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MAX Versus LASTDATE in DAX

Alberto Ferrari explains why you might want to use MAX() instead of LASTDATE() to find the latest date in a table with DAX:

Many DAX newbies use LASTDATE to search for the last date in a time period. Or they use NEXTDAY to retrieve the day after a given date. Although these functions do what they promise, they are not intended to be used in simple expressions. Instead, they are table functions designed to be used in time intelligence calculations. Using them the wrong way leads to inefficient code. Moreover, using these functions in ways they were not designed for is a telltale sign that the developer still does not grasp certain details of DAX.

In this article, we elaborate on the topic in order to understand what these time intelligence functions do; we also want to understand the reason why it is so easy to confuse them with simple math over dates. We want to elaborate on this topic through examples. Therefore, instead of starting with boring theory, we start by looking at a calculation that – although it works perfectly fine – is inherently wrong.

Read on for that explanation.

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