Using Live Feeds

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!

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 all our schools take appropriate steps to control access to your Live Feeds using the same methods you would use to safeguard any school 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 the School > Data > Export > Live Feeds page.

Please note: 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. 


  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

We’ve introduced a new feature you can choose to use to help keep your data secure - adding authentication to your Live Feeds. 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 with us at To ensure the action has been agreed by someone else at your school, we’ll also need written consent from your school's 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.



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.



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 blue pencil icon. Select Enable authentication.



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



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.



To remove the authentication requirement from multiple Live Feeds, click the boxes next to the Live Feeds you want to select, then click the blue pencil icon. 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.



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


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.



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.



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

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!



Adding the Live Feed to Excel

To put your Live Feed data into Excel, take a look at this article to see how to set up a Live Feed to Excel using a Mac, or follow the instruction below 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.

Go to the Data menu and select Get External Data. Select From Web. Select the settings as shown below, then click OK.



You can also watch our video below.


Adding the Live Feed to 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.



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



Click into the box and paste in your copied query.



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



Adding the Live Feed to Google Sheets

To put your Live Feed data into a Google sheet, just paste the URL into the formula of the spreadsheet where you want the Live Feed to be. In the field, type =importHTML(‘’Insert URL here’’, ”table”), then press the Enter key on your keyboard. Make sure the URL is between quotation marks, and you’ve added ,”table” to the end.



When adding the live feed, be sure to tick to auto-refresh to refresh your live feed data each day.



Authentication for Google sheets

To be able to use Authentication with Google Sheets, all users who will be accessing the sheet will need to install our add-on. You can download it from here.



Click to continue and allow our Add-on. 




To add your live feed to your Google sheet, go to the Add-ons tab and select Arbor Education > Add New Feed.



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



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



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


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 schools take appropriate steps to control access to their Live Feeds using the same methods you would use to safeguard any school data.

On the Live Feeds page, select the Live Feeds to delete, then click the blue pencil icon to select Delete.


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.


What can Live Feeds be used for?

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



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.



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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I'm still stuck!


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

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  • 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!

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