How to Find the Max Value of Multiple Columns for Every Row in Power BI

Finding the max value for rows can be time-consuming and prone to errors if done manually. However, you can easily find the max value of multiple columns in each row, helping you gain valuable data insights and make informed decisions.

In this article, I will explore two methods you can use to find max value of multiple columns for each row in Power BI: DAX formulas and Power Query, with a step-by-step guide and best practices.

Let’s get started!


When it comes to calculating the max value across multiple columns in Power BI, you have two opinions, one is to either use DAX formulas, to make custom calculations, or leverage Power Query, to transform and manipulate your data.

These methods both have their pros and cons and can be used depending on how complex your dataset is, and your preferences. Now, let’s explore these options.

Using Dax Formulas to Find the Max Value for Every Row

Data Analysis Expressions (DAX), is a formula language whose job is to perform custom data calculations in Power BI.

Now, to find the max value for every row using DAX formulas, you will write some codes. Don’t worry, I will guide you through the process!

1. Open Power BI Desktop and Load Data

To start with, open Power BI Desktop click on the “Get Data” option in the “Home” tab, and import the data that you want to work with. This data could be from an Excel sheet or a database.

2. Create a New Calculated Column

The next thing to do is to create a new calculated column to store the max value for each row. To do this, go to the Modeling tab, click on New Column, and enter a name for the column.

In the formula bar, enter the formula to find the max value of multiple columns.

How to Find the Max Value of Multiple Columns for Every Row

For example, if you have columns named “Column X,” “Column Y,” and “Column Z,” and you want to find the max value among these columns, you can use the MAXX function:

MaxValueColumn = MAXX (YourTable, MAX(YourTable [Column X], YourTable [Column Y], YourTable [Column Z]))

Change “YourTable” to the name of your table, and press “Enter” to create the calculated column, It will then reflect in your dataset.

3. Verify Your Calculated Column

Finally, check if your calculated column is correctly displaying the max value for each row. To do this, add the MaxValueColumn to a table or visual in your report.

Leveraging Power Query to Calculate the Max Value for Multiple Columns

Alternatively, you can use Power Query – a data transformation tool in Power BI, that allows you to manipulate your data the way you want. Now, let me walk you through the steps to calculate the max value for multiple columns using Power Query.

1. Open Your Power BI Report

To start with, open your Power BI report and make sure you have imported the dataset you want which you want to calculate the max value.

2. Open Power Query Editor

Then navigate to the “Home” tab in Power BI and click on Click on “Transform Data” to open the Power Query Editor.

3. Duplicate the Source Query

Before you make any changes, it is good to duplicate the source query. By doing this, you’ll keep a copy of your original data in case you need to reference it later.

To do that, right-click the source query in the “Queries” pane on the left and click “Duplicate” from the context menu.

How to Find the Max Value of Multiple Columns for Every Row

4. Combine Columns to Find the Maximum Value

Now, to find the max value for every row in Power Query, you will follow these steps:

Now, let’s create a new column that calculates the maximum value for each row based on the columns you specify.

  • In the duplicated query, select the columns you want to find the max values by clicking on their headers (holding the ctrl button).
  • Then go to the “Add Column” tab. Then click the dropdown in “Column From Examples” from the context menu and select “From Selection.”
How to Find the Max Value of Multiple Columns for Every Row
  • You will see a “Custom Column” dialog, then rename it (e.g., “MaxValue”).
  • Then in the formula box, enter the formula to calculate the max value. For instance, if the columns you selected are “Column A,” “Column B,” and “Column C,” you can use this formula:
MaxValue = List.Max({[Column A], [Column B], [Column C]})

This formula will create a list of values from the selected columns and calculate the max value in the list.

  • Finally, click “OK” to create the custom column.

5. Load the Data

Now that you have added the “MaxValue” column in Power Query, you can then load the data into your Power BI dataset. Just click “Close & Apply” to apply the changes.

Tips and Best Practices for Optimizing Performance When Finding Max Values in Power BI

It is essential to optimize the performance of your calculations for efficiency. Here are some tips and best practices to maximize performance and a good user experience:

1. Limit the number of columns

If you have a large dataset with many columns, try narrowing it down to only the relevant ones to reduce the load and speed up the calculations.

2. Use calculated columns sparingly

While calculated columns are great for adding new calculated values to datasets, they can slow down performance. So, consider using measures instead.

3. Sort the data

When finding the max value across multiple columns, you should sort the data based on the columns of choice to improve performance.

4. Refresh your data model

Finally, if you make any changes to your data model or add new columns, ensure to refresh the data for optimal performance.


Is it possible to find a permanent maximum value column in a dataset?

Yes, you can create a calculated column that stores the max value for each row, and make it a permanent part of your dataset.

How many columns can you find the max value for?

You can find the max value of as many columns in Power BI as long as they are in the same data table.

What can you do if the data contains non-numeric values?

If your data contains non-numeric values, you must clean it before using it to get an accurate result. For instance, you can use the Replace Values feature to replace non-numeric values with nulls or zeros.

Conclusion: How to Find the Max Value of Multiple Columns for Every Row

Calculating the max value of multiple columns in Power BI can enhance your data analysis and visualization.

Hence, by following this guide, you can find the max value for each row and gain valuable insights from your data. So, start executing these tips and unleash the power of max value calculations!

PS: Don’t forget to verify the results by clicking on the newly created calculated column to verify if the max value of multiple columns is displayed for every row, as intended.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article. You can also check out this article on how to create a current and last fiscal period measure in Power BI

Thanks for reading!