Thursday 4 January 2024

SUM() vs SUMX(): What is the difference between the two DAX functions ? Power BI interview questions and answers 256

 SUM() vs SUMX(): What is the difference between the two DAX functions ?

In Power BI, both SUM() and SUMX() are used for adding numbers, but they serve different purposes and have distinct approaches:


  • Simple summation: Used for performing a basic sum of all values within a single column.

  • Direct and efficient: Operates directly on the specified column, making it computationally faster for simple summation tasks.

  • No row-by-row calculation: Doesn't involve any individual row processing, simply returns the overall sum of the entire column.


  • Dynamic calculations: Allows for performing individual calculations on each row of a table before summation.

  • Custom logic: Enables incorporating DAX expressions within the function to manipulate data before adding it to the total.

  • More flexible and powerful: Useful for complex scenarios where you need to calculate and sum values based on specific conditions or transformations within each row.

Here's a table summarizing the key differences:





Basic summation of all values

Dynamic calculations and summation with custom logic for each row

Calculation method

Direct summation of a single column

Individual row calculations followed by summation


Faster for simple summation

Less efficient than SUM() due to row-by-row processing


Less flexible, limited to basic summation

More flexible, allows for complex calculations and logic within each row

Choosing the right function depends on your specific needs:

  • Use SUM() for:

  • Quick and efficient summation of all values in a single column.

  • Simple scenarios where no custom logic or row-by-row calculations are needed.

  • Use SUMX() for:

  • Performing calculations based on specific conditions or transformations within each row before summation.

  • Implementing complex logic in your sum calculations.

  • Scenarios where individual row processing is required along with summation.

Remember, SUMX() offers more flexibility but incurs performance overhead due to the row-by-row processing. When in doubt, consider the complexity of your calculation and choose the function that best balances efficiency and functionality for your specific scenario.

I hope this clarifies the difference between SUM() and SUMX() in Power BI. Feel free to ask if you have any further questions or need more specific examples.

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