Power BI DAX Kickstart

December 05, 2019

Microsoft Power BI

Overview and Mechanics of Data Analysis Expressions

It’s easy to create a new Power BI Desktop file and import some data into it and create reports. But, what if you need to analyze growth percentage across product categories and for different date ranges? Or, you need to calculate year-over-year growth compared to market trends? You need to use the query language Data Analysis eXpresssion (DAX). DAX helps you create new information from data already in your model. It is a collection of functions, operators and constants that can be used in a formula, or expression, to calculate and return one or more values.

In this webinar recording, get a kickstart to working with DAX in Power BI. We look at the basics of working with DAX functions, touch on critical concepts like filter context and look at the environment for constructing calculations. You will learn about differences and best practices when using calculated columns and measures. We touch on the commonly used CALCULATE() and RELATED() functions and provide a few sample DAX functions so you’ll get feel for how the language works, all within the Tabular environment of Power BI.

Learning how to create effective DAX formulas helps get the most out of your data. When you get the information you need, you can solve real business problems that affect your bottom line. This is the power of Power BI, and DAX will help you get there.


Power BI


Bill Pearson
Business Intelligence Architect
Senturus, Inc.

Bill has over 20 years of experience in business intelligence and data analytics with a background in financing and accounting. (He maintains active CPA and other certifications). Bill is an SSAS Maestro (a Microsoft designation), was an eight-year Data Platform MVP, was a technical lead on the global roll out of Power BI and is focused on helping clients implement and use Analysis Services (Tabular and Multidimensional) and Power BI within their enterprises.


  • The Data Analysis eXpressions (DAX) language
    • DAX serves as the language of
      • Power BI
      • Excel Power Pivot
      • SQL Server Analysis Services Tabular
    • DAX learning curve considerations
    • DAX programming concepts
    • Tips to ease effort required to get to know DAX
  • DAX as an expression language
    • DAX function calls drive execution
    • Derivation of DAX
    • An example of a simple formula
    • DAX syntax for columns
    • The general format/anatomy of a formula using DAX in Power BI
  • Primary vehicles for DAX: calculation types 
    • DAX can be employed in Power BI through a couple of mechanisms
      • Calculated columns
      • Measures
  • Calculated column creation
    • DEMO: Create calculated column
  • Measures creation
    • DEMO: Create measure
  • Calculated columns vs. measures
    • Calculated columns are best when we need to
    • Measures are best when we need to
    • Space and CPU use
  • DAX functions: groups and examples
    • DEMO: primary function group examples
  • Additional resources