Cleaning tabular data with OpenRefine

A part of the data workflow is preparing the data for analysis. Some of this involves data cleaning, where errors in the data are identified and corrected, or formatting made consistent. This step must be taken with the same care and attention to reproducibility as the analysis.

OpenRefine is a powerful free and open source tool for working with messy data: cleaning it and transforming it from one format into another.

This lesson will teach you to use OpenRefine to effectively clean and format data and automatically track any changes that you make. Many people comment that this tool saves them literally months of work trying to make these edits by hand.

Getting Started

Data Carpentry’s teaching is hands-on, so participants are encouraged to use their own computers to ensure the proper setup of tools for an efficient workflow.
These lessons assume no prior knowledge of the skills or tools.

This lesson requires a working copy of OpenRefine.
To get started, follow the directions in the “Setup” tab to download data to your computer and follow any installation instructions. To most effectively use these materials, please make sure to install everything before working through this lesson.