Section author: Jonathon Love

Updating data

Once a data set is set up with filters, computed variables, transforms and analyses, sometimes you may want to update the data. This may be for a number of reasons – It might be that you have a new data set, that you want to apply the analyses you performed earlier to it, or you may be conducting an experiment where you’re tesing a number of participants, and you now have an additional participant’s data to analyse. By importing into an existing data set you can re-run your analyses without having to re-perform all of your data cleaning and analysis steps (making your jamovi files behave a bit like scripts).

For a video introduction to import and templates in jamovi, see this blog post.

Single-file Import

Import is available from the file menu (☰) at the top left of jamovi. When you import a file into an existing data set, the following operations are performed:

  1. All the rows of the existing data set are deleted.

  2. All the (original) names of the existing columns are matched to the names of the columns from the new data set.

  3. The new values are imported to the existing columns, keeping the data and measure types from the existing data set.

  4. The new columns which did not match names in the original data set are appended to the right of the data set.

If no new column matches the column names in the existing data set, then those columns are left blank.

Following a file import, all the filters, computed variables, transforms and analyses update.

Multi-file Import

It is also possible to import multiple files at once. This can be useful when you are combining multiple data sets, for example, where each file represents a participant. The process is the same as the single-file import detailed above, except that you select multiple files when performing the import. You can do this by holding down control or shift when selecting data files, or with the “multi-select” button at the top of the import dialog.

When importing multiple files like this, they are combined vertically with the rows of the second file appearing below the first, the rows of the third file appearing below the second, and so on. An additional column called source is created detailing which file each row has come from. This can be useful when you need to “split-by” or “group-by” each participant. This column can be particularly useful to use with the group_by argument to V-functions described above.

At present, there is no way to combine files horizontally in jamovi.


Templates in jamovi are special data sets that are analagous to script files in more traditional statistical environments. They are a way to specify data types, computations, filters, transforms, and analyses in advance. Once the data becomes available, it can be imported into the template, and the template will update accordingly. The nice thing about jamovi templates is that they are entirely specified with the familiar user interface, and do not require working with a “syntax” or code.

To save a data set as a template, select Export from the file menu, and select jamovi template (.omt) from the file type box. When opening a template, you’ll see it contains columns but no rows, and that all the analysis results are blank. To use the template, import a new data set (or data sets) using the file import described above. The data will update, followed by the filters, computed variables, and finally the analysis results.

jamovi templates are also a great way to provide analyses to less capable students or colleagues.