What is DAX?

Written by: Danny Galvan

May 5, 2017

DAX stands for Data Analysis Expressions. These expressions are the things you write to try and analyze your data in a meaningful way. It turns out that writing DAX can be extremely easy.

It’s a functional language. This means that it can resemble an Excel formula. Let’s illustrate this claim by looking at a basic formula in Excel compared to that of DAX in Power BI 



Power BI:


This is an extremely simple example. We looked at data from one column and did a simple calculation with that column of data. All DAX expressions will contain at least one of these basic formulas no matter how complicated they get.

Of course, DAX can get way more complicated.

There are many levels to the expressions you can write. Despite the depth of the language some of the most useful expressions can be written by a DAX beginner. Most of us will never need the complex stuff and may only ever go as deep as the CALCULATE() function.


Before you go off and look at confusing examples of DAX expressions (unless you have already), I want to share what I believe were the key concepts to helping me strongly grasp the beginner level of DAX. In my next few posts we will take a deeper look into the language, explaining the 2 basic types of expressions and how they fit into our Power BI reports.

If you need assistance with creating new Power BI reports in your organization, contact us today and schedule a free demo!