What's the Future of Sharing Look Like?

Was running into a challenge, wanting to share a collection of notebooks with a client, but only those notebooks in the collection, not the entire team’s workspace. From my understanding, it looks like we can add a new Viewer member to the team, but that would mean that account could view all notebooks, not only selected ones. Essentially this is about “publishing privately”. Is it possible to share notebooks, and only those notebooks, with others privately in Teams (like selective Viewing)?

I see recently that what is being offered is changing. Am I getting ahead of myself?

Always learning,

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Hi Zach,

Great question. Let me describe the current state of sharing within teams and with external collaborators (which is not changing with the new product offerings) and some thoughts about the future.

Current state

If you want to share with people outside the team (without adding them to the team, which would have the effect of giving them access to all the marbles, as you mentioned), you could:

  • Publish the notebooks unlisted and share the links with the external parties (however, those notebooks would be public, albeit obfuscated and non-searchable, and also read-only for those users, and they will have to fork and suggest changes or comment to collaborate in those unlisted notebooks), or
  • Fork the notebook in the team, and then transfer the fork to your personal workspace and then share it through individual sharing with the external parties (up to 4 others per notebook). This has the advantage of staying private, but obviously creates more notebooks to keep in sync. However, those notebooks could allow others to edit in them directly)

Future plans

  • We really want to create a way for teams to share individual notebooks with external collaborators also, the same way as individuals can.
  • As part of this idea, we will need to ensure that the shared team resources (like other notebooks, database connections, secrets) are not exposed to the external collaborators.
  • We have an issue in our feedback repo that tracks interest in this feature. Please feel free to add your thoughts there! Better sharing · Issue #305 · observablehq/feedback · GitHub

Hope that helps!

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Great notes, thanks.

This is an interesting idea, but when I try to fork a notebook, the only choice I have is to fork it into the Team’s workspace. I am an editor, but maybe I can’t fork a Teams notebook into my personal workspace?

Ah, that always gets me! You are right. I should have said fork the notebook and then transfer the fork to your personal account.

Forking a team private notebook to an individual workspace is not something common and we want to make sure that users don’t accidentally do that (since it is team private information). We add this additional step in there to make sure it is very intentional that you want to take the notebook out of the team workspace.

So I should have said, ‘Fork the notebook, and then transfer the fork to your personal workspace’.
I will edit my answer so that others can see the correct answer.
Thanks for pointing it out!

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Hi Cobus, I found your post when looking for the same question as Zach.

Are there any ETAs for the items you mentioned, sharing privately a notebook with external collaborators/clients?

Thanks in advance!


Javier, thanks for checking in. We are actively working on that feature, but I cannot give you an ETA yet. We definitely see the importance of this use case.

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