Exporting and Saving Data from OpenRefine

Last updated on 2023-09-23 | Edit this page



  • How can we save and export our cleaned data from OpenRefine?


  • Export cleaned data from an OpenRefine project.
  • Save an OpenRefine project.

Exporting cleaned data

Once you are done cleaning your data, you will likely want to export it.

Click Export in the top right and select the file type you want to export the data in. Tab-separated value (tsv) or Comma-separated value (csv) would be good choices.

That file will be exported to your default Downloads directory. That file can then be opened in a spreadsheet program or imported into programs like R or Python.

Saving and exporting a project

In OpenRefine you can save or export the project. This means you’re saving the data and all the information about the cleaning and data transformation steps you’ve done. Once you’ve saved a project, you can open it up again and be just where you stopped before.


By default OpenRefine is saving your project. If you close OpenRefine and open it up again, you’ll see a list of your projects. You can click on any one of them to open it up again.

To find the location on your computer where the files are saved, see the OpenRefine manual page for where the data is stored.

Exporting project files

You can also export a project. This is helpful, for instance, if you wanted to send your raw data and cleaning steps to a collaborator, or share this information as a supplement to a publication.

  1. Click the Export button in the top right and select OpenRefine project archive to file.
  2. A tar.gz file will download to your default Download directory. The tar.gz extension tells you that this is a compressed file, which means that this file contains multiple files.
  3. If you open the compressed file (if on Windows, you will need a tool like 7-Zip), you should see:
  • A history folder which contains several zip files. Each of these files itself contains a change.txt file.
    • These change.txt files are the records of each individual transformation that you did to your data.
  • A data.zip file. When expanded, this zip file includes a file called data.txt which is a copy of your raw data.
  • You may also see other files.

Importing project files

You can import an existing project into OpenRefine by clicking Open... in the upper right, then clicking on Import Project on the left-side menu. Click Choose File and select the tar.gz project file. This project will include all of the raw data and cleaning steps that were part of the original project.

Key Points

  • OpenRefine can save the clean data to a number of formats.
  • Cleaned data or entire projects can be exported from OpenRefine.
  • Projects can be shared with collaborators, enabling them to see, reproduce and check all data cleaning steps you performed.