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External links

Do you have data that you want to share with a larger number of people, or even make publicly available? For these use cases, SeaTable's external links are just what you need! External links grant read access to data in SeaTable without requiring a user login. External links can also be embedded in web pages, making it easy to put small and large data collections online.

External links offer a lot of exciting use cases. This post explains what they are and how to use them.

Functionality and types of external links

An external link is a URL that gives you read-only access to a data collection in SeaTable. Such a data collection can be a base or a view.

  • External link for a Base: By calling an external link for a Base, the visitor can see all data stored in a Base, including all tables. The visitor can also access all existing views and statistics. The evaluation tools grouping, sorting and filtering can be used for own evaluations. (However, new views cannot be created).
  • External link for a view: Such an external link grants read access to a specific view of a table. The rows and columns that are hidden by the view's settings, as well as other tables in Base, remain hidden from visitors to the external link. (As of March 27, 2021, content in link columns cannot be displayed in external links for views).

External links are basically public links, i.e. the link can be accessed by anyone, regardless of a user login. This is also one of the main differences to the invitation link. An invitation link requires a login to SeaTable and thus a user account.

External links are useful when you want to make data in Bases available to external people and you do not want to make this access dependent on a login to SeaTable. This can be results of a survey, a price list as well as the schedule of an event or a product release.

A special use of external links is their embedding in web pages. With a simple tag, you can integrate a base or a view into a web page via an external link. For example, the bases in the template library are embedded in the SeaTable.io web page using external links.

Creation of external links

External links for Bases can be created using the Share dialog. The Share dialog can be opened in the Bases Library or in Table View. In the Bases Library, move the mouse pointer over a Base and click the three-dot icon that appears to the right of the Base name. The Share dialog opens when you click Share. In Table View, click the Share icon in the upper right corner to open the Share dialog.

External links for views can be created from the advanced options of a view. Click the three-dot icon to the right of the view name, then click <i>Split View</i>.

For each base and view, you can create one or more external links. For each external link, you can set three properties:

  • Password protection
  • Automatic sequence
  • Random URL vs. custom URL

The two protection mechanisms password protection and automatic expiration secure the publicly accessible external against unauthorized access. Without password protection and automatic expiration, any person with knowledge of the link has read access to the base without time restriction.

The URL of all external links consists of two parts: The reference to the SeaTable system and the unique reference of the shared resource - Base or View. The reference to the SeaTable system at SeaTable.io is uniform https://cloud.seatable.io/dtable/external-links/ for external links for bases or https://cloud.seatable.io/dtable/view-external-links/ for external links for views. The reference depends on the URL type chosen. For a random URL, this is a 20-character combination of letters and numbers; for a custom URL, this is the assigned name preceded by /custom/.

You create an external link by clicking the Create button. The created external links are listed under the button.

To the right of the created external links, three icons appear when you move the mouse pointer over the link:

  • With the first icon you call up the embed preview. You can see how a base or view embedded in your website would look on a desktop/laptop and a mobile device.
  • With the second icon you copy the link to the clipboard. From there, you can paste the link into an email or web page.
  • With the third icon you delete the external link.

Management of external links

The management of external links - like their creation - is done via the Share dialog, which you can call up as described above.

Clicking External Link in the Share dialog displays the existing external links. Using the three icons to the right of the link, you can call up the embedding preview, copy the link to the clipboard or delete it (more see above).

For an existing link, the password protection and expiration date can no longer be changed. You must delete the external link and create it again.

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