How to change the group icon in legend via Python in QGIS 2.6?

At version 1.x I did it this way:

self.legendTree = self.iface.mainWindow().findChild(QDockWidget,"Legend").findChild(QTreeWidget)
  • 1
    Why do you want to change it? – Nathan W Feb 8 '15 at 5:34
  • 2
    I would want that group created by plugin differs from the group created by man. ;) – dimamix Feb 8 '15 at 7:15

In QGIS2 as well as in QGIS3, the group icon is set by the QgsLayerTreeModel, in its data method.

From QGIS source code (QGIS 2.18, QGIS 3.10):

QVariant QgsLayerTreeModel::data( const QModelIndex &index, int role ) const
   if ( !index.isValid() || index.column() > 1 )
     return QVariant();

   if ( role == Qt::DisplayRole || role == Qt::EditRole )
   else if ( role == Qt::DecorationRole && index.column() == 0 )
     if ( QgsLayerTree::isGroup( node ) )
       return iconGroup();

The iconGroup function returns a static theme icon. While it is possible to override these icons, it is not possible to have a custom icon per group whith this implementation.

Fortunately, it is fairly easy to extend QgsLayerTreeModel using PyQt to get the desired behavior.

class CustomLayerModel(QgsLayerTreeModel):
    def __init__(self, parent=None):
        super(CustomLayerModel, self).__init__(QgsProject.instance().layerTreeRoot(), parent)

    def data(self, index, role=Qt.DisplayRole):
        if not index.isValid():
            return None
        node = self.index2node(index)
        if role == Qt.DecorationRole:
            if QgsLayerTree.isGroup(node):
                if node.customProperty("legend/icon"):
                    return QIcon(node.customProperty("legend/icon"))
        return super(CustomLayerModel, self).data(index, role)

This CustomLayerModel will behave exactly like the classic QgsLayerTreeModel, but for group nodes, it will check whether a custom property (arbitrarily called "legend/icon") exists, and return a custom QIcon accordingly.

The model of the QGIS layer tree view must now be replaced by our custom one.

def replace_original_model():
    model = CustomLayerModel()
    # Keep a reference to the model so it does not get garbage collected
    iface.custom_model = model
    # Save the original model 
    if not hasattr(iface, 'original_model'):
        iface.original_model = iface.layerTreeView().layerTreeModel()
    # Copy the flags used by the original model
    # Replace the original model

We can also define another helper function, which restores the orignal model if needed

def restore_original_model():
    if hasattr(iface, 'original_model'):

One last thing to do: define a helper function which will set the icon for a given group

def set_group_icon(group_name, icon_url):
    group = QgsProject.instance().layerTreeRoot().findGroup(group_name)
    if group:
        # Write custom property
        group.setCustomProperty("legend/icon", icon_url)
        # Trigger refresh
        index = iface.layerTreeView().layerTreeModel().node2index(group)
        iface.layerTreeView().layerTreeModel().dataChanged.emit(index, index)


>>> replace_original_model()
>>> set_group_icon("group1", "path/to/my/icon.svg")
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