What Is a Calculated Table in Power BI?
Power BI is one of the flagship software-based products within Microsoft’s offering, and it enables users the opportunity to build reports and dashboards with interactive visualization elements. This data visualization along with the business intelligence tool is utilized by many within the industry to convert data from different sources into an interactive dashboard.
Anyone can also learn about metadata in Power BI or how to export Power BI to Excel. These aspects can go a long way toward getting a Microsoft Power BI certification. Power BI is essential software for any business, and today, we will be diving into an important aspect of it—calculated tables.
Power BI and Its Importance
Power BI provides multiple software services and it features a desktop application that is utilized to create reports.
Power BI can be utilized and can work with simple data sources, including Microsoft Excel, or it can take things further through the utilization of cloud-based hybrid data warehouses. It can connect to any data sources and visualize them so they can be published and shared with anyone.
Calculated Tables in Power BI
Calculated tables are essentially computed objects based on a DAX query or an expression derived from all or a part of other tables within the same model.
For context, DAX (Data Analysis Expressions) is a Power BI functional language, and it utilizes a collection of functions, operators, and constants as a means of solving calculations. This means that Analysis Services, Power BI, and Power Pivot in Excel all utilize DAX as a formula expression language.
A calculated table in Power BI is essentially a table created by the DAX calculation. These calculated tables load into memory and are always prepared.
This is beneficial for multiple reasons. In Power BI, calling any in-memory data can be a lot more efficient compared to, for example, getting the same values from an external data source or needing to recalculate them in real-time. Additionally, data will not need to be retrieved again later, and the values are always up-to-date. However, there’s also a downside, and the tradeoff is that the calculated table will increase the size of the overall file.
How Calculated Tables Work
Calculated tables allow users the opportunity to add new tables based on the data that is already loaded into the model. Instead of needing to query and load values into the new table’s columns from a data source, anyone can create a DAX formula to define the table’s values.
Calculated tables are recommended for intermediate calculations and for data that the user can store as a part of the model rather than calculating on the fly or per query result. Calculated table columns have numerous data types and formatting and can even have a data category. They can be labeled, and they can be added to the procedure of reporting visualizations, just like other tables. They are also recalculated if any of the tables they pull data from are refreshed or updated, which can streamline the data analysis process.
Creating a calculated table in Power BI is one of the most important ways through which users can report calculated values based on neutral data. Each user of the software solution is able to reference related tables, specify column data types, and select different types of formatting.
Anyone can define the calculated table by any DAX expression, which can return a table with a reference to another table. These can then be used with DAX to solve any analytical issue. Now that you understand some of the basics, you can see that the possibilities are endless!