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Introduction to DAX in Microsoft Power BI

How to quickly create calculated columns and measures using DAX

Topic: Data
Jordan Goldmeier

Many people can do Power BI basics—they can query and create one or two visuals. Unfortunately, that only gets you so far. Eventually you’ll have to create something more complicated that requires you know a little DAX (Power BI’s data expression language). Is DAX like Excel formulas? Or is it like SQL? Indeed, it’s kind of both—and more! DAX may seem complicated, but with a little guidance, it’s easier than you think.

Using case studies that bring together multiple capabilities at once, expert Jordan Goldmeier shows you how to easily create measures to find SUM, COUNT, MAX, and more with a click of a button; make the best use of the mysterious filter context; and use Power BI’s DAX language to power your data visualizations. You’ll also get tips on which Power BI experts to follow to gain the knowledge that will transform you into an expert at your workplace.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

By the end of this live online course, you’ll understand:

  • How to use measures to easily model things like year-over-year cash flows and the total counts of transaction per region
  • The CALCULATE() function (You’ll probably end up using it for most measures you want to calculate.)
  • How the filter context controls how data flows your report—and how you can make of this data flow

And you’ll be able to:

  • Create a measure on the fly to solve the vast majority of business problems
  • Keep your measures organized so that you know what they do and how they work
  • Quickly create time intelligence reports with things like year-over-year comparisons, saving you hours as compared to how you might do it in Excel

This training course is for you because...

  • You’re an analyst.
  • You work with Excel or SQL wrangling, reporting, and analyzing data.
  • You want to become a data scientist or business analytics professional.


  • A working knowledge of Microsoft Power BI and Excel (e.g., Excel formulas, charts, pivot tables, etc.)
  • A basic understanding of Microsoft Access or databases
  • Familiarity with SQL (useful but not required)

Recommended preparation:

Recommended follow-up:

About your instructor

  • Jordan Goldmeier is "chief data therapist" at Excel.tv, where he empowers individuals, teams, and executives to be smart data thinkers without investing in expensive new technologies. He’s authored two books on Excel and data visualization and once saved the United States Air Force $60 million using Excel. Past clients include the NATO Training Mission, Principal Financial, and H&M. His work has been written about by Bloomberg Businessweek and the Associated Press. You can find him speaking across the globe on how to make the most of your data.


The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

Introduction (55 minutes)

  • Presentation and demos: Key concepts and class outcomes; the history of DAX; how DAX relates to Excel; introduction to measures—creating the data model, implied measures, DAX calculated columns, and DAX measures
  • Q&A

Break (5 minutes)

Filter context (55 minutes)

  • Presentation and demos: What is filter context?; What can happen if you don’t pay attention to filter context?; creating measures in a complicated model—reviewing the data model and creating relationships; using CALCULATE; creating a Power BI report using CALCULATE, SUMX, and AVERAGEX

Break (5 minutes)

Data visualization (60 minutes)

  • Presentation and demos: Relationships and iterator functions; RELATED; the difference between SUM and SUMX; design schemas; the most important DAX functions—FILTER, IF, AND, OR, and time intelligence functions (LASTDATE, PREVIOUS YEAR); resources for continued learning