Our world is flooded with information. Traditional media such as texts, images, or even videos are no longer sufficient for an eye-catchy blog or article. People need facts to understand a point before building trust with the content. What’s the best representation of facts? Data is. Today, we would like to introduce several ways of displaying a big data table on your website to improve your blog with quantitative insights.

If you have a big table to display on your website, you may run into a series of problems with a spreadsheet program such as a Google Sheet or Airtable. Technically, they do not support a table larger than 50k rows, and for embedding, there is an even more strict limit on the data size. The following is a summary of the prevalent tools which offer embedded tables.

Tools Data limit Embed limit
Excel 1,048,576 rows by 16,384 columns Related to front-end
Google Sheets 5,000,000 cells, with a maximum of 256 columns 3,000 rows with 7 columns
Airtable 50,000 rows or 5MB data size Related to front-end, around 3,500 rows
Acho No limit on rows, 10,000 columns 5,000 rows

Most of the spreadsheet tools on the market are not built for big data. It can be challenging to host a big data table on a website . The higher the number of rows needed to load on a table,  the slower a web browser performs. That being said, it is not recommended to have a big table directly displayed on a website. Instead, it would be a better approach to host a big data table on a database, and link it back to the website.

A. Embed table on Excel

  1. Import your data to Excel
  2. Open File > Share > Embed
  3. Configure the table you would like to embed
  4. Copy the Embed code and put it to your website

Excel is a pretty powerful spreadsheet. It doesn’t restrict the data size for the embed table. However, the size of the embed table will directly influence your website performance. Typically, the table starts to lag when there are more than 3,500 rows in the table. Just to keep in mind, although you can select a range to show a particular piece of the embed table, there is no way to link back or request the original table on Excel. The only way for viewers is to download the embed table.

Another thing to think of is that Excel is not the best tool to host big data. It can only support data up to 1,048,576 rows by 16,384 columns. That is to say, it might be ok for you to host thousands of rows of data on an Excel embed link. But when the data scales to millions of rows, Excel itself cannot handle it, not to mention hosting it.  

In conclusion, Excel is really good at on-prem data modeling and calculation, but it is not built for cloud or collaboration. It seems to be ok to embed thousands of rows(3000 - 4000 rows) of data on Excel. The performance of the embed table is, however, heavily dependent on the front-end infrastructure of your website.

The following is an example of an Excel embedded table:

B. Embedding table on Google Sheet

  1. Import your data to Google Sheet
  2. Open File > Publish to the web > Embed
  3. Configure the table you would like to embed
  4. Copy the Embed code and put it on your website

Google Sheet is one of the most popular cloud-based spreadsheets. However, the embed table feature is not highly configurable in terms of data access and table setting. Google Sheet doesn’t allow users to set up the table width and height by default, which means it has to be manually coded in the iframe. This results in a condition that the Google Sheet embed table always looks very small and constrained. By contrast, on Google Sheets you can embed the whole Sheet with multiple tables to a website. You can also select which tables to publish.

A side note for embedding a table on Google Sheets is that  5,000,000 cells limit with a maximum of 256 columns. Typically, if your table comes with 10 columns, then it can only hold 500,000 rows there. This means that Google Sheets is not an ideal tool for hosting big data. When it comes to the actual embed table on your website, it can only support 3000 rows with up to 7 columns. There is no way to configure the table’s width and height either, which makes the embed table small and constrained. Nevertheless, the viewers have no access to redirect to the original table on the Google Sheet.

To sum up, Google Sheets might be one of the best cloud collaboration spreadsheets, but it is not the best choice for embedding tables on a website.

The following is an example of a Google Sheets embedded table:

C. Embedding table on Airtable

  1. Import your data to Airtable
  2. Open Share view > Embed this view on your site
  3. Configure the table you would like to embed
  4. Copy the Embed code and put it on your website

Airtable might be the spreadsheet product which operates like a database. Airtable doesn’t restrict the data size for embed links, as long as it can be imported into Airtable. Publishers can configure whether to show controls in the embed table. However, Airtable can only process up to 50,000 rows or a 5 MB dataset. Theoretically, you can still embed data within 50,000 rows on Airtable if the front-end can sustain. However, the embed table will start to lag if there are more than 3,500 rows.

Just to keep in mind, Airtable doesn’t provide a way to visit the original table, and what it shows in the embed table is exactly the same data in the original table. And the limit is 50,000 rows or up to 5 MB, which is rather easy to exceed.

To sum up, Airtable has some permission control features to embed your table, but it is not built for big data either.

D. Embedding table on Acho

Alternatively, if the solutions above cannot suffice your data publishing needs, you can use Acho Studio to host your data file. There are a few reasons why you should embed tables on Acho, especially for big data.

  1. Acho is built to process big data, and there is no limit on rows for storing a big dataset. When it comes to the column limit, Acho also supports up to 10,000 columns.
  2. Acho can support granular column-level table embedding. With various transformations, users can hide, filter, sort certain data before publishing it.
  3. Acho can connect the embed table with the original table with data size differentiation. While viewers can upmost view 5,000 rows of data on your website, they can still come to Acho to view the original table with no data size limitation.
  4. Acho can give visibility and credits to the original table owner. This means if this table happens to be your product lists or data sample, your potential clients can easily recognize your brand when previewing the data.

You can check out the following table that contains more than one million rows here. The table can still function very smoothly with a 5,000 rows limit on any website. At the same time, there is no limit for Acho to host a big dataset on its cloud infrastructure, while most other spreadsheets can support up to 1 millions of rows on their platforms.

In order to embed a table up to 5,000 rows on the website with no limits on Acho’s infrastructure, here are the steps for how you can do this on your own:

1. Import the table to Acho Studio

There are multiple ways to import your table to Acho Studio, whether it is a big dataset or a small one. Of course, Acho can maximize its advantages when the data is extremely big(representatively more than 1 million rows). Acho is compatible with single CSB, multiple CSV, databases(MySQL, PostgreSQL, Mongo, etc), and integrations(Hubspot, Salesforce, Matabase, etc). You can feel free to choose any methods above to import your data, or feel free to contact us if those connections do not satisfy your needs.

Once you have imported your table to Acho Studio, it will be stored as a column-based database. This way it will be much faster and easier to process and retrieve.

import the data source into Acho

2. Build and transform the table

The next step is to create a project, so you can access and process the data resource. Here you can use the SQL-based actions to transform it to your desirable result or even combine multiple tables into one. The SQL-based actions include Filter, Sort, Cleanse, Column Search, Generate Summary, Pivot Table, Deduplicate, Copy Table, etc. A common use case for embedding a table on a website is hosting a part of the original table externally. In this case, you can use Copy Table to make a copy of your original table. Then you can use Cut, Filter or Hide Column to display the certain piece of your table. Another use case is you want to show the sample data of a big table, and redirect the audience to the original big table. In this scenario, you don’t need to do any transformation before embedding.

Now you have a table ready to present to your website’s audience, you can now go to the next step.

build and transform the table

3. Embed it to your website

Since you have all the data ready for publishing, now you can start to embed the table into your website. By clicking on the little cloud button on the right, you can choose the “Embed Table” option to generate a link. Then you can configure how many rows of data you want to embed to your website. Currently, Acho limits the maximum number of rows to 5,000 to protect the universal front-end performance on different websites. However, there is no limit of rows for the table living on Acho. Theoretically, you can build a table as big as you like on Acho. After setting up the embed table, you can click the Generate button to produce a HTML embed link. Simply insert this link to your website, or HTML editor, you should be able to view your table on your site now. A small tip: you can change the “width”, and “height” to customize the size of your embedded table on your website. If you prefer the table to be responsive, just set the width = “100%”.

Please be aware that every time you generate a new Embed Link, Acho will automatically grab your latest data from your table to publish it to your website. For example, you can hide certain columns after you Embed the link. Simply generate the link again, you should have a new table on your website.

export as an embedded table

After these steps, your table should be live for everyone to see! Still, you are the one who has full control here for what your audiences can see. Simply click the generate link and have Acho displaying your latest table.

At the same time, Acho gives the credit back to all the embedded table owners by showing their Company Names. On the embedded table, it not only shows its basic information(the size of the sample table and the original table), but also displays the Company Name both externally on the website and internally on Acho. You can go to Profile > Company Name to edit it, if by default the name doesn't fit with your business(by default Acho uses your Name to represent your Company Name because we couldn’t accurately grab your business name).

After all the steps above, the audiences can now interact with the data content directly on the website, or they can redirect to Acho to view the original table.