WiseOwl Training - Established 1992 Wise Owl Training

Established May 1992
30 years in business
Wise Owl Training
30 years in business
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Help in choosing a DAX training course

We run several courses which cover DAX but they all cover three main things, as listed under separate headings below.

All of the diagrams below are taken from Power BI Desktop, but they would work equally well in PowerPivot or Analysis Services (Tabular Model).

Calculated Columns

You can use DAX to create formulae for new columns in a table:

Calculated column

This formula labels each purchase as Mean or Generous, according to the amount spent.

This formula shows that initially DAX looks quite similar to Excel - but appearances are, in this case, deceptive.


Suppose you want to show for each region its sales as a percentage of the highest sales for any region:

Regional sales as % of max

The South East region here has the highest sales at 18,506 units.

Here's a measure to do this: 

Percent of highest regional sales =

-- first get the maximum of the total sales for all regions

VAR HighestRegionalSales =


-- get the highest value ...


-- ... from the table of sales by region ...




"Total sales",



-- ... of the sales

[Total sales]


-- do this for all regions





-- if we're filtering by the region, divide

-- this region's total sales by sales for the

-- highest region; otherwise, show a blank (this

-- will make sure there's nothing in the total row)








Some of the main functions that you can use in measures are as follows:

Function What it allows you to do
SUM, AVERAGE, etc Aggregate values for a column
SUMX, AVERAGEX, etc Aggregate values for an expression
CALCULATE Calculate an expression with a filter applied
FILTER Pick out only certain rows in a table
VALUES Return the current filter context
EARLIER Refer to other rows in a table

The phrase "filter context" above isn't explained further here, but is the key to understanding DAX (and will obviously be explained on any of our DAX courses).

Date-based Calculations

To use date-based formulae in DAX, it's best first to set up a calendar table:

Calendar table

Part of a calendar table

This allows you to create DAX measures using functions with fantastic names like these:

DAX function What it shows
SAMEPERIODLASTYEAR The value of the current "cell", but for the same period (day, week, month or quarter) in the previous year
TOTALQTD Quarterly sales to date
PARALLELPERIOD The value of the same statistic, but for a particular year, quarter, month or date in the past

For example, this DAX measure would show cumulative sales to date for each time period:

Year to date = TOTALYTD(




Here's what this measure might show for example:

Year to date sales

The last column shows the sales to date for the year, using the measure we've created.


DAX Queries

In addition to creating calculated columns and measures, our specialist DAX course will also show you how to write queries like this:

-- show most expensive transactions first (for

-- two or more transactions having same price,

-- sort by quantity sold)


( 'Transaction' )


'Transaction'[Price] DESC,


DAX queries are similar to SQL queries, and allow you to extract blocks of data from tables or Analysis Services cubes.

We hope this has given you an idea of what you'll learn on our Power BI courses, but please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

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