Skip to main content

Power BI: Running Totals Using Variables and Calculate Function

 Recently after a private training, I had a follow-up email from one of the participants.  He asked if there was a way to return a running total for a column of values.  I immediately went to using a DAX function called YTD (Year To Date) which when you reference an expression and feed the function your column of dates from your date table, the formula will continually add your numbers through time until you reach the end of the year.  After sharing my solution, he asked if there was a way to do this without having it reset at the end of the year. He wanted a rolling total for all time and not just a year.  So I had to change my approach.

In order to achieve his solution, I made a calculated column, but it wasn't just a basic column.  I had to override the row-level context that is present when running calculated columns.  I needed to return the values for the current date of the row and any previous dates where the value is present.  Also, it needed to run for specific agency values which he had many of.  In order to accomplish this, I used variables as well as the Calculate function.  Take a look below to see the whole solution.

If you enjoy this blog or any of my other videos and are interested in formal training on Power BI, Power Apps, Azure, or other Microsoft products you can use my code "Matt20" at check out when purchasing any private training or On-Demand Learning classes from


Popular posts from this blog

The Power of CALCULATE in Power BI

Last week in my blog and video I discussed how Power BI could have made my life as a teacher much easier.  It is not that Power BI can do things that I could not on my own.  It is the fact that Power BI could have saved me so much time.   This led me to some thoughts and questions.   How could I have impacted the students more in the classroom with this extra time?  Would teachers who were not analyzing student data due to time constraints now start?  How can I make the data tell my students a story that gives them an accurate picture of their progress?   That last question is what leads to this week’s blog.   Many times the metrics (which is just a fancy word for "numbers") of what we want to show are easy to do by hand with a basic math background.  Although easy, it can be very time consuming when dealing with different groups of data: like 6 periods of students instead of 1 period. When we want to do these calculations quickly with minimal effort in Power BI it is not

Pizza and DAX are my Love Languages

Okay, okay, not really. Beer is though. But if my wife asks, it's "quality time spent with her watching British dramas on PBS Masterpiece." In all seriousness, if you are new to Power BI - then DAX may seem like a foreign language.  Do you want to find out some quick tips or best practices?  Well, let me give you a few tips that were helpful to me when first starting to write DAX formulas. The TAB key is your best friend.   Don’t try to type everything character for character for your formulas.   Just type until you the formula, column, table, etc. shows up directly under the formula bar.   Once, it is there hit the tab button and it automatically promotes it into your formula bar.  Is the formula text too small for you?   It’s always too small for me when doing demonstrations for others.   Place your cursor in the formula bar.   Hold down the control key on your keyboard and use your mouse scroll wheel to make the text larger or smaller. Would you like to move to a new l

Loading Folders as Data Sources in POWER BI

  Power BI can connect to a plethora of different data sources.   Did you know Power BI can also make loading multiple files at one time a cinch?   There is an option from the Get Data icon for “Folder”.   Wait, a folder is not a data source, is it?   Well, all the files in that folder are for sure data sources. So what makes the “Folder” option something you need to know about?   Do you get new files with the same column structure sent to you on a set time frame and then have to go and append them to your existing file?   Have you ever found yourself appending multiple files over and over that have the same column structure?   If you answered yes to any of those last 2 questions, then you are going to fall in love with the “Folder” data source. Simply put, the “Folder” option allows you to bring in all of your files at once into Power BI.   You will then make all of your transforms on one sample file and Power BI will automate the process across all the files of your choosing and