I'm using IMPORTDATA and my live-updating chart is not updating

If you are: 

  • using Datawrapper's external data source feature with Google sheet to create a live-updating chart
  • pulling data from different URLs or sheets or using IMPORTDATA function

and having issues where your live-updating chart is not appearing or is not updating, this tutorial will hopefully explain why and provide a solution for you. 

If you're using IMPORTDATA to load a link to another sheet or a CSV data, it takes a few seconds for the data to load while the sheet displays " loading..." and the cells remain empty: 

This happens especially when you have a large dataset. When this happens frequently enough to coincide with when Datawrapper is scheduled to retrieve data from the linked spreadsheet every minute/hour, Datawrapper will update the chart's data with empty cells instead of actual values that can be plotted. This results in an empty chart or missing data in charts.

A solution to this would be to use the Google Apps Script to write a script that will only replace the values when the updated data is loaded and ready to be displayed. To read how to do this, visit the academy articles below:
- CSV data:  " How to set up automatic updates on a Google Sheet". 
- JSON data: "How to create live-updating charts with JSON data"

If you still encounter issues, reach out to us at support@datawrapper.de