A Guide To Using DAX In Power BI

Microsoft Power BI is a valuable tool in the arsenal of many company leaders and managers. As it’s a customisable business data analytics tool, the best way to use Power BI is to tailor the functions and features to your exact requirements. 

That means learning how to adapt the tool and creating custom reports using Power BI desktop that will showcase your data in all its glory. After all, data is only as good as the way it’s displayed, so if you want to make the most of Power BI, you need to learn how to use it, including using Power BI Mobile Apps!

The main way to adjust Power BI and build bespoke reports and functions is to use DAX, the programming tool Microsoft developed to work alongside Power BI and other tabulated Microsoft Power products. 

If you want to learn more about DAX in Power BI and the top DAX functions, then keep reading. We’ve put together a list of the most important facts to give you valuable insight and get you started on your journey towards Power BI mastery. 


Key Power BI Terms

Before we discuss DAX in Power BI, we want to define the main terms used in this article. Firstly, there’s Microsoft Power BI, which is a cutting-edge business analytics tool.

Power BI Overview

Part of the Microsoft Power Platform, Power BI is designed to give visual representations of complicated business data and allow users to create their own unique reports and dashboards

Microsoft created Power BI intending to make it as accessible as possible so that users can customise their views and create innovative reports. 

Power BI Mobile Apps & Desktop

Power BI offers a Cloud-based business analytics platform, as well as a desktop interface and mobile apps, so you can use it wherever you are and access your data remotely, which is perfect for modern employees and managers.

Using mobile apps, you can see your reports and dashboards on the move, while using Power BI Desktop, you can work on your reports at home or in your office. 

Once you’ve mastered DAX in Power BI, you can make up for lost time by creating bespoke reports and dashboards to give the information you want to see. 

power BI pricing

Power BI Pricing

Most business leaders can get a free trial of Power BI, and then you can choose the Power BI subscription that you want. Microsoft offers two main options: Power BI Pro and Power BI Premium.

Each solution is unique and has a different subscription option, so professionals or business leaders can find the perfect option and pay for the functions and users they need. 

The Premium option contains everything the Pro version has, but additional features make it better for larger companies. 

It also offers per-user or per capacity payment options so that larger organisations can get cost-effective solutions for their larger teams. On the other hand, individuals or smaller companies can purchase individual user accounts to ensure that they only get the Power BI services that they need. 

Learn more about Power BI Pro Vs Premium, find out which functions each solution offers, and choose the right one for your organisation. 

Power BI Is… Powerful & Affordable

Thanks to these multiple payment options and solutions, Microsoft Power BI is a valuable business data analytics tool for a wide range of businesses across the corporate market. 

Whatever the size of your organisation or the niche it operates in, you can use Power BI’s flexible solutions to provide cost-effective analysis of business-critical data. 


Key DAX Expressions

For further flexibility for Power BI users, Microsoft developed DAX. DAX expressions and formulas are a crucial part of customising the Power BI platform. 

DAX Overview

DAX, which stands for Data Analysis Expressions, is the main programming language used in Microsoft Power BI. Like VBA, the programming language used for Excel, you can use a DAX function to adapt Power BI and create a range of custom functions like trig functions, filter functions and mathematical functions. 

 Much like using formulas in the formula bar in Excel, DAX can be adapted to calculate averages, future predictions, analyse growth percentages and more. There are many similarities between the DAX functions and Excel, so compare the two to determine which one will work for your projects. 

DAX In Power BI

Using the data already in your Power BI model, DAX code can help users transform this data and make accurate predictions create timelines and more. 

As well as Power BI, Microsoft has also developed DAX to interact with other products on its Microsoft Power Platform, including Microsoft Power Pivot for Excel and other platforms that focus on tables and numerical data. 

That means that if you learn how to use DAX functions and code, you can apply these skills to various Microsoft programs and make the most of the tools you use. 


How Is DAX Used In Power BI?

As the program’s developer language, DAX is the backbone of Power BI. As such, no business leader can get the most out of the platform without learning DAX programming language.

While it is possible to create a Power BI file, import data and create basic reports without using DAX, the programming language is useful for any customisation that you might need. 

For example, you can use DAX to create cumulative totals that include content from across various reports and tables to give you a comprehensive overview of your numbers. 

Cumulative data can be used to explore everything from sales numbers to the complete number of leads generated. This information can be valuable when predicting future business growth or reviewing past performance. 

Data Analysis Using DAX

Another useful application for DAX in Power BI is data analysis, comparing past data to current information, and understanding trends. 

Using past and current data and comparing the two, business leaders and managers can create innovative visualisations that track the changes in past sales or other business practices. 

As DAX also has date and time intelligence functions, users can evaluate data based on a specific period, for example, between one month and another. 

These examples are just some of the ways that you can use DAX in Power BI. As you learn more about DAX and how it works, you can further adapt it to suit your company’s requirements and craft even more interactive and innovative reports. 

power bi in business

Why Is DAX In Power BI So Useful For Businesses? 

As the examples above highlight, DAX formulas and expressions can be integrated into reports and transform data sets into useful numerical reports that help drive businesses forward. 

Microsoft Power BI users can create new data, such as predictions, timelines, targets, and more from their existing information using DAX expressions. 

That means that you can make the most of the information you have at your disposal. While you might know that you made X many sales in quarter 1 of last year, you might not realise that this is three times as many as the same time the previous year. 

You might also not realise that the reason for this is because your business doubled its marketing budget during that time. 

Build Customised Reports Using DAX

Numbers alone are not enough to help your business to grow and flourish, but by combining them and working out how they relate to each other, users can create valuable insights that they can then use to inform future business decisions. 

With Microsoft Power BI and DAX, you can create unique reports and adapt them as your company changes and grows. Growing organisations need scalable solutions, and DAX can give you those in combination with Power BI. 

Using DAX in Power BI will allow your team to make the most of this useful business analytics programme. If you don’t use DAX, then you might not get good value for the money you spend on your Power BI subscription. 


How To Get Started With DAX In Power BI

If you want to get started using DAX in Power BI, you need to understand how to make the most of Microsoft Power BI, and Power BI reports. This approach will allow you to use it to the fullest for your organisation. 

Learning about this innovative but complicated business analytics tool can be challenging, particularly if you’re not experienced with technology.

When you first start using any data-based tool, you should always create example workbooks and reports. If you launch straight into using your real data, then you could find that you make potentially devastating mistakes. 

Keep your data safe in an Excel workbook or another storage space that you understand while using your practice Power BI documents to learn the basic skills you need to make the most of Power BI. 

Help With DAX In Power BI

If you’re still feeling unsure and don’t know where to begin when using DAX in Power BI, consider collaborating with The Excel Experts. Our team offer dedicated Power BI consulting to help your business make the most of the features of Power BI. 

We also offer consultancy services for a range of other Microsoft products, including Excel training courses, MS Office training, custom Excel workbooks and more.  

For personalised advice and support, contact us today. You can also check out our blog to get regular updates on the Microsoft Excel and Power BI markets, new Office 365 tools and more.

With our help, you can make the most of Microsoft’s innovative tools and learn how to apply their various uses to your business. 

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