What Is Rowid Data Type in Oracle?


Scott Campbell

The Rowid data type in Oracle is a unique identifier for each row in a table. It provides the fastest way to access a specific row in a table and is primarily used by Oracle internally for efficient data retrieval and manipulation. In this article, we will explore the key features and usage of the Rowid data type.

What is Rowid?

The Rowid data type represents the physical address of a row in a database table. It consists of two components:

  • Object ID: A unique identifier for the database object (table or cluster) to which the row belongs.
  • Relative File Number, Block Number, and Row Number: These values specify the location of the row within the database object.

The combination of these components creates a unique identifier for each row in a table.

Usage of Rowid

The Rowid data type has various applications in Oracle databases:

Data Retrieval

Rowid allows for direct access to specific rows in a table. For example, if you have the Rowid value of a particular row, you can quickly retrieve that specific row without searching through the entire table. This makes it especially useful when dealing with large tables or when you need to retrieve rows based on their physical location rather than using column values as search criteria.

Data Manipulation

You can use Rowid to efficiently update or delete specific rows in a table. Instead of specifying search conditions based on column values, you can directly reference the Rowid value in your SQL statements to perform Targeted modifications on individual rows.

Join Operations

In certain scenarios, joining tables based on their Rowids can be more efficient than joining on column values. This is because the Rowid provides a direct link to the physical location of a row, allowing for faster join operations.

Rowid Restrictions

While the Rowid data type offers significant advantages, there are a few limitations to keep in mind:

  • Rowid Stability: The Rowid value of a row can change if the row is updated or moved to a different database block. Therefore, it is not advisable to store Rowids for long-term purposes.
  • Data Manipulation: Although Rowid allows for efficient data manipulation, it should be used with caution. Modifying rows based solely on their Rowid can bypass application-level integrity checks and constraints.
  • Data Migration: When migrating data between databases or during certain database operations (e.g., exporting/importing), the Rowid values may not remain consistent.

It’s important to consider these restrictions and use cases carefully when working with the Rowid data type to ensure proper and reliable usage.


The Rowid data type in Oracle provides a unique identifier for each row in a table, allowing for fast and efficient data retrieval, manipulation, and join operations. While it offers numerous benefits, it is crucial to understand its limitations and use cases appropriately. By leveraging the power of Rowid, you can optimize your database operations and enhance overall performance.

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