DAX Contains String Boost Your Data Analysis in Seconds

DAX Contains String: Boost Your Data Analysis in Seconds

DAX, short for Data Analysis Expressions, is a formula language used in Power BI to perform tasks such as data modeling, calculations, and analysis. Without DAX, 95% of Power BI’s potential as an amazing analytical tool would be missed. DAX allows users to extract insights and answers from large data sets, enabling better decision-making and helping organizations stay ahead of the competition.

Understanding DAX Contains String Function

If you’re using Power BI, DAX (Data Analysis Expressions) is an essential language to learn. One of the powerful functions in DAX is the Contains String function. In this article, we will explore what the Contains String function is and how it works.


The syntax of the Contains String function is as follows:

CONTAINSSTRING(string1,string2[, [comparisonType]])

  • string1: The text string that is checked for containing another string.
  • string2: The text string that is searched for within string1.
  • comparisonType (optional): A number that determines the type of comparison. The default value is 0, which returns a case-insensitive and accent-sensitive comparison. A value of 1 returns a case-sensitive and accent-sensitive comparison, while a value of 2 returns a case-insensitive but accent-sensitive comparison.

Return Values

The Contains String function returns a TRUE or FALSE value. It returns TRUE if string1 contains string2, and FALSE otherwise. The function is not case-sensitive by default but is accent-sensitive.


Let’s see some examples of how the Contains String function can be used.

Example 1:

string1 string2 Result
Power BI is a business analytics service service TRUE
Power BI is a business analytics service power FALSE

The above example demonstrates how the Contains String function checks whether string1 contains string2. In the first row, string1 contains string2, so the function returns TRUE. In the second row, the function returns FALSE because string1 does not contain ‘power’.

Example 2:

string1 string2 Result
Power BI is a Business Analytics Service business TRUE
Power BI is a Business Analytics Service BUSINESS TRUE
Power BI is a Business Analytics Service ANALYTICS FALSE

The above example demonstrates how the Contains String function is case-insensitive by default but is accent-sensitive. In the first two rows, the function returns TRUE as the comparison is not case-sensitive, but they are accent-sensitive. However, in the last row, the function returns FALSE as the comparison is both case-sensitive and accent-sensitive.

These are just a few examples of how the Contains String function can be utilized in Power BI to help you with data analysis.

Advantages of Using DAX Contains String

The DAX Contains String function in Power BI offers several benefits for data analysis and visualization. This function allows for easy filtering and searching of data based on specific text strings and patterns. It returns TRUE if one text string contains another text string, making it incredibly useful for identifying trends and patterns in data.

Using DAX functions in general can help in maximizing the potential of Power BI as an analytical tool. Without DAX, users would miss out on 95% of what Power BI can offer. DAX provides a variety of functions that enable users to work with strings, perform calculations using dates and times, and create conditional values.

One key advantage of the DAX Contains String function is that it is not case-sensitive, making it easier to search for specific strings regardless of the case. However, it is accent-sensitive, meaning that it will differentiate between characters with different accents.

In addition, the function is similar to the CONTAINS function in Excel, making it easier for users who are familiar with Excel to transition to using Power BI with DAX functions.

By utilizing DAX Contains String and other DAX functions, users can more efficiently analyze and visualize data, leading to more informed and accurate decision-making.

Limitations and Best Practices

The DAX Contains String function is a powerful tool to analyze text strings in Power BI. However, it has its limitations and best practices that must be followed to ensure efficient and accurate use.


  • The ContainsString function is not case-sensitive, but it is accent-sensitive. This means that it will not accurately match text strings with different accents or character cases.
  • The ContainsString function may be slow to execute when dealing with large datasets, particularly when using it with other DAX functions.

Best Practices

  • Selective conditions on inner functions should always be used to ensure optimal functionality and to decrease the execution time.
  • Error messaging should be used instead of the IFERROR function to ensure transparency and easier troubleshooting.
  • The Divide() function is recommended instead of column A/Column B to avoid errors and to allow for better calculations.
  • Variables should always be used as a common practice to save time and increase readability.
  • Column references should be fully qualified while Measure references should be unqualified for increased functionality and performance.
  • No two measures should have the same definition and should not be direct references to other measures to ensure clarity and accuracy.

By following these best practices, the DAX Contains String function can be used to its full potential, resulting in accurate and efficient text string analysis in Power BI.

Alternatives to DAX Contains String

While the CONTAINS function in DAX can be helpful in identifying if one text string contains another, there are alternative functions and tools that can be used in common use cases.

One alternative is the SEARCH function, which searches for a text string within another text string and returns the position of the starting character of the first occurrence of the text string. Another option is the FIND function, which works similarly to SEARCH, but is case-sensitive.

If the goal is to identify if a text string contains multiple specific strings, the CONCATENATE function can be used to combine the strings, and the FIND or SEARCH functions can be applied to the combined string. In some cases, regular expressions may be useful in identifying patterns within text strings.

In summary, while the CONTAINS function is a useful tool, utilizing the appropriate alternative function or tool can provide more accurate results for specific use cases.


In conclusion, DAX Contains String is a powerful function in Power BI’s data analysis capabilities. The function allows users to determine whether one string contains another with accuracy and efficiency. While it has its benefits in specific use cases, it also has its limitations, such as being accent sensitive. As such, it is important to understand the nuances of the function and consider alternative options in DAX to ensure optimal data analysis.


To better understand how the CONTAINS function works in DAX and its alternatives for common use cases, consult the Microsoft Documentation on DAX Contains String Function. This documentation explains how to maximize the potential of Power BI’s amazing analytical tool by using DAX expressions and functions, especially for working with strings, performing calculations with dates and times, and creating conditional values. Follow the best practice rules for DAX expressions, including using selective conditions on inner functions, error messaging instead of the IFERROR function, the Divide() function instead of column A/column B, and variables as a common practice. Lastly, avoid having two measures with the same definition and direct references to other measures.

Being a web developer, writer, and blogger for five years, Jade has a keen interest in writing about programming, coding, and web development.
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