How to create & use Power BI Date Table: A comprehensive Guide 101

on Date Tables, Power BI • March 3rd, 2022 • Write for Hevo

Power BI Date Tables : Cover

Because Power BI might report and frequently display inaccurate numbers that may or may not work because of missing values, the Date Table becomes vital since you’ll need them to reference dates within your model. 

So, using a date table can be beneficial if you require precise date information for your reports. It’s also critical to understand the fundamental strategies for working with the Power BI Date table so you can get things up and running as quickly as feasible. 

This tutorial article will review several valuable hints that will assist you while creating and using Power BI Date Table. In addition, we have divided this article into two sections to understand better the Power BI Date Table and how it’s used. Let’s begin.

Table of Contents

What is Power BI?

Power BI Date Tables : Power BI LOGO
Power BI

Microsoft’s Power BI is a technology-driven business intelligence solution for analyzing and displaying raw data to offer actionable insights. It combines business analytics, data visualization, and best practices to assist organizations in making data-driven decisions.

Power BI offers a variety of applications, connectors, and services, including a desktop version, a SaaS-based Power BI service, and mobile Power BI apps for several platforms. Business users utilize this set of services to consume data and create BI reports.

The Power BI desktop program is used to create reports, Power BI Services (Software as a Service – SaaS) is used to publish them, and the Power BI mobile app is used to view them.

Key Features of Power BI

  • Detailed dashboards and reports: PowerBI can create highly informative reports and provides multiple visualization options that can be applied to enterprise data and extract maximum insights. Some of the most used visualization options offered by PowerBI are Bar Charts, Column Charts, Line Plots, Area Plots, Pie Charts, Scatter Plots, Treemaps, Funnel Analysis Charts, etc.
  • Detailed Navigation Panel: The navigation panel of PowerBI is very detailed and gives loads of information. It enables you to view information like apps, pipelines, workflows, dashboards, and reports for both the deployed ones and the ones being planned. It helps collaborate your dashboards and reports with fellow collaborators and team members. It is dynamic and enables more accessible access to the reports that are created for MyWorkspace (personal use) and collaboration. This also allows for saving dashboards and reports belonging to separate teams individually but in the same workspace.
  • Multiple Functions for analysis: PowerBI has the provision for functions known as DAX functions which are inbuilt functions that are efficient in analyzing the organizational data. These functions are predefined and need arguments to be passed. They are present in the function library of PowerBI and are updated on a regular basis.
  • Multiple Dataset Visualizations: PowerBI is software that is flexible and highly scalable. It enables the use of data from singular and multiple sources, the data is accepted from both cloud solutions and on-premise offerings, and analysis of both structured and unstructured data is possible. Many primary sources supported by PowerBI are python, oracle, excel, and many more.
  • Creative Dashboards: There are many pre-built themes for the dashboards that can be customized and created based on the data and requirements. Also, there are options to combine multiple visualizations and share them with others.

Advantages of Power BI

Some common advantages of using Power BI are as follows:

  • Power BI is reasonably easy to learn and requires no training as a self-service product.
  • Files are easy to share within the team structure. A cloud-based environment ensures visualization is refreshed for all whenever one user updates datasets.
  • A robust navigation algorithm empowers Power BI users to find content quickly.
  • Power BI can leverage the offerings of Azure Machine Learning and can create new machine learning models, too. 

Simplify Power BI Data Analysis with Hevo’s No-code Data Pipeline!

Hevo Data, a No-code Data Pipeline, helps load data from any data source such as Databases, SaaS applications, Cloud Storage, SDK,s, and Streaming Services and simplifies the ETL process. It supports 100+ Data Sources, including 40+ Free Sources. It is a 3-step process by just selecting the data source, providing valid credentials, and choosing the destination. 

GET STARTED WITH HEVO FOR FREE

Check out why Hevo is the Best:

  • Secure: Hevo has a fault-tolerant architecture that ensures that the data is handled securely and consistently with zero data loss.
  • Schema Management: Hevo takes away the tedious task of schema management & automatically detects the schema of incoming data and maps it to the destination schema.
  • Minimal Learning: Hevo, with its simple and interactive UI, is extremely simple for new customers to work on and perform operations.
  • Hevo Is Built To Scale: As the number of sources and the volume of your data grows, Hevo scales horizontally, handling millions of records per minute with very little latency.
  • Incremental Data Load: Hevo allows the transfer of data that has been modified in real-time. This ensures efficient utilization of bandwidth on both ends.
  • Live Support: The Hevo team is available round the clock to extend exceptional support to its customers through chat, email, and support calls.
  • Live Monitoring: Hevo allows you to monitor the data flow and check where your data is at a particular point in time.

Simplify your Data Analysis with Hevo today! 

SIGN UP HERE FOR A 14-DAY FREE TRIAL!

Importance of the Date Table in Power BI

In business intelligence settings, the Date table is critical. You can’t use the time intelligence functions that come standard with the latest BI reporting solutions, including Power BI reports if you don’t have them.

The Date table improves the performance of date-and-time searches on data warehouse databases or data models.

How to create Power BI Date Table?

In this section of the blog post, we will discuss, in detail, five time-intelligent techniques that you can use to add a date table to your data model. The techniques are as follows:

Creating Power BI Date Table Using Auto date/time

The Auto date/time option provides time intelligence that is convenient, quick, and simple to use. When filtering, sorting, and drilling down across calendar time spans, report authors can use time intelligence. In the Microsoft Power BI Documentation, it’s recommended to only use the Auto date/time option when working with calendar time periods and when your model requirements are simple in terms of time.

When developing ad hoc models or undertaking data exploration or profiling, this option can be useful. On the other hand, this method does not allow for the creation of a single Power BI Date Table that can propagate filters across several tables. See Power BI Desktop’s Auto date/time guidance for additional information.

Connecting Power BI Date Table With Power Query

It’s recommended to use your data source’s date table as the source of your model date table if it already has one. When connecting to a data warehouse, this is usually the case because the data warehouse will have a date dimension table. In this way, your model in your company can benefit from a single source of truth for a time.

If you’re working on a DirectQuery model and your data source doesn’t have a date table, we strongly advise you to add one. It should satisfy all of a date table’s modeling requirements. After that, you may link to the date table with Power Query. This way, the DAX time intelligence capabilities can be used in your model computations.

Generating Power BI Date Table With Power Query

Generating a Power BI Date Table with Power Query uses the DAX, which is much easier and faster. Likewise, you might find it more convenient because DAX simplifies the creation and management of Date Tables as it leverages its built-in intelligence functions. Learn more.

Generating Power BI Date Table With DAX

You can create a Date Table in your model by utilizing the CALENDAR or CALENDARAUTO DAX functions to create a computed table. Each function returns a Date Table with a single column. The generated table can then be expanded with calculated columns to support your date interval filtering and grouping needs.

When you need to define a date range, use the CALENDAR function. You choose two dates: the start and end dates. Other DAX functions, such as MIN(Sales[OrderDate]) or MAX(Sales[OrderDate]), can be used to define these values (Sales[OrderDate]).

When you want the date range to automatically encompass all dates stored in the model, use the CALENDARAUTO function. You can specify the end month of the year as a single optional parameter (you don’t need to include a value if your year is a calendar year that finishes in December). It’s a useful function because it assures that the entire year of dates is returned, which is required for a marked date table. Furthermore, you won’t have to worry about expanding the table into the future: When a data refresh is completed, the table is recalculated. When dates for a new year are entered into the model, a recalculation will automatically increase the table’s date range.

Cloning Power BI Date Table with DAX

If your model already contains a Date table and you need another, cloning the existing date table is a simple process. When Date is a role-playing dimension, this is the case. A computed table can be used to clone a table. The name of the current date table is used as the calculated table expression.

How to Set & Use Power BI Date Table?

It’s quite acceptable for many data analysts to develop their own Date Tables. In Power BI Desktop, you may define which table your model should use as its date table, and then utilize that table’s date data to build date-related visuals, tables, quick measures, and so on. You control the date hierarchies built in your model when you define your own date table, and you may utilize them in quick measures and other operations that require your model’s date table.

Power BI Date Tables: How to Set & Use Power BI Date Tables?
Microsoft Documentation

Setting Your Own Power BI Date Table

To create a Power BI Date table, right-click the table you wish to use as a date table in the Fields pane, then pick Mark as date table > Mark as date table from the menu that displays, as shown in the image below.

Power BI Date Tables: Setting Your Own Power BI Date Tables
Microsoft Documentation

As shown in the image below, you can select the table and then select Mark as Date Table in the section under the section “Table tools.”

Power BI Date Tables: Setting Your Own Power BI Date Tables
Microsoft Documentation

It’s important to know, that PowerBI conducts the following validations when you specify your own date table to ensure that the data:

  1. Consists unique values
  2. Contains zero null values
  3. From start to end contains contiguous date values
  4. Has the same timestamp across values, if it is a Date/Time data type.

Now, two possible scenarios exist for which either of these two approaches can help:

  1. When you employ a canonical, or basic date table and hierarchy, the first scenario occurs. This is a table in your data that matches the date table validation criteria previously specified.
  2. The second instance is when you want to use a table from Analysis Services as your date table, such as one with a dim date field.

You can choose which column in the date table is the date column once you’ve specified a date table. By choosing the table in the Fields pane, right-clicking it, and selecting Mark as date table > Date table settings, you may pick which column to use. The following window appears, where you can choose from a drop-down box the column to use as the date table.

Power BI Date Tables: Setting Your Own Power BI Date Tables
Microsoft Documentation

When you specify your own date table, Power BI Desktop does not automatically establish the hierarchies that it would otherwise build into your model for you. If you subsequently deselect your date table (and no longer have a manually specified date table), Power BI Desktop recreates the built-in date tables for the date columns in the table for you.

It’s also worth noting that when you mark a table as a date table, Power BI Desktop removes the built-in (automatically formed) date table, and any visuals or DAX expressions you made before based on those built-in tables will no longer operate.

Power BI Date Tables: Setting Your Own Power BI Date Tables
Microsoft Documentation

Conclusion

In this tutorial article, we covered all about creating and using Power BI Date Table to conduct necessary data modeling operations. And, if you want to learn more about Power BI Date Table, either of these two documents can help:

  1. Create Date Tables in Power BI Desktop
  2. Set and use Date Tables in Power BI Desktop

Hevo Data, a Fully-managed Data Pipeline platform, can help you automate, simplify & enrich your data replication process in a few clicks. With Hevo’s wide variety of connectors and blazing-fast Data Pipelines, you can extract & load data from 100+ Data Sources straight into your Data Warehouse or any Databases. To further streamline and prepare your data for analysis, you can process and enrich raw granular data using Hevo’s robust & built-in Transformation Layer without writing a single line of code!

VISIT OUR WEBSITE TO EXPLORE HEVO

Want to take Hevo for a spin?

SIGN UP and experience the feature-rich Hevo suite first hand. You can also have a look at the unbeatable pricing that will help you choose the right plan for your business needs.

Do you have any doubts? Feel free to ask or share your experience of creating a Power BI Date Table in the comments section below!

No-code Data Pipeline for Power BI