DAX: Use SELECTEDVALUE instead of VALUES

As a data modeler, sometimes you might need to write a DAX expression that tests whether a column is filtered by a specific value.

In earlier versions of DAX, this requirement was safely achieved by using a pattern involving three DAX functions. The functions are IF, HASONEVALUE and VALUES. The following measure definition presents an example. It calculates the sales tax amount, but only for sales made to Australian customers.

Australian Sales Tax =
IF(
    HASONEVALUE(Customer[Country-Region]),
    IF(
        VALUES(Customer[Country-Region]) = "Australia",
        [Sales] * 0.10
    )
)

In the example, the HASONEVALUE function returns TRUE only when a single value filters the Country-Region column. When it's TRUE, the VALUES function is compared to the literal text "Australia". When the VALUES function returns TRUE, the Sales measure is multiplied by 0.10 (representing 10%). If the HASONEVALUE function returns FALSE—because more than one value filters the column—the first IF function returns BLANK.

The use of the HASONEVALUE is a defensive technique. It's required because it's possible that multiple values filter the Country-Region column. In this case, the VALUES function returns a table of multiple rows. Comparing a table of multiple rows to a scalar value results in an error.

Recommendation

We recommend that you use the SELECTEDVALUE function. It achieves the same outcome as the pattern described in this article, yet more efficiently and elegantly.

Using the SELECTEDVALUE function, the example measure definition is now rewritten.

Australian Sales Tax =
IF(
    SELECTEDVALUE(Customer[Country-Region]) = "Australia",
    [Sales] * 0.10
)

Tip

It's possible to pass an alternate result value into the SELECTEDVALUE function. The alternate result value is returned when either no filters—or multiple filters—are applied to the column.

Next steps

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