In the original article I described using SUM() and FILTER() in a Google Docs spreadsheet to calculate the sum over a subset of cells within a column. Turns out, there’s a better way:

=SUMIF('Worksheet name'!E:E, "food", 'Worksheet name'!D:D)

In this version, the SUMIF() function combines the behavior of the SUM() and FILTER() functions I was using before. The first argument is the column to be compared to the filter value, the second argument is the filter value itself (or the cell address containing the filter value) and the third argument is the column over which the sum is to be calculated. So in the above example, in column D of the worksheet named “Worksheet name” all cells for which the corresponding cell in column E contains the value “food” are selected, and the sum of those select cells is returned.

In addition to being more succinct and easier to read, the use of SUMIF() has the added benefit of returning 0 if there are no rows matching the filter. Using SUM() and FILTER() instead returns #N/A.