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Mastering DAX Basics

Mastering DAX Basics

Learn the fundamentals of DAX syntax and functions with practical examples.

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Rajanand Ilangovan
·Apr 8, 2023·

3 min read

Introduction

Data Analysis Expressions (DAX) is a powerful formula language used in Power BI, Excel, and other business intelligence tools. DAX enables you to create complex calculations and queries to analyze large amounts of data quickly and efficiently.

In this beginner's guide, we will cover the basics of DAX syntax and functions, and provide practical examples to help you understand how to use them.

DAX Syntax

DAX syntax is similar to Excel formulas, with a few differences. A DAX formula always starts with an equal sign (=) and includes one or more functions or operators. Here's a simple example:

= SUM(Sales[Amount])

This formula calculates the sum of the Amount column in the Sales table. Let's break down the syntax:

  • SUM: This is a DAX function that calculates the sum of values in a column.

  • Sales[Amount]: This is a reference to the Amount column in the Sales table.

Notice how we reference tables and columns in DAX. To reference a column, we use the syntax Table[Column]. To reference a table, we simply use the table name.

DAX Functions

DAX functions are similar to Excel functions, but they have different syntax and capabilities. Here are some common DAX functions and their descriptions:

  • SUM: Calculates the sum of values in a column.

  • AVERAGE: Calculates the average of values in a column.

  • COUNT: Counts the number of rows in a table or column.

  • MIN: Returns the smallest value in a column.

  • MAX: Returns the largest value in a column.

  • IF: Evaluates a logical expression and returns one value if it's true and another if it's false.

Let's see an example of using the IF function in DAX:

= IF(Sales[Amount] > 1000, "High", "Low")

This formula evaluates the Amount column in the Sales table. If the amount is greater than 1000, it returns "High". Otherwise, it returns "Low".

DAX Operators

DAX operators are used to perform arithmetic or logical operations on values. Here are some common DAX operators:

  • +: Adds two values.

  • -: Subtracts two values.

  • *: Multiplies two values.

  • /: Divides two values.

  • &&: Performs a logical AND operation.

  • ||: Performs a logical OR operation.

Here's an example of using the logical OR operator in DAX:

= IF(OR(Sales[Amount] > 1000, Sales[Quantity] > 10), "High", "Low")

This formula evaluates the Amount and Quantity columns in the Sales table. If either amount is greater than 1000 or quantity is greater than 10, it returns "High". Otherwise, it returns "Low".

Conclusion

DAX is a powerful formula language that can help you analyze and understand large amounts of data quickly and efficiently. By mastering the basics of DAX syntax, functions, and operators, you can create complex calculations and queries to meet your business needs.

If you have liked this post, you may also my other blog posts.

  1. Data Modeling in DAX: Everything You Need to Know with Real-World Examples

  2. Understanding Calculated Columns and Measures in DAX

  3. Mastering DAX Context: Understanding Row, Filter, and Evaluation Context

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