Refine Basics

Let’s look at the basic functions of OpenRefine using demo data. Download a CSV:

Refine Home Page

On Refine’s home page you will see three main options on the left side tab menu:

Create Project


Refine provides a variety of features to explore and learn about your data, diving into the details to discover the contents. Most of these operations are accessed via menus on each column and act on the values in that column.

Applying Text Filter, Facets, or Sort are means to fluidly subset your data, changing your view of it. These do not make any changes to data directly.


Once you get to know your data, it’s time to start cleaning. The features used to explore data become the means to isolate issues so that you can apply operations to fix groups of rows/cells with similar problems.


Once you have wrangled, cleaned, and enhanced your data it is time to export it for your next steps. Refine is great at transforming data from one format into another, so it’s export options are particularly flexible and useful.

The export is always a new copy of the data, never altering or over writing the original. Your project and its history are always autosaved in your “working directory”, and can be access from the “Open Project” tab.