Row Owner - RowID v Email, or other options - discuss

So, setting up a new app.

New user signs up. They add their data.

Any data they add on other sheets is controlled too.

Do you control that data via their email address or their RowID

So far I have always used email, but what happens if a user wants to change their email for any reason. Could they change their email in the app, log out and log in with new address and connect to the correct account. If they do, they would lose all connection to their data via email ownership, but if RowID was used they would be OK. Are there disadvantages to RowID, is that in fact best practice?

I ventured down this rabbit hole a few months ago. I got to the point where I had a semi-working solution, but it was very fragile. So in the end I abandoned the idea. If a user asks for their email address to be changed, I just do a global search and replace in the Google Sheet. Simple. Done. Maybe they lose the state of some user-specific columns. Shrug, I can live with that.

On email vs RowID, I try to use RowID to identify a user wherever I can. I think it’s a better practice.


I use both, depending on the situation. If Row Owners are needed, I would definitely use email, or at least include it in the data. Otherwise I use Unique ID’s or Row ID’s to link sheets together.

If anything, include keys as well as emails in your data until you figure out which works best for your case. Easier to remove a column later, than try to add a key or email after the fact. I’ve been down that road.


Currently the only restriction with RowID is not being able to delete the column via set column.

Changing the logged-in-users’ email address is only possible if you create an input to edit. I recommend you don’t, because user-specific columns might get messed up.


100% agree


@Darren_Murphy I will have a look at that rabbit hole shortly. Although it sounds as though I shouldn’t.

@Jeff_Hager @Robert_Petitto On that basis if I am sending data to a new sheet, forward RowID from user profile sheet, and then use lookup to bring over email, as I am typing this I am thinking you can’t use a lookup as a rowowner?

In which case, send over RowID and also email as fixed data points, and use email as the Row Owner.

Nice concise thread. It is something I always wonder about, thought it would be a good one to have in the database for people to search.

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Correct. A lookup won’t work for Row Owners, so better to write it to the sheet to begin with.

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Excellent. To sum up.

For Row Owner throughout an app, use email address

For linking data across sheets use RowID, regardless of whether you are also taking across email address for row owner.



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Good work everyone. Pretty much what I was doing, just nice to have the dream team confirm as such. Hopefully this thread will prove useful for others.

Thank you all.