How to Embed An Observable Notebook in A Stand-alone Web Page

Hongtao Hao / 2020-11-02

If you have multiple Observable notebooks in one website, it is better to make all variables unique.

After designing data visualizations on ObserbableHQ , you might want to present your them in a stand-alone webpage. This post is to teach you how to do it.

If you find my post not helpful, you can refer to Advanced Embedding and Downloading .

Embed directly via iframe #

It’s relatively easy to embed a visualization directly . For this example of mine, to embed this chart , I just need the following codes:

<iframe width="100%" height="534" frameborder="0"

To get the above lines of code, on your Observable Notebook, just click the ... menu on the left side of a cell, then choose “Embed”. You will be directed to select cells to embed. Do as instructed. If you encounter problems with embedding, refer to Handy Embed Code Generator , or Troubleshooting Embedding .

You might need to go to the top of your notebook. Next to “(Re)publish” and “Like”, you can see the ... menu. Click it and choose “Switch to classic”. Then follow the above instructions and you’ll be able to see the “Embed” option in the cell you choose.

As you can see, you don’t have much freedom to edit the style of the elements, such as the font, and the positions of the buttons. And the loading may be slow.

Embed manually #

It’s not very difficult to embed your visualizations manually in a stand-alone webpage. I am providing a minimal example here , whose source codes can be seen here . Go to the buttom of this source codes file, and pay attention to the codes between <script type="module"> and </script>.

Except for the part of “HTML within the <body> “, all other codes should be found between <script type="module"> and </script>, which can be either placed within <head> or <body>.

Import Runtime and Inspector #

First, import Runtime and Inspector:

import {Runtime, Inspector} from "";

Import your ObservableHQ notebook #

Then, we import the notebook you want to export. You can name it anything you like, not necessarily as D3ExplorableNotebook. You’ll find that the notebook is always imported from Edit it based on your own Observable username and your notebook URL.

import D3ExplorableNotebook from "";

One thing worth noticing is that you can export private notebook as well, for example, forked notebooks you are working on, or those you don’t want other people to see yet. To do that, go to the homepage of ObservableHQ, on the left side of the page, click “notebooks”, find your unpublished notebook, right click the ... menu, and choose “Enable link sharing”. For private notebooks, the username will be simply d, and the notebook id is that after d shown in your notebook’s URL.

Assign id to cells you are importing #

Next, we define an object in which we assign id to the cells we want to import & present:

const rendersExplorable = {
      	"viewof season": "#viewof-season",
        "TimeSeason": "#TimeSeason",
        "viewof CI": "#viewof-CI",
        "CIbody": "#CIbody",
        "dataset": "#dataset",
        "reset": "#reset",
        "add": "#add",
        "D_chart": "#chart",

The object does not have to be named as rendersExplorable; Name it anything you like. As you can see, within the curly brackets, we assign id to each of the cells we want to import. With id, we can 1) put visualizations into specific places within the webpage, and 2) edit their styles with CSS.

Apply Runtime and Insepctor #

const runtimeExplorable = new Runtime();
const mainExplorable = runtimeExplorable.module(D3ExplorableNotebook, name => {
  const selector = rendersExplorable[name];
  if (selector) {
        return new Inspector(document.querySelector(selector));
     } else {
         return true;

The above codes are from covid19-data/covid19-dashboard .

runtimeExplorabl and mainExplorable are variables, so you can name it anyway you would like.

The D3ExplorableNotebook in the second line should the name your imported notebook. In the third line, rendersExplorable should be the name you assign ids to cells.

HTML within the <body> #

You can study the source code in detail. I’ll explain the basic ideas here. With <div id="viewof-season"></div>, we’ll put the relevant visualization there. If needed, you can edit the style within the CSS stylesheet with #viewof-season {}. I barely used any CSS in my example, so I simply place the CSS code within style tags of the webpage. If you want more complicated styling, of course you can (and probably should) reference an external CSS stylesheet.

Two points are worth mentioning:

  1. Each id you assigned above has to be used here. If there is an unused id, the whole web page won’t render. If that is your case, delete the unnecessary id(s) above .

  2. Each id can be used only for once. If you use an id twice, only the first one will be rendered.

What if I have more than one notebook in one webpage #

It’s not that difficult. First, import the second/third/… notebook as you import the first one. Remember that you need to use different names for different notebooks, for example, import notebook2 from ..., and import notebook3 from ....

Also, you need a different name than renders in const renders = {}. Maybe const rendersTwo = {} and const rendersThree = {}. Then, use different names than runtime in the last steps.

For example, for the second notebook, it might be:

const runtime2 = new Runtime();
const main2 = runtime2.module(notebook2, name => {
   const selector = rendersTwo[name];
   if (selector) {
        return new Inspector(document.querySelector(selector));
     } else {
         return true;

After that, edit the body section as necessary.

If you don’t understand it, study my example , and its source code .

More examples #

You can have a look at more examples of importing an Observable notebook in observablehq/examples .

Last modified on 2022-04-11