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Alberto Ferrari

PowerPivot: Putting two stocks on the same PivotChart

In a previous post, I have used a stock exchange scenario to speak about how to compute moving averages in a complex scenario. Playing with the same scenario, I felt the need to compare two stocks on the same chart, choosing the stock names with a slicer. As always, a picture is worth a thousand words, the final result I want to achieve is something like this, where I am comparing Microsoft over Apple during the last 10 years.


It is clear that I am not going to comment in any way why traders seem to prefer buying Apple instead of Microsoft… this would be the task of a trader and I am only a BI guy. Sorriso

What makes this scenario interesting is that there are two values in the chart (Close of Stock 1 and 2) and their values will be determined by a slicer. I want to use the same chart to compare, for example, Oracle vs SQLBI.COM. Thus, the value of the measure need to be determined dynamically, depending on the value of the slicer. This is a pretty common example of a slicer used to “inject” parameters inside DAX formulas, i.e. the DAX formula will compute different values depending on parameters that the user can select with filters, slicers or any other UI tool.

First of all, let us recall briefly the content of our tables: we have a Fixing table, containing the values of the stocks as they change during time, with a granularity at the day level, and a standard calendar table. The Fixing table is very easy:


Now, it should be evident that “Close of Stock 1” cannot be computed as a calculated column, since its value depends on the evaluation context defined by the slicer. Thus, the starting point is a measure. Similarly, the slicers for Stock 1" and 2 cannot use the Stock column in the Fixing table since their usage will be that of changing the measure behavior, not to filter the fixing table (or, in other words, the filter will be controlled by the DAX formula).

Thus, the first step is to create two Excel tables that will be used as the sources for the slicers. This is pretty easy: just create two Excel tables like the ones shown below, link them in PowerPivot and call them Stock1 and Stock2. The first part is gone easily.


Then, in order to define the value of “Close of Stock 1”, we need to:

  • Check if the slicer for Stock1 filters one stock (the user might remove the filter and, in this case, the value of the measure is undefined)
  • Compute the value of the measure based on the stock name selected in the Stock1 slicer

This is pretty easy to accomplish, using this formula:

=IF (
COUNTROWS (VALUES (Stock1[Stock 1])) <> 1,
AVERAGE (Fixing[Close]),
Fixing[Stock] = VALUES (Stock1[Stock 1])
The key of this formula is in the definition of the filter context under which CALCULATE computes the AVERAGE of Fixing[Close]. We ask for a filter context where the Fixing[Stock] column shows only the values for the stock in Stock1[Stock 1], which is the name of the stock selected in the slicer. Moreover, we know that the VALUES function will return exactly one row, since we test if in the preceding IF. As always, it is easier to read than to create, take your time to understand it well. Sorriso

If you define this formula and create a PivotChart putting years and dates on the Axis, you get this first nice result:


Clearly, you can define a new measure tied to the Stock2 table, add it to the chart and you will get this result which does not look as pretty as before (in the example, I have filtered only the last two years to make the issue more evident):


You can see that there are points in time (near November 2011 and July 2010) where both stocks present a spike down to zero. The interesting part is the fact that these spikes do not appear when only one stock is added to the chart, they appear only when we put two stocks on the same chart.

The reason for this behavior is that in my set of data, there are some dates where the value of one stock has not been recorded, for whatever reason. When only one stock is in the chart, those dates are removed from the graph. Nevertheless, when both stocks are present on the same chart, if it happens that the value of one of the two stocks is present, then that date will be present in the chart too. Now, for that date, the value of the other stock yields zero, resulting in the annoying issue we are facing on this chart: i.e. spikes down to zero when only one of the two stocks has been recorded.

We could (and should) remove the problem updating the original table, adding interpolated values where they are not present. Nevertheless, since this is a post about DAX, we’d better resolve the issue using DAX. The idea is that, if Stock2 is not present for a period of time, we should not return any value for Stock1 too. The contrary holds true: if Stock1 is not present, then Stock2 should not return any value. Thus, at the end both Stock1 and Stock2 will return values only for dates where both are present.

The formula, for Close of Stock 1 is the following:

=IF (
COUNTROWS (VALUES (Stock1[Stock 1])) <> 1 || COUNTROWS (VALUES (Stock2[Stock 2])) <> 1,
IF (
AVERAGE (Fixing[Close]),
Fixing[Stock] = VALUES (Stock2[Stock 2])
AVERAGE (Fixing[Close]),
Fixing[Stock] = VALUES (Stock1[Stock 1])

If both slicers select one value each then, if Stock2 is present, then calculate Stock1 otherwise return BLANK. The formula for Stock2 is very similar, with some 1 and 2 interchanged. Updating the formulas is enough to get the nice result of the first chart, which was our final goal.

Clearly, the very same technique can be used to add more interesting measures, like Bollinger Bands, moving averages or, with a bit more effort, turn PowerPivot in a complete trading system that suggests when to buy or to sell a stock. This is left as an interesting exercise to the reader. Sorriso

This is just another example of what PowerPivot can do for your reporting needs. If you want to touch the real Karma of PowerPivot, don’t miss the opportunity to follow one of the workshops I and Marco Russo are bringing all over Europe in the next few months.

You can find more info on Hope to see you  there!

Published Wednesday, February 2, 2011 10:03 AM by AlbertoFerrari
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Gert-Jan said:

Hi Alberto,

thanks for this and all the other posts. I always really enjoy reading them. Looking at this one, I think I miss something...... Looks to me that it is also possible to have two stocks on the same chart with slicers when the stock is added to the slicer and the legend fields??

Kind regards,


February 3, 2011 4:29 AM

AlbertoFerrari said:


Yes, you are right. What interested me was to find an example to show a technique (i.e. using slicers to control the behavior of a formula) and I found this one. Clearly, using legend fields you can reach the same result quickly.

Nevertheless, the technique used in the post is interesting since it provides you measures that can be later used to compute different numbers upon which you can create new kinds of analysis. For example, a useful indicator might be the delta between the two stocks or some kind of indicator that shows when two stocks of the same kind behave in a different way).

On the other hand, using only the legend, you don't have access to raw values, just the chart which is handled directly by Excel.

Thanks for the comment, it is always interesting to look at my readers' opinions, I am always learning much more than I teach with this blog, and this is really rewarding!

February 3, 2011 5:07 AM

Theo van Maurik said:

Hi Alberto

I think there is an error in your syntax to define the value of "Close of stock1". The TRUE and FALSE part of the if statement should be reversed. If one option is selected you want to return the average of the select stock otherwise return blank. The right formula is:

=IF (    COUNTROWS (VALUES (Stock1[Stock 1])) = 1


   CALCULATE (AVERAGE (Fixing[Close]),        

             Fixing[Stock] = VALUES (Stock1[Stock 1])    



   BLANK ()


Kind regards,


February 3, 2011 5:09 AM

AlbertoFerrari said:


you are right! I edited the formulas during the post and I have completely reversed the logic.

Now I have updated them using <> instead of =.

Thanks a lot!

February 3, 2011 5:17 AM

Reuvain said:

I was just wondering about your use of the AVERAGE function. In the charts above since the time dimension is by the DAY granularity it would be taking an average of only one value (based on the data in your table). I guess you are using AVERAGE so that you could chart it by a more aggregated date grouping. (e.g. week, month, quarter, year)

February 10, 2011 10:24 AM

AlbertoFerrari said:


Yes, the AVERAGE is needed since the formula is computed without any row context. Thus, an aggregate function is needed and AVERAGE is fine since it will work well over time periods even if, in a time period other than a single day, the value of the stock should be defined, it can be the last value, the average, the weighted average of any other formula needed by the business.

I used AVERAGE for convenience but, as you noted, it is always the average of a single value in the chart.

February 10, 2011 12:28 PM

Antar said:

Hello, I have been trying to re create your example and i cannot get it right. I am using the subset of data you have here.

What I am doing is creating the 2 Stock 1 and Stock 2 tables and then linking them together in PowerPivot (by the way, PowerPivot always wants to Link them to the fixing table) After that I create a measure using the formulas you give (1 measure for each Stock table).

But when I put the slicers (from each Stock table) i cannot get to show 2 separate charts, i can only see just one. Any idea what I am doing wrong?


October 25, 2012 12:55 PM

AlbertoFerrari said:


send me an email (alberto ferrari at sqlbi com), I will send you back the workbook, so you can take a look at it.

October 25, 2012 3:15 PM

Harrison Delfino said:

Using this works for me. Its great.

June 16, 2016 3:09 AM
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About AlbertoFerrari

Alberto Ferrari is a Business Intelligence consultant. He his interests lie in two main areas: BI development lifecycle methodologies and performance tuning of ETL and SQL code. His main activities are with SSIS and SSAS for the banking, manufacturing and statistical sectors. He is also a speaker in international conferences like European PASS Conference and PASS Summit.
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