I'm trying to write a query formula in google sheets using where/contains to find values in another sheet that correspond with the text in column A of the original sheet. Since there will be hundreds or thousands of columns, I don't want to manually enter the text to search for in each row: is there a way to input the text of another cell as a variable?

For reference, the formula structure is:

=Sum(query('SheetName'!A:D, "SELECT C Where B Contains 'text1'"))

I'd like to replace 'text1' with a cell reference so I don't have to actually input it.

There is also likely a way better way to do this overall, but this is what I've got so far. thanks!

  • 1
    use double quotes and ampersands to refer to cell query('SheetName'!A:D, "SELECT C Where B Contains ' "&DifferentSheetName!A1&" ' ",0)
    – Oleg_S
    Dec 16, 2021 at 8:37
  • Welcome to Web Applications Stack Exchange. Consider sharing a publicly editable sample spreadsheet with realistic-looking data. Show your hand-entered expected results in the sample spreadsheet. Dec 16, 2021 at 8:41

1 Answer 1


Use string concatenation to build the query statement, like this:

  "select sum(C) 
   where B contains '" & trim(A2) & "' 
   label sum(C) '' ", 
  • Where does this query reference the value of text1 as mentioned in the question?
    – Tedinoz
    Dec 17, 2021 at 10:32
  • The OP wrote: "I'd like to replace 'text1' with a cell reference". The formula references a cell. Dec 17, 2021 at 10:40
  • OK, I get it - the user enters their "search" term in Cell A2 of the same sheet in which the query is entered.
    – Tedinoz
    Dec 17, 2021 at 10:47

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