The User data type is for adding users as data in cells. You can quickly add existing users or invite new users to your workbook and decide to notify them or not. 

Because the User data type lets you add users into rows, the user data type is useful for noting individual contributors or teams and enables teams to stay connected to work in progress. For instance, you can use the User data type to match bugs in your bug tracker to engineers who can fix them, job candidates to the hiring manager for their position, track meetings between team members, create a directory of employees, and more.


Configuration Options


Like other data types, the User data type can have Strict enabled. Selecting the Strict checkbox for user cells will restrict users to either add a user or tag existing users in rows. Also, columns that are Strict cannot have cells of different data types.

Allow multiple users

You can choose whether users can input only one or many users into each cell. For instance, if you want to restrict each candidate to one recruiter, each bug to only one engineer, or want to give users the ability to tag many users assigned to one task.

Notify users when selected

You can choose to notify users when they are added to a row. For instance, to notify your teammates when you assign them new tasks. Or, for projects where notification is not needed, you can opt not to notify them. By default, this box is not checked and users are not notified when added.

Only show avatars

By checking this box, only the users' avatars will be displayed in the User cells. By default this box is unchecked and both the users' names and avatars are displayed in User cells.

How to Add Users

You can only add users that have access to the workbook or workspace. But, after setting a cell or column to the User data type, you can also add new users and give them access from within a row. 

To add a user to a cell, click on the cell, and either select the user from the drop-down of users or choose + Add [email].

Adding a user opens the Invite new user dialog where you can add the user's email address, name, choose to invite them to the workbook or workspace, and set their permission level. For more information on sharing, check out our articles on Collaboration and Sharing.

You can also assign users by pasting in the name or email address of a user with permissions for the workbook. Or add a user to the workbook or workspace, and then the user will appear as an option in the user drop-down.

When you invite a new user to join your workbook, they will receive an email notification informing them that you've invited to them to your workbook with a link to the workbook. The workbook will appear in their homepage. Once added, users can see all other users and any messages in the workbook.

Conversion Behavior

You can convert pre-existing names and email addresses to users automatically by changing the column or cell's data type, so long as the workbook is already shared with the user.

From To Behavior Example From Example To
Text, Automatic, and other data types User looks for both email and name matches to convert. mceclip2.png mceclip3.png
User Text, Automatic, and other data types User values get converted to the user's name (First name [space] Last name). mceclip0.png mceclip4.png
User Email User values convert to the users' email address. mceclip1.png mceclip5.png

What does it mean when a user is greyed out?'s templates sometimes include users in the form of dummy data. These are not real users, but examples of how users could be added in-line. Other times, a user's name will be greyed out because they once had access to a workbook but have since been removed. 

If an existing user's name is greyed out in a workbook's User cells, the workbook is not shared with that user. Sharing the workbook with that user will change their User cell values to fully active. Similarly, once a workbook as been unshared with a user, User cell values for that user will appear greyed out.

In all cases, greyed-out users do not have access to your workbook. They cannot view the data in your workbook or make changes. To grant other users access, share the workbook with them or replace their greyed-out name with an existing user. 

Learn more about collaborating in workbooks in our series of articles on Sharing & Collaborating. Or, read on to learn more about the rest of's Data Types.