If I want to refer to measures/metrics and dimensions with a single term, what would be a good industry-accepted expression?

Metrics is used commonly in UIs as well such as Google Analytics or Tableau.

The context for my question is for a UI. I'd like to group both of them and refer to them with an industry-accepted name, if one exists.

closed as unclear what you're asking by LowlyDBA, McNets, Mr.Brownstone, hot2use, mustaccio Nov 16 '18 at 16:07

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  • Welcome to the site BTW. I edited the details from your comments in the question. Feel free to roll back my edits or edit the question yourself if I got it wrong or if you want to add more details yourself. – Tom V Nov 15 '18 at 20:56

Dimensions and Measures are the two main components of cubes. The dimensions are basically ways to look at the data while the measures are the data.

When writing MDX the measures are a member of the [Measures] dimension but that is mostly a syntax convention.

As for a common name, I would say they both are partly definitions of a cube design. The measures define the values and the dimensions define how you slice or aggregate the measures.

The combined result of a query across dimension members and measures is called a cellset but that term is used for a result rather than a cube definition (which is what measures and dimensions are).

If there even is a common term for the combination of dimensions and measures it would be physical aspects of data aggregation

If I were to design a UI where I list both in an interface for users to add a report I would probably call them 'report items' or 'data components' or something but I think the clearest for an end user would be to follow what Excel does and label them 'rows' or 'columns' and 'values' where things you can add to rows/columns are the dimensions and values are the measures.

I don't think it's any clearer to an end user to try and find a common name and from a UI design perspective I would make a distinction between things they should put on an axis and 'values'.


I would call the screen "Measuring" and there you can define your "Dimensions", like X, Y, Z, time and then use the dimensions to perform "Measures" (is that a word?) or "Measurements" like 5 meters, 20 seconds.

  • 1
    Hi, Welcome to the site. Measures is a known term in multidimensional databases. I'm not sure your answer is addressing the question. Maybe you could expand on it by adding more explanation? – Tom V Nov 16 '18 at 8:27
  • It's possible that your explanation will help the OP to understand better what each of those is but the question wasn't about this. The OP is looking for a single umbrella term for both measures and dimensions ("I want to refer to measures/metrics and dimensions with a single term"). – Andriy M Nov 16 '18 at 9:08
  • Andriy M is exactly correct. Surprisingly, there doesn't seem to be a commonly agreed-upon term for this? – Will E Nov 16 '18 at 18:12

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