Updated: 17 July 2006

Retrieves the underlying table rows that were used to create a specified cell in a cube.

      <MDX SELECT statement> 
      [RETURN Set_of_Attributes_and_Measures 
            [,Set_of_Attributes_and_Measures ...]


A positive integer value.

MDX SELECT statement

Any valid Multidimensional Expressions (MDX) expressions SELECT statement.


A comma-separated list of dimension attributes and measures.

Drillthrough is an operation in which an end user selects a single cell from a cube and retrieves a result set from the source data for that cell in order to get more detailed information. By default, a drillthrough result set is derived from the table rows that were evaluated to calculate the value of the selected cube cell. For end users to drill through, their client applications must support this capability. In Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services (SSAS), the results are retrieved directly from MOLAP storage, unless ROLAP partitions or dimensions are queried.

Drillthrough security is based on the general security options defined on the cube. If a user cannot get some data by using MDX, drillthrough will also restrict the user in the exactly the same manner.

An MDX statement specifies the subject cell. The value specified by the MAXROWS argument indicates the maximum number of rows that should be returned by the resulting rowset. Unless otherwise specified, the columns returned include all granularity attributes for all dimensions related to the measure group of the specified measure, other than many-to-many dimensions. Cube dimensions are preceded by $ to distinguish between dimensions and measure groups. The RETURN clause is used to specify the columns returned by the drillthrough query. The following functions can be applied to a single attribute or measure by the RETURN clause.


Returns the name of the specified attribute member.


Returns the unique name of the specified attribute member.

Key(attribute_name[, N])

Returns the key of the specified attribute member, where N specifies column in the composite key (if any). The default value for N is 1.


Returns the caption of the specified attribute member.


Returns the member value of the specified attribute member.

Translation(attribute_name[, N])

Returns the translated value of the specified attribute member, where N is the language.


Returns the custom rollup expression of the specified attribute member.


Returns the custom rollup properties of the specified attribute member.


Returns the unary operator of the specified attribute member.


The following example specifies cell for the month of July, 2003 for the reseller sales amount measure (the default measure) for the country of Australia. The RETURN clause specifies that the date of each sale, the product model name, the employee name, the sales amount, the tax amount and the product cost values that underlie this cell be returned.

   ([Date].[Calendar].[Month].[July 2003])
ON 0 
FROM [Adventure Works]
WHERE [Geography].[Country].[Australia]
  ,KEY([$Product].[Model Name])
  ,[Reseller Sales].[Reseller Sales Amount]
  ,[Reseller Sales].[Reseller Tax Amount]
  ,[Reseller Sales].[Reseller Standard Product Cost]

Release History

17 July 2006

Changed content:
  • Updated syntax and arguments to improve clarity.
  • Added updated examples.

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