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Introducing the RANK Window Function in DAX: An Overview and Example

Introducing the RANK Window Function in DAX: An Overview and Example

Introducing the RANK Window Function in DAX: An Overview and Example


Data Analysis Expressions (DAX) is a collection of functions, operators, and constants used in Microsoft’s Power BI, Analysis Services, and Power Pivot in Excel. Among its suite of functions, window functions are specifically designed to perform calculations across sets of rows that are related to the current row. One such function is the RANK function, which assigns a rank to each row within a partition of a result set.

The RANK function is incredibly useful for understanding data distribution and identifying top or bottom records within a given context. Today, we will dive into the RANK function, understand its syntax, and work through an example.

Understanding the RANK Function in DAX:

In DAX, the RANK function is expressed as RANKX. It returns the rank of a number in a list of numbers for each row in a table. The syntax is as follows:

RANKX (<table>, <expression>[, <value>[, <order>[, <ties>]]])


  • <table>: This is the table with data that you want to rank.
  • <expression>: This is the expression that defines the value to be ranked.
  • <value>: This is optional and represents a scalar expression that defines the value matched against the values of <expression> for all rows of <table>.
  • <order>: This is also optional and indicates how to sort the data. It can be either ascending (ASC) or descending (DESC).
  • <ties>: This is optional too and specifies how to handle ties.

Let’s understand this better with an example.

Example: Ranking Sales Performance:

Suppose we have a ‘Sales’ table with ‘Salesperson’ and ‘Total Sales’ columns. We want to rank the salespeople based on their total sales.

Sales Table:
Salesperson   Total Sales
John          $20,000
Lisa          $15,000
Mark          $25,000
Susan         $18,000
Peter         $22,000

We can use the RANKX function to accomplish this. Our DAX expression will look like:

    CALCULATE(SUM('Sales'[Total Sales])),

This expression will return a new column that ranks each salesperson by their total sales in descending order. In the case of tied sales figures, the ‘Dense’ option ensures that no ranks are skipped.


The RANKX function in DAX is a powerful tool for analyzing and understanding your data. By ranking data points in relation to each other, you can uncover insights that would otherwise remain hidden. Whether you’re comparing sales performance, tracking website metrics, or analyzing survey data, the RANKX function provides a valuable perspective on your data.

As you continue to develop your DAX skills, remember to explore and experiment with functions like RANKX – you’ll be surprised at the depth of insights you can gain. Happy data analyzing!

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