Create calculated columns

Completed

Sometimes, the data that you're analyzing doesn't contain a field that you need. The answer might be calculated columns. You can create a new calculated column by transforming two or more elements of existing data. For example, you can create a new column by combining two columns into one.

Tasks in this unit include: Conceptual graphic of the tasks in this module.

Note

To follow along with the examples on this page, download the sample Access database here and import into Power BI Desktop (Get Data > Database > Access database). If you have any issues loading the Access database, please read this article.

One reason for creating a calculated column is to establish a relationship between tables when no unique fields exist. The lack of a relationship becomes obvious when you create a simple table visual in Power BI Desktop and get the same value for all entries.

Spreadsheet with identical Revenue values in every row.

For example, to create a relationship with unique fields in data, you can create a new calculated column for "CountryZip" by combining the values from the Country and the Zip columns.

To create a calculated column, select the Data view in Power BI Desktop from the left side of the report canvas.

Screenshot of the Data view canvas.

From the Table tools tab, select New Column to enable the formula bar. You can enter calculations by using Data Analysis Expressions (DAX) language. DAX is a powerful formula language that lets you build robust calculations. As you type a formula, Power BI Desktop displays matching formulas or data elements to assist and accelerate the creation of your formula.

The Power BI formula bar will suggest specific DAX functions and related data columns as you enter your expression.

Screenshot of the New Column button

After you have created the new CountryZip calculated column in each table, they can be used as a unique key to establish a relationship between the two tables. By going to the Relationship view, you can then drag the CountryZip field from the Sales table to the Geography table to create the relationship.

Screenshot of graphical relationship between two fields.

When you return to the Report view, notice that a different value for each district shows.

Corrected spreadsheet with correct Revenue values by district.

For more information on calculated columns, including the use of IF statements, see Tutorial: Create calculated columns in Power BI Desktop.