In my spreadsheet the chart for Negative Feedback weekly pulls data from the Query sheet, but the logic doesn't work to separates negative feedback from positive feedback. The logic works fine on the non-queried tab Responses. Specifically, the command:

=Countifs(Responses!$B$2:$B$500, "221*", Responses!$E$2:$E$500, "<>"&"")

correctly returns 3, but:

=Countifs(Query!$B$2:$B$500, "221*", Query!$E$2:$E$500, "<>"&"")

returns 5 even though the data is the same. Query sheet is the result of applying QUERY to Responses.

There are five rows where B matches wildcard pattern 221*, but for two of them the column E is empty. The second criterion (nonempty cell in E) does not appear to work when applied to this output of QUERY.


2 Answers 2


You are hitting some strange behavior of Sheets, quite possibly a bug. I will first describe a way to reproduce it, and then a way to avoid it.

To reproduce:

Put some text in cells A1 and A3, leaving A2 blank. In cell B1, enter =query(A1:A3, "select *"). The content of cells B1:B3 will now appear to be identical to A1:A3.

But B2 is not really blank. Specifically:

  • =isblank(B2) returns FALSE, while =isblank(A2) is TRUE
  • =istext(B2) returns TRUE, while =istext(A2) is FALSE
  • =counta(B1:B3) returns 3, while =counta(A1:A3) is 2.
  • =countif(B1:B3, "<>") returns 3, while =countif(A1:A3, "<>") is 2.

To avoid

Don't use countif or counta on the results of query (at least until this bug is fixed). As an alternative, use filter command to apply the criteria, and then counta to count the (nonempty) results. Thus, instead of

=Countifs(Query!$B$2:$B$500, "221*", Query!$E$2:$E$500, "<>")


=counta(filter(Query!$B$2:$B$500, regexmatch(Query!$B$2:$B$500, "^221")*len(Query!$E$2:$E$500)))

which is admittedly more complex but gets correct results. There are two filter criteria, which are imposed as logical AND by multiplication:

  • column B entry matches the regular expression ^221 (equivalent to wildcard pattern 221*)
  • column E entry has positive length -- this is a robust check that is not affected by the strange behavior of query.

Since in the filtered results, the column B is guaranteed to be nonempty, counta will return the number of all rows that match the filter.

An alternative, slightly shorter formula with the same result:

=sum(arrayformula(regexmatch(Query!$B$2:$B$500, "^221")*(len(Query!$E$2:$E$500)>0)))

This evaluates the two criteria as True/False, coerces them to 0-1 integers by multiplication, and sums the results.


Just create a clone of the column(s) you want to do the COUNTIFS/SUMIFS function on off to the right of the query result columns and hide either the query result columns or the cloned results. For example, say you want to take column B that has query results in it and execute a SUMIFS or COUNTIFS on column B, go into the first empty column on the right (call it column Z), and in Z2 enter the formula '=B2' and drag that formula through the rest of Z cells. Then execute your COUNTIFS or SUMIFS on column Z.

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