Easy Sumif in R Using The Aggregate Function

This is a really simple (i.e. probably even the most basic possible) example of using the built in aggregate() function in R, basically a sumif in R.

Given a set of data where column a is the values and column b contains the data by which you wish to group (in this example categorical data with values of a or b):

> data
 a b
 1 0 a
 2 0 a
 3 1 b
 4 2 a
 5 2 b
 6 2 a
 7 3 b
 8 4 b
 9 7 b

The aggregate function as I have used it below takes the following arguments — data$a is the column we are applying a function to; by = refers to a list of names and references to aggregate things by (in this case just one column, so the list has a single element); finally the function we are using here is the built in sum (but this could be a function of your own making, or a mean, or whatever):

> aggregate(data$a, by = list(Category = data$b), FUN = sum)
 Category x
 1 a 4
 2 b 17

That’s it. This replaces the most basic Excel sumif functionality using R’s aggregate function.

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