Software installation

Install OpenRefine

Install software required for activities later in the course
Open Refine Logo

OpenRefine is a tool with a set of features for working with tabular data that improves the overall quality of a dataset. It is an application that runs on your own computer as a small web server, and in order to use it your web browser should point at that web server. So, think of OpenRefine as a personal and private web application.

We will use OpenRefine during the data mobilization portion of the course, especially during the practical exercises. It will be necessary to install OpenRefine on your laptop. If you are a skilled computer user, you can follow these steps to install the software on your computer. If you are not confident, please ask for help. Refer to the OpenRefine download page for more details.

Administrative passwords may be required to install software.

Installation Requirements

  1. Linux users only: Java JRE installed.

  2. Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge or Mozilla Firefox installed. Internet Explorer is not supported.

The latest stable release is OpenRefine 3.4.1, released on September 24, 2020. Detailed installation instructions are available at

Installation on MS Windows

  1. Download the Windows kit with embedded Java. Choose to save the file rather than open it.

  2. Find the downloaded file. Right click it, and choose "Extract all…". Unzip, and double-click on openrefine.exe or refine.bat if the former does not work.

  3. A command window will appear (don’t close it) and soon after a new web browser window will show the application.

Detailed instructions for MS Windows (click to expand)
  1. win1 save download

    Download the Windows kit with embedded Java. Choose to save the file rather than open it.

  2. win2 extract all

    Find the file you downloaded. Right click it, and choose "Extract All…"

  3. win3 extract location

    Click "Extract"

  4. win4 create shortcut

    Find the extracted files. Optionally, right click "openrefine" and choose "Send to → Desktop (create shortcut)" to create a shortcut on your desktop. Then double click "openrefine"

  5. win5 run

    A black console window opens, and a short time later the browser opens. OpenRefine is now ready to use.

Installation on Mac

  1. Download the Mac kit.

  2. Download, open, drag icon into the Applications folder. You do not need to install Java separately.

  3. Double click on it and a new web browser window will show the application.

Detailed instructions for Mac (click to expand)
  1. mac01 download open

    Download the Mac kit, and choose to open it.

  2. mac02 unidentified developer

    A warning is shown. Click "OK".

  3. mac03 system preferences

    Open System Preferences.

  4. mac04 security and privacy

    Open Security & Privacy

  5. mac05 open anyway

    Choose "Open Anyway" at the bottom.

  6. mac06 yes really open

    Choose "Open"

  7. mac07 copy to applications

    Finally, the application archive is opened! Drag it to your Applications folder.

  8. mac08 who owns this computer anyway

    Double-click the OpenRefine icon. Another security warning appears!

  9. mac09 not the user

    Go back to "Security & Privacy" and click "Open Anyway" — again.

  10. mac10 use linux instead

    (To avoid these warnings, the OpenRefine developers would need to pay Apple.)

    Click "Open".

  11. mac11 run

    Finally! The application is running.

Installation on Linux

  1. Download the Linux kit.

  2. Download, extract, then type ./refine to start. This requires Java to be installed on your computer.

Detailed instructions for Linux (click to expand)

These instructions are for KDE (e.g. Kubuntu, SuSE), but the process is similar for Gnome (e.g. Ubuntu, Red Hat, CentOS).

  1. kde1 download open

    Download the Linux kit. Open it.

  2. kde2 extract

    Click "Extract" to unpack the downloaded application.

  3. kde3 extract all

    Choose a suitable place. I also selected "Open destination folder after extraction" and "Close Ark after extraction"

  4. kde4 open

    Right click "refine" and choose "Run in Konsole". This is needed so you can safely exit OpenRefine later, by closing the Konsole window.

  5. kde5 execute

    Confirm that you wish to execute the downloaded application.

  6. kde6 run

    OpenRefine is now running.