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In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the CUBESET function in Microsoft Excel. The CUBESET function is a powerful tool that allows you to retrieve a set of members from an OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) cube, such as a Power Pivot data model or an Analysis Services cube. This function is particularly useful for creating reports and analyzing large amounts of data in a more efficient and organized manner. We will cover the syntax, examples, tips and tricks, common mistakes, troubleshooting, and related formulae for the CUBESET function.


The syntax for the CUBESET function is as follows:

=CUBESET(connection, set_expression, , [sort_order], [sort_by])


  • connection is the name of the workbook connection to the OLAP cube.
  • set_expression is a string containing the MDX (Multidimensional Expressions) expression that defines the set of members you want to retrieve.
  • caption (optional) is a string that provides a label for the set. If omitted, Excel will use the set_expression as the caption.
  • sort_order (optional) is a number that specifies the sort order for the members in the set. The default value is 1 (ascending order). Use -1 for descending order.
  • sort_by (optional) is a number that specifies the property by which the members should be sorted. The default value is 0 (sort by key). Use 1 to sort by name, and 2 to sort by caption.

CUBESET Examples

Let’s look at some examples of how to use the CUBESET function in Excel:

Example 1: Retrieve a set of product categories from an OLAP cube:

=CUBESET(“SalesCube”, “[Product].[Category].Members”)

In this example, the CUBESET function connects to the “SalesCube” OLAP cube and retrieves a set of all product categories using the MDX expression “[Product].[Category].Members”.

Example 2: Retrieve a set of top 10 selling products, sorted by sales amount in descending order:

=CUBESET(“SalesCube”, “TOPCOUNT([Product].[Product].Members, 10, [Measures].[Sales Amount])”, “Top 10 Products”, -1)

In this example, the CUBESET function connects to the “SalesCube” OLAP cube and retrieves a set of the top 10 selling products, sorted by sales amount in descending order. The MDX expression “TOPCOUNT([Product].[Product].Members, 10, [Measures].[Sales Amount])” is used to define the set, and the caption “Top 10 Products” is provided for the set.

CUBESET Tips & Tricks

Here are some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of the CUBESET function in Excel:

  • When working with large data sets, consider using the CUBESET function in combination with other cube functions, such as CUBEVALUE, CUBEMEMBER, and CUBERANKEDMEMBER, to create more efficient and dynamic reports.
  • Use the optional sort_order and sort_by arguments to customize the sorting of the members in the set. This can help you present the data in a more meaningful and organized way.
  • Experiment with different MDX expressions to retrieve the exact set of members you need for your analysis. MDX is a powerful language that allows you to create complex and flexible queries.

Common Mistakes When Using CUBESET

Here are some common mistakes to avoid when using the CUBESET function:

  • Not specifying a valid connection to the OLAP cube. Make sure the connection name is correct and the cube is accessible.
  • Using incorrect or incomplete MDX expressions. Ensure that your MDX expression is valid and returns the desired set of members.
  • Forgetting to include the optional arguments when needed. If you want to customize the sorting or provide a custom caption for the set, make sure to include the appropriate arguments in the function.

Why Isn’t My CUBESET Working?

If your CUBESET function isn’t working as expected, consider the following troubleshooting steps:

  • Double-check the connection name and ensure that it is correct and the OLAP cube is accessible.
  • Review your MDX expression for any syntax errors or incorrect member references.
  • Ensure that you have included the correct optional arguments, if needed, to customize the sorting or provide a custom caption for the set.
  • If you’re still having issues, consult the Excel documentation or online resources for more information on the CUBESET function and MDX expressions.

CUBESET: Related Formulae

Here are some related formulae that can be used in conjunction with the CUBESET function to create more powerful and dynamic reports in Excel:

  • CUBEVALUE: Retrieves a value from an OLAP cube based on a set of member expressions.
  • CUBEMEMBER: Retrieves a member from an OLAP cube based on a member expression.
  • CUBERANKEDMEMBER: Retrieves a member from an OLAP cube based on its rank within a set.
  • CUBEKPIMEMBER: Retrieves a KPI (Key Performance Indicator) member from an OLAP cube.
  • CUBESETCOUNT: Returns the number of members in a set retrieved by the CUBESET function.

By combining the CUBESET function with these related formulae, you can create more advanced and dynamic reports that efficiently analyze large amounts of data from OLAP cubes.


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