Access Control for Related Rows

You can use Related rows to give users access to view and edit select portions of your workbooks.

Relating workbooks gives users access to workbooks they previously did not have access to. It's a great workaround to give users partial access to a workbook, but be cautious with what data you expose.

Who Can Relate Rows?

Users with the Manager or higher permission to both the linking and linked worksheets can set up related rows. Users with Editor or higher permissions cannot link worksheets but can choose rows to relate, edit related rows, and add new rows when worksheets are already linked.

Users with lower permissions can view the data in Related rows and Related row lookups and can expand Related rows to see all the data in each related row.

Relating a row gives users view or write access to all data in that row.

Using Related Rows as a Form of Access Control

With the right related row setup, you can allow users without direct access to your workbook to edit that workbook. But when you're using Related rows to link to workbooks with sensitive data, always keep in mind that any user who clicks on the Related row can view the entire row's record, not just what may be included in a nearby lookup or rollup.

For example, let's say that we're working with two workbooks for recruiting: one used by HR that includes information on current job postings including a job description, department, location, salary, and more, and one that will be distributed to all employees so they can view job descriptions and recommend edits.

The HR workbook is shown here:


And the all-hands workbook distributed to employees is shown here:


The all-hands workbook uses a Related row column (Column A) and Related row lookup columns (Columns B, C, and D) to pull in relevant information from the HR workbook, but not reveal sensitive information like the budgeted salary for each position (contained in Column F of the HR workbook).

However, when a user clicks on a Related row in Column A of the all-hands workbook, they will be able to see the entire row from the HR workbook, not just the information that has been included in the all-hands workbook.


In order to not share this information when the row is viewed from a Related row in another workbook, it must be removed from the source worksheet and kept elsewhere.

When you use Related rows to share some information with users of another workbook but need to keep sensitive information private, it is best practice to review the related record from the other workbook to confirm what users can and cannot see, and adjust the source information as necessary.

For more information on sharing workbooks with other users, see our article on Workbook Sharing and Permissions. Or, to learn more about working with Related rows, take a look at the rest of our articles on relationships between worksheets.