Teaching: 10 min
Exercises: 0 min
  • What is OpenRefine useful for?

  • Describe OpenRefine’s uses and applications.

  • Differentiate data cleaning from data organization.

  • Experiment with OpenRefine’s user interface.

  • Locate helpful resources to learn more about OpenRefine.

Motivations for the OpenRefine Lesson


Before we get started

Note: this is a Java program that runs on your machine (not in the cloud). It runs inside your browser, but no web connection is needed.

Follow the Setup instructions to install OpenRefine.

If after installation and running OpenRefine, it does not automatically open for you, point your browser at or http://localhost:3333 to launch the program.

Getting help for OpenRefine

You can find out a lot more about OpenRefine at and check out some great introductory videos.

These videos and others on OpenRefine can also be found on YouTube by searching under ‘OpenRefine’. There is an official forum that can answer a lot of beginner questions and problems. Information can also be found on StackOverflow where you can find a lot of help. As with other programs of this type, OpenRefine libraries are available too, where you can find a script you need and copy it into your OpenRefine instance to run it on your dataset.

Key Points

  • OpenRefine is a powerful, free, and open source tool that can be used for data cleaning.

  • OpenRefine will automatically track any steps allowing you to backtrack as needed and providing a record of all work done.