Using Live Feeds to export data out of Arbor

The Arbor MIS comes pre-populated with a whole host of out-of-the-box dashboards, reports and charts, that you can use to get key statistics for assessment, attendance and behaviour and much more! If that’s not enough, our Live Feeds feature is for you!

Top Tip: Please see this article if you're having any issues: Live Feed won't load, is broken or not working

What are Live Feeds?

Live Feeds give your staff the ability to collate, aggregate and customise information into one report that automatically refreshes the data without having to log into Arbor. You can create bespoke reports which help facilitate the time-saving automation of large data tasks. Using Live Feeds is particularly useful for giving SLT quick access to a range of information without having to navigate to the individual reports within Arbor.

To keep Live Feeds secure, we use a random, 16-digit string within the URL, which means the chances it could be guessed are roughly 1 in 80 septillion! The main risk to Live Feed security is if it has been shared with the wrong person.

To help you manage who can access your Live Feeds, you can require authentication for each Live Feed set up. You can also track when each Feed was last accessed. Alongside this, we recommend you take appropriate steps to control access to your Live Feeds using the same methods you would use to safeguard data. This means only sharing passwords and data with authorised staff members. To help you further with this, you can use our Live Feed authentication and deletion features - take a look below!

Managing access to Live Feeds

You can manage access to Live Feeds, set authentication, or remove Live Feeds all from one page!

  • School MIS: School > Data > Export > Live Feeds - Only users with the School: General Admin: Administer permission can access this page, so if you need access you’ll need to ask your Admin staff to give you this permission. 
  • MAT MIS - Analytics > Live Feeds - You'll need the Group: Group Details: Administer permission can access this page. This permission has been given to anyone with the Administration Assistant, Business Manager, CEO, COO, Data Manager, Director, Executive Head Teacher, HR Administrator, IT Manager, School Head Teacher and Senior Management Team roles, so if someone needs access you should give them one of these roles.

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  1. Use the search box to find the Live Feed you need.
  2. Use the bulk actions on the left-hand side to delete Live Feeds (see below). 
  3. See what area of Arbor the Live Feed was created from in the Source column. For custom reports, they display the name of the custom report
  4. See who the Live Feed was created by. If the staff member no longer exists in Arbor, it will say Deleted staff.
  5. See when the Live Feed was initially created.
  6. See when the Live Feed was last refreshed. If two people access the sheet, or two sheets use the same Live Feed, this bit of data will be updated every time any sheet using this feed is refreshed.
  7. See whether authentication is enabled for each feed.
Live Feed authentication

Adding authentication to your Live Feeds helps keep your data secure. authentication means that it is impossible to access the sheet if you only have the URL. You can share a live feed with other staff within the external application, which will not require them to enter a key

You can choose whether authentication will automatically be required for all Live Feeds set up, you can choose certain Live Feeds to require authentication, or you can choose not to require authentication for any of your Live Feeds.

When authentication is enabled, this means users will need to paste their authorisation key into the sheet to access it for the first time. The authorisation key is then linked with the spreadsheet.

An authorisation key always starts with the type of authentication (Basic) and a long string, for example, “Basic a3NpbXBzb246NWRlNzhlN2E5MGMwNjc4NGY2YzI2MWQzMDgyMmIzZjM2M2M4MTE2Ng==”

 

Automatically require authentication

Authentication is not automatically required for Live Feeds, so if you’re happy to use Live Feeds without authentication, you can!

However, if you would like to automatically require authentication for all your future Live Feeds, just get in contact the Arbor Support Team if supported by Arbor, or your Support Partner if not supported by Arbor. To ensure the action has been agreed by someone else, we’ll also need written consent from your data controller (or just let us know if this is you). We’ll then switch this on for you.

Once automatic authentication is on:

  • Any new Live Feed set up will automatically require authentication to be accessed
  • Any Live Feeds that were created before the recent update will need to have authentication enabled manually (see below).

Please note, as authentication cannot currently be used with Excel on a Mac, we recommend using this option only if you do not use Live Feeds with these systems.

 

Choose which Live Feeds require authentication

To manually choose certain Live Feeds to require authentication, go to the Live Feeds page.

One Live Feed

To enable authentication for one Live Feed, click the Live Feed. In the slide over, click the Require authentication box to tick it, then click Save Changes.

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To remove the authentication requirement from one Live Feed, untick the Requires authentication box, then click Save Changes.

Please note, you will not be able to do this for any Live Feeds if they have been set up after Automatically require authentication has been switched on.

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Multiple Live Feeds

To enable authentication for multiple Live Feeds at once, click the boxes next to the Live Feeds you want to select, then click the Bulk action button. Select Enable authentication.

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In the pop-up, confirm the change by clicking the Confirm button, and the Live Feeds will now require authentication.

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For any existing Live Feeds that have had authentication enabled, the live feed will no longer work until the Authorization key is entered. You’ll need to enter the key in the same place as if you were setting up the Live Feed for the first time. For example, in Excel on windows you would need to go to the Data menu and select Get External Data. Select From Web.

In later versions of Excel rather than selecting 'Authorization' in the drop down you'll need to type it and then paste the authorisation key as above. You should then select anonymous access to complete the setup. 

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To remove the authentication requirement from multiple Live Feeds, click the boxes next to the Live Feeds you want to select, then click the Bulk action button. Select Disable authentication.

Please note, you will not be able to do this for any Live Feeds if they have been set up after Automatically require authentication has been switched on.

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In the pop-up, confirm the change by clicking the Confirm button, and the Live Feeds will now no longer require authentication.

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Deleting a Live Feed

If you no longer want users to have access to the continuously updated data in the Live Feed, you can delete the Live Feed.

Deleting a Live Feed prevents further access to Live data. However, if you have copied data to an external source (e.g. Excel Workbook), data from the last refresh can sometimes remain. As such, we recommend you take appropriate steps to control access to their Live Feeds using the same methods you would use to safeguard data.

On the Live Feeds page, select the Live Feeds to delete, then click the Bulk action button to select Delete.

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Confirm the deletion by clicking the Confirm button, and the Live Feed will be removed.

What will remain in the spreadsheet will depend on the settings:

  • If auto-refresh was initially enabled, this means that the Live Feed will no longer update with data and will then be blank.
  • If auto-refresh was not enabled, a copy of the data that existed when the feed was last manually refreshed may remain. This will no longer be linked to Live data in the MIS, and so will cannot be updated.

confirmation_to_delete_live_feed.png 

What can Live Feeds be used for?

Live feeds can be used to collate lots of different information.

Top Tip: The examples below have been built by combining multiple live feeds from a range of pages in Arbor, including built-in analysis pages and the Custom Report Writer. You may need to apply your own styling and formulae to the reports after live feeding.

 

An example below shows information from attendance, enrolment, LAC and learning support reports in Arbor. As this information automatically refreshes, you can open the spreadsheet and see the up to date information without having to run individual reports in Arbor each time!

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Another example is an assessment live feed - this is pulling through the amount of progress students have made from their baseline for different subjects. As this information is updated in Arbor this sheet will refresh and show up to date information.

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For a final example, this live feed is an SEN assessments report that shows the progress for each class and each year group.  Conditional formatting has been used to show where progress is not up to a certain level.

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Setting up a live feed

You can create a Live Feed in Arbor wherever you see the Download button. For example, in Attendance. Click the Download button and select Live Feed. In the pop-up, choose the feed name and select whether or not to require authentication.

Please note, although all staff can create a Live Feed, only certain staff can access the Live Feeds page. This means if you’ve not had the Live Feed shared with you, you’ll need to contact your Admin staff.

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The Output format is a mandatory field when creating or editing a live feed - if you don't select one, we'll default to use HTML. You can select from:

  • JSON for developers and advanced data processing
  • HTML for Excel, Google Sheets, Data Studio or Power BI
  • HTML v2 for Arbor Google Sheets connector - this version strips out any HTML tags from the table cells 

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  • If the Output format is unselected when editing a live feed, we won’t update the live feed.
  • If the value is missing, we'll highlight this in red in the table.

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If authentication is required, make sure the Require authentication box is ticked. Then click the Save button to switch authentication on. If you set up your live feed before clicking Save, it will not be protected by our authentication feature.

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Copy the URL text. This will be the text you’ll use to create the sheet.

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Then copy your authentication key. You’ll only need to provide authentication once, the next time you access the sheet, you’ll be able to see all the data, or manually refresh it, right away!

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Excel

Follow the instructions below to put your Live Feed data into Excel using a Mac, or for Windows.

Please note, we do not support authentication for Excel on a Mac. If you enable authentication for any Live Feeds using Excel on a Mac this can break the link, and you’ll need to disable authentication for the Live Feed to work again.

Windows

Go to the Data menu and select From Web.

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In the pop up, select Advanced.

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Past the URL into the URL parts box.

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Type 'Authorization' into the HTTP box using the American spelling.

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Paste your authorisation code (including the word Basic) into the box next to it, then click OK.

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You'll then see a new pop up with the data loading.

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You can then see the data tables. Click Load.

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You'll see this load in the right-hand side of your page.

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Refresh the data by right-clicking and selecting Refresh.

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You can also go to the Data menu and refresh from here.

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Mac

Go to the page you would like to set up a live feed from. In this case, I'm using the Attendance > Absentees > Persistent Absentees page.

Click the Download button then select Live Feed.

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Copy the URL from the pop-up box that appears.

Open a blank Word document and paste your live feed URL onto the page. Save your document as a Plain text (.txt) file.

You can save it anywhere and under any name you wish.

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Click Ok in the next step.

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Open a blank Excel document and click into the Data tab. Select the option to Run Web Query.

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Select the .txt file from your documents, then click Get Data.

Top Tip: If you can't select the file, please wait for a bit of time for the data to process. 15 minutes should do it! You should then be able to select the file.

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If you still can't select the file and cannot click Get Data:

  1. Right click the file
  2. Select Rename
  3. Don't actually rename
  4. The Get Data button will now be clickable

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Click Ok in the pop-up box to import the data to the existing sheet.

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Your spreadsheet will then show that the data is loading.

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Once the data has finished loading, you will see it in your spreadsheet.

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Remember to save your file as something memorable so you can find it again in the future!

So the live feed refreshes the data each time you open it, you will need to adjust the settings. Go to the Data menu in Excel and select Properties.

Tick the box to Refresh data when opening the file, then click Ok.

The table will then refresh each time you open it. Please note: You may need to resave the file under another name for the changes to take effect.

refresh_data.png 

 

 

Power BI

When you tick the box to require authentication, you'll see more information appear for your Power BI query. Copy this string of text.

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To put your Live Feed data into Power BI, go to Get data > Blank query.

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Click into the box and paste in your copied query.

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Click the tick icon to run the query, and your live feed will be created!

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Google Sheets

To be able to use Authentication with Google Sheets with Authentication and to allow you to automatically refresh your data when opening your live feed, all users who will be accessing the sheet will need to install our add-on. You can download it from here.

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Click to continue and allow our Add-on. 

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Then to add your live feed to your Google sheet, go to Extensions > Add-ons > Manage add-ons.

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Click the 3 dots next to Arbor and select Use in this document.

Then close this pop up.

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Go to Extensions > Add-ons > View Document Add-ons.

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Select Use > Add New Feed.

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Paste in your URL. If authentication is not required, untick the Require authentication box.

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If authentication is required, make sure you have copied your authentication key then clicked the Save button in Arbor to switch authentication on.

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Tick the Require authentication box and paste in the authentication key.

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Google Looker Studio

Google Looker Studio is a free tool that turns your data into dashboards and reports. For Arbor's terms of service, you can read these here: Arbor SaaS Terms and Conditions

Click Download in the table and select Live Feed to create a live feed into Google Looker Studio. Add a feed name and copy the URL.

If authentication is required, make sure you have copied your authentication key then clicked the Save button in Arbor to switch authentication on.

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In Google Looker Studio, paste the URL from Arbor into the Google Looker Studio connector setup page here.

If you have an authorisation key, paste this in also, then click Connect

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Google Looker Studio will show you a list of fields from the live feed. Arbor’s data connector should detect each data type, but you may want to check that they’re all correct. Click Create Report to get started, or Explore to inspect your data.

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Comments

5 comments
  • The update to go directly to Google Data Studios is appreciated. Thank you for your ongoing development. 

    0
  • Can you let me know when the Data Studio connector will be live? It's showing as completed on the roadmap. 

    0
  • Hi Tim, you can now use this feature - please follow the instructions above.

    0
  • Hi Luke, thanks for commenting!

    We're just putting the finishing touches to our Google Sheets functionality which will allow you to use authentication with your Google Sheet Live Feeds.

    We'll be sure to pop the instructions in this article when it's ready to use, and we'll also include this in an upcoming Product Update Roundup so you won't miss the announcement!

    0
  • Please can you tell me where the code is for the Google Sheets live feed?

    0

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