Library Carpentry: OpenRefine: Setup

Getting ready

You need to install OpenRefine and download a data file to follow this lesson.

Installing and running OpenRefine

OpenRefine is a free, open-source Java application. You can download OpenRefine from This lesson has been tested with all versions of OpenRefine up to the latest tested version, 3.6.1

Packages are available on for Windows, macOS, and Linux. Please download the latest stable version, choosing the “kit” for your operating system. Current versions of the “Windows kit with embedded Java” and “Mac kit” include everything you need to run OpenRefine. The “Linux kit” and traditional “Windows kit” require a “Java Runtime Environment” (JRE) installed on your system (see notes below).

If you are using an older version of OpenRefine, it is recommended you upgrade to the latest tested version.

Please follow OpenRefine’s manual to install and run it.

When running OpenRefine, initially a command line window will open. This is a window with a black background. As OpenRefine runs, lines of text will appear in the command line window. Then the Open Refine interface will open in your default web browser. You do not need to interact with the command line window. Leave it open in the background, and work on datasets in your web browser.


OpenRefine cloud services

If you are unable to install OpenRefine (due to IT restrictions, for example), please try openrefineder using MyBinder. It’s free to use without registration, but it’s the older OpenRefine 3.4.1, restricted to 1-2 GB RAM, and the server will be deleted after 10 minutes of inactivity.


Downloading the data

You can download doaj-article-sample.csv, which is a csv file that will open in a new browser tab. Be sure to right click or control click in order to save the file (NOTE: In Safari, right click and select download linked file; in Chrome and Firefox, right click and select save link as…). Make a note of the location (i.e. the folder, your desktop) to which you save the file.

Exiting OpenRefine

To exit OpenRefine, close all the browser tabs or windows, then navigate to the command line window. To close this window and ensure OpenRefine exits properly, hold down [control] and press [c] on your keyboard. This will save all changes to your projects.

Getting help

If you encounter problems installing or running OpenRefine, a good source of support is the OpenRefine mailing list and user forum. Include your operating system when searching to find the most relevant answers for your issue, such as threads related to Windows, macOS, or Linux.

You may also want to check the Stack Overflow OpenRefine tag or the OpenRefine Gitter room.

There are also general and specialist tutorials about using OpenRefine available on the web, including: