I needed a little help on working with MDX and DAX. Recently I have just started working with these two terms and am having a little trouble figuring out the differences and possible examples of how they work.

The articles I have read online are giving me a little trouble and I am finding it hard to understand. It would be great if someone could, maybe, kindly explain it in simple words what they are and what they do?

Thank you so much for the help!

  • Are you trying to decide which to use? They are mutually exclusive you'll either be using 1 or the other. Jul 2, 2016 at 9:29
  • @Peter actually I was trying to get to know the difference. Thanks!
    – user282190
    Jul 2, 2016 at 21:45

1 Answer 1


MDX & DAX are query languages for OLAP cubes.

MDX is used on multidimensional OLAP cubes and is used by many vendors.

DAX is Microsofts own query language and can only be used in a tabular OLAP cube or within Excel.

Assuming you are using Microsoft SSAS you must choose which type of cube you want when you install SSAS.

If you (or someone else) has already installed SSAS then you need to find out if its Multidimensional or Tabular, and then use the appropriate query language.

  • Thanks that makes sense! And so quick question, if I have MDX could I possibly convert it into DAX later on?
    – user282190
    Jul 2, 2016 at 21:46
  • Unfortunately no you can't. You can install both types side by side. But the code is not transferable. You have to start again. Jul 2, 2016 at 22:22
  • In my opinion MDX is more powerful but also more complex. DAX is easier to learn as it's more like Excel formulas. Jul 2, 2016 at 22:24
  • Technically, you can query a tabular SSAS model with MDX. The engine translates it to DAX before executing it.
    – mmarie
    Oct 10, 2016 at 23:40

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