How to create absolute and relative KPIs in SSAS Tabular
Part three of a three-part series of blogs

You can create key performance indicators (KPIs) within Analysis Services Tabular, but there a couple of foibles that you need to be aware of, as shown by this blog.

  1. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  2. Creating relative KPIS in SSAS Tabular
  3. Absolute KPIs in SSAS Tabular (this blog)

This blog is part of our online SSAS Tabular tutorial; we also offer lots of other Analysis Services training resources.

Posted by Andy Brown on 28 January 2016

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Absolute KPIs in SSAS Tabular

Instead of aiming to hit another measure, you can set a numerical target or an absolute KPI.  This is most useful when you want a ratio to be as large (or small) as possible.

Our example

We'll solve the relative KPI problem shown in the previous part of this blog by targeting the percentage ratio between this period's sales and sales for the same period last year:

Percent of last year:=IFERROR(

sum([Quantity]) /





That is, divide this period's sales by the total quantity for the same period in the previous year (if this generates a divide by zero error because there is no previous year, show a blank instead).

Creating the KPI

Having created the measure above, you can then turn it into a KPI:

Creating a KPI

Right-click on the measure and choose to create a KPI.


Complete the dialog box which appears as below by following the numbered steps:

Numbered steps

The numbered steps are explained in more detail below.

The steps to follow are:

Step What to do
1 Choose to target an absolute value of 100% (which you have to type in as 1).
2 Specify thresholds when the icon colours will change from red to amber to green, either by typing into the miniature text boxes or by clicking and dragging on the black handles.
3 Choose what sort of target you want (here we're going for the highest ratio we can).
4 Choose the icon set you'd like to see, while recognising that you'll get the one on the left whatever you choose!

Creating a pivot table showing a KPI

You can now create a pivot table based upon this model in the same way as for a relative KPI (see the previous part of this blog), with one exception:

Pivot table fields

There's no point (as here) choosing to show the Goal, because it will always be the same!


If you display the goal as above, this column will lack variety:

The goal column

The goal is the same for every single row!


And with that you've come to the end of this blog on creating KPIs within SSAS Tabular.

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