Geographic Information Systems Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for cartographers, geographers and GIS professionals. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I set white borders for text (city names) in qgis. If I export the map without white borders it exports quite quickly (png 600 dpi). If I set the white borders it takes hours! Is there any way I can avoid this?


the qgis Version is Lisboa. Operation system Linux. The text labels are set in the regular Text Tab of the Layer-Properties. See screenshot. In the map composer I didn't change any settings.

share|improve this question
Please give more details on what you mean by 'text.' Is it a label? If so, in what part of the program (map canvas or print composer)? If a label, which labeling tool: regular or advanced? By border, I'm guessing you mean 'buffer'? Which version of QGIS? – dakcarto Aug 22 '12 at 23:23

I have a theory based on a discussion about old and new labeling engine and their differences (I'll try to find it again):

In old labeling (which you seem to be using based on your screenshot), buffers are create by copying the label multiple times and offsetting it a little in all directions. This means that there are many more objects on the map if buffering is on. This could cause the export to take much more time.

I would give new labeling from label toolbar a try. I think it uses a different technique.

Update: This bug report seems to be related "Label Buffers Produces Extremely Bloated PDF Export"

share|improve this answer
Agree, use the new labelling anyway. Work is being done on it and so the old one will be almost certainly dropped in the next release (finally). – Giovanni Manghi Aug 23 '12 at 8:08
underdark is correct about a different technique in the new labeling engine for creating buffers. While this works well for buffers, the QPainterPath technique causes text to be output as non-text, vector objects, much like choosing a 'Create Outlines' action on text in a graphics programs like Illustrator. This means the text is not editable on output from QGIS to PDF and SVG. – dakcarto Aug 23 '12 at 16:02

The new labeling engine seems to work a lot better (Layer | Labeling menu, not the label tab from 'properties'). Just tested this (exporting PDFs from the map composer) on a layer with 246 labelled points using various combinations of buffers (white borders) and the labeling engines.

  • Old engine / no buffer: ~ 1 second, 435 KB file;
  • Old engine / buffered: crashed QGIS twice, no output;
  • New engine / no buffer: ~ 1 second, 341 KB file;
  • New engine / buffered: ~ 1 second, 446 KB file.

Underdark's theory looking correct at this point - stick to new engine!

However - I couldn't get the new engine to rotate the labels 45° for this test.

(QGIS 1.8 on MacOSX, 8GB RAM)

share|improve this answer
The label's rotation 'independent of setting data-defined field mappings' is a known issue, and has not yet been addressed in the new labeling engine (see issue #6118). – dakcarto Aug 23 '12 at 15:55

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.