In Power BI, creating a new measure and a new column are two different ways to calculate and analyze data. Both options can help you gain insights from your data, but they have different purposes and use cases. In this blog, we’ll explain the differences between creating a new measure and a new column in Power BI.

What is a New Column in Power BI?

A new column is a static calculation that you can add to a table in your data model. The new column is based on one or more existing columns and is calculated using a formula that you define. Once you create a new column, its values are stored in the data model, just like any other column. You can use this new column in visualizations, tables, and charts to perform further analysis.

For example, you might create a new column to calculate the total revenue by multiplying the unit price by the quantity sold. You can then use this column to create a bar chart that shows the total revenue by product or by region.

The key point to note here is that the values in a new column are static and can’t be changed based on user interactions with the data. The new column is calculated once, and the values remain the same unless you manually update them.

What is a New Measure in Power BI?

A new measure is a dynamic calculation that aggregates data from one or more columns in a table. Measures are used to perform calculations on groups of values, such as calculating the average sales per day or the total sales for a particular category. Measures can be used in visualizations, tables, and charts to display summary information.

Measures are dynamic, meaning that they respond to filtering and slicing of the data in real-time. For example, if you create a measure to calculate the average sales per day, and then filter the data to show only the sales for a particular product, the measure will update to show the average sales per day for that product only.

The key point to note here is that measures are based on aggregated data and are calculated on the fly, meaning that they respond to user interactions with the data.

When to use a New Column vs. a New Measure in Power BI?

The decision to use a new column or a new measure in Power BI depends on your specific analysis needs. Here are some scenarios where one option might be more appropriate than the other:

  • Use a new column when you need to perform a static calculation on existing data that won’t change based on user interactions.
  • Use a new measure when you need to perform a dynamic calculation on aggregated data that will respond to user interactions.

In summary, creating a new measure and a new column are two different ways to calculate and analyze data in Power BI. New columns are static and calculated based on existing data, while measures are dynamic and based on aggregated data. Choosing between the two depends on your specific analysis needs and how you want to interact with your data.

The Data School
Author: The Data School