How saving works NotebooksLearn about notebooks vs. projects
Here's a quick explanation of how Observable saves your work in notebooks.
Editing your own notebooks
Changes you make to a notebook are saved automatically as soon as you do any of the following:
- Clicking the Play button ()
- Typing Shift-Enter
- Focusing a different cell
- Opening your notebook in another window (this is useful with safe mode)
Editing other people's notebooks
You can edit other people's notebooks, as well as your own. However, your edits to other people's notebooks are not automatically saved if you do not have edit access. If you edit someone else's notebook as a viewer, you'll see a message indicating that your edits are temporary:
Clicking the Fork button () will save a copy of the notebook with your changes. You can fork notebooks as often as you like to save multiple variations.
This design lets you treat other notebooks—whether created by you or someone else—as scratchpads for experimentation, or to tinker with their code to see what it does, while ensuring that everyone sees the author's notebook exactly as it was published on reload. If you like the results of your experimentation, save your fork!
If there is a connectivity problem when editing a draft, a message at the top of the window will indicate that you have unsaved changes.
Observable will try to reconnect and save your changes. If we're able to save, the message will disappear. If not, don't panic: your changes are stashed in local storage. We'll try again to save them the next time you visit your notebook. However, take care: stashed changes in local storage are not saved if you make subsequent changes to your draft in another browser. We don't want to overwrite your new changes.
If you're seeing this error more often than expected, please check for any browser extensions you may have installed. Observable requires using the Page Visibility API to manage connectivity and some privacy-minded extensions disable it.
In rare cases, such as if you clear your cookies while you have Observable open, you might also see an error at the top of the page.
If this happens, you must reload the page; any applied changes stashed in local storage will be saved on reload.
Older published notebooks
If you have older notebooks that are showing the Published label, you will need to make your notebooks Public in order to share changes. See Public and published notebooks for more information.
Paused notebooks and saving
Paused notebooks, which are edited out of the view of the public, are also saved automatically. See Pause live edits in public notebooks for more information.