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About this lesson
Before we start collecting data, it is helpful to understand Facts and Dimensions. In this lesson we will cover these important dimensional modeling concepts so that you can lay out your source data tables properly.
Download this lesson’s related exercise files.Facts vs Dimensions
66.8 KB Facts vs Dimensions - Solution
Facts vs Dimensions
Overview of what Facts and Dimensions are in Pivot Tables.
When to use
When you want to start building a Pivot Table using best practices.
A Fact is something that needs to be aggregated in a Pivot Table (e.g. sum, count, average of the column values)
- Facts always go in the Values area of the Pivot Table
- Types of columns that should exist in Fact Tables:
- Columns to be aggregated
- Columns used to link to a Dimension Table (aka Foreign Key)
- Nothing else
A Dimension is how we slice our Facts
- Dimensions go in the Filters, Columns, or Rows areas of the Pivot Table, or in Slicers and Timelines
- Types of columns that belong in Dimension Tables:
- Columns used to link to other tables (aka Primary Key)
- Columns used in dimensional fields
Hints & tips
- A simple rule of thumb is that if the column does not need to be aggregated, it’s a Dimension
- Facts and Dimensions should always be on separate tables
- Do not add a column from a Fact Table to one of the dimension fields. Likewise, do not aggregate a column in a Dimension Table
- Use Power Query to create a Dimension Table or Fact Table instead
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