemented on all dialogs). For instance in a preparation script, close the library of available processors.

As another example, if you click on a dataset → build, a confirmation dialog appears, which you can cancel with Esc.

Play with display

Here are shortcuts that directly affect how a dataset is displayed.

Shortcut #7: Shift + H

Shift + H toggle row Highlight. Probably the most useful of this section. As hinted above, datasets with many columns are common. If you want to read several columns for a given line, hover this line, hit Shift + H and this line will stay highlighted when you scroll horizontally.

row highlight


Shortcut #8: Shift + V

Shift + V to View the full cell contents, easier to copy. Note that triple-click on a cell also selects the whole cell content, even if it's not entirely displayed.

full cell


Shortcut #9: R S

R S Not the most useful one, but it's pretty :-) Try this: click a categorical column (e.g. a column with meaning “text”) → “Color column by value”. If the colours don't please your eye, just hit R S to draw new Random ones. (Note: numerical columns are handled differently: the colors represent a scale and are thus fixed.)

color column


Shortcut #10: S H H

On a chart (in the dataset or analysis universe), hit S H H to make it larger. There is also a button for that.

larger dataset

Two more for the road

If you're reading this, you probably already know the navigation shortcuts like G F (everyone's favorite here at Dataiku). They can be displayed with ?. Here are two more: on the page of a dataset, you may type

  • G E : Go to the Explore tab
  • G V : Go to the charts tab (Visualize)

On the page of a recipe, when I'm too lazy to grab the mouse and move it all the way down to the bottom left corner, I type @ R U N to start executing this recipe.

Now It's Time To Practice!

When I first read the list I obviously could not remember them all. Choose the 3 most useful ones to you to learn this week, and see next week if you've used them spontaneously, then try new ones!

There are some Easter eggs in Dataiku DSS too, but this, I won't tell. I bet a curious geek can find some.

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