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Hi I would like to simply calculate areas of a area-shape file in square meters or in acres (ha).

I didn't find that functionality in the vector tools.

Could anyone here help me with that?

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Follow up question: I have a layer in State Plane NAD83. When I use these commands it creates the area in feet. What if I want acres or square miles? Thanks –  C_K Apr 17 '13 at 23:26
The two answers provided work but they are a bit slow to implement especially when one is trying to determine the area of many polygon vector files. Is there not a plug-in or some other way to get the area of a polygon simply by right clicking the polygon? The answers provided end up with a new field attribute (i.e. area) but the value doesn't update if the polygon is changed. So, in many cases there is no need to have the area displayed in a separate field attribute. If the area could just be shown as a number in a small chart, on the bottom of the page, etc it would be sufficient. So, is the –  David Aug 16 '13 at 23:06

3 Answers 3

up vote 27 down vote accepted

Make the layer editable, then use the field calculator (Layer>Open attribute table>Field Calculator/Ctrl+I or right click shapefile>Open attribute table>Field Calculator/Ctrl+I). There is an operator "area" that will calculate the area of each row in the table. All units will be calculated in the units of the projection, so you probably want to project it to a projection that uses feet or metres before doing that, rather than lat/lon.

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I don't see any field calculator in the "Open attribute table". –  Tomas Oct 27 '14 at 10:53
see comment below - click the edit button and you should see it enabled –  Stev_k Oct 27 '14 at 11:12
OK. Consider updating your answer. –  Tomas Oct 27 '14 at 12:04
Using QGIS 2.4 to do the same as above. However, even after projection and saving as a new shapefile, i still get an area in what seems to be decimal degrees when calculating area using the layer CRS. Any clue as to why this is the case. Is this a bug in this version of QGIS? –  user19351 Jan 12 at 20:50

This can also be done with Vector|Geometry Tools|Add/export geometry columns, which creates a new shapefile with area and perimeter (or length) columns added.

Edit: (using the tool above, you can also unselect "save as new shape-file" in V1.8, the shapefile is now only updated!)

Using the field calculator is probably a better idea, though, as it doesn't require the creation of a new shapefile.

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I'm not able to select the Field Calculator button so thank you –  boulder_ruby Jan 22 '14 at 15:34
To use the Field Calculator, I believe you have to hit edit (the pencil) first. After that it should light up. Confusing! –  jocull Oct 22 '14 at 14:32

I would like step-by-step instructions to do the same.

Using OS/GB 1936 and want to keep projection in this.

  1. Attributes
  2. Click on Pencil
  3. Deselect any polygons in use
  4. Create a field
  5. Use Field Calculator
  6. Type: $area

... then what?

Am comparing my work to previous hectares example, but want to provide Acres (ac) and Hectares (ha).

So from Square Meters (OS GB 1936) to Acres and Hectares, please do help me with the calculation!


Many thanks! : )

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It may be more useful to create a completely new question, rather than trying to work your question underneath the answer of an older question. This way you can direct more attention towards your question. –  Cameron Sloan Aug 5 at 21:27

protected by underdark May 6 '13 at 12:48

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