I'm trying to implement / reuse Add Feature functionality in my python plugin. there a class/function that handles geometry creation on canvas based on layer geometry definition? I'm checking API but I can't find a function that gives you functionality to digitize geometry and pass it as a feature to layer - or something similar.

I managed to get layer to editing mode now I can't find a way to implement this.

So basically ---> enter image description here with PyQGIS API.

  • 1
    So you want users to digitize new features which are then added to an existing vector? Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 13:20
  • Yes. I can't find a function to do that.
    – Greg
    Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 13:24
  • 1
    Have you looked up the word rubberband in relation to PyQGIS? That might get you on the right track. Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 13:26
  • I found QgsRubberBand(self.canvas, QGis.Polygon) I hope I figure out how it works. Thanks for pointers :)
    – Greg
    Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 13:38
  • I'll go and check rubberband and QgsMapTool functionality. I think implementing your own geometry creaton tool is a hard way to such a simple goal...
    – Greg
    Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 13:54

3 Answers 3


I spent a while trying to figure this out too.

The button is found in the QgisInterface class.

# Find the layer to edit
layer = qgis.utils.iface.activeLayer()
# Implement the Add Feature button

Then add the features you wish to add to the layer.

  • how can I save them with python script? Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 6:44

A complete solution with also saving the layer, as requested in a comment:

# Get the active layer
layer = iface.activeLayer()

# Define a function called when a feature is added to the layer
def feature_added():

    # Disconnect from the signal

    # Save changes and end edit mode

# Connect the layer to the signal featureAdded, so when a feature is
# added to the layer, the feature_added function is called    

# Set the layer in edit mode

# Activate the QGIS add feature tool

Here would be a way to add a new feature to a polygon vector:

# reference your layer, such as the active layer
lyr = iface.activeLayer()

# get the vertexes of your new geometry and add them to a list
coordinatePairs = []
coordinatePairs.append(QgsPoint(-80.23, -3.28))
coordinatePairs.append(QgsPoint(-65.58, -4.21))
coordinatePairs.append(QgsPoint(-65.87, 9.50))
coordinatePairs.append(QgsPoint(-80.10, 10.44))

# create a polygon using the above coordinates
newPolygon = QgsGeometry.fromPolygon([coordinatePairs])

# create a feature, add the polygon to it
feature = QgsFeature()

# access the layer"s data provider, add the feature to it
dataProvider = lyr.dataProvider()

# refresh map canvas to see the result

With my comments I think this should be pretty self-explanatory.

In this case you would not even have to start an edit session, and you would write this feature directly to the file, which might not exactly be what you are trying to implement.

Either way, what is now missing is that the points that are appended to this list, are not hard-coded but are actually coming from the user. You would therefore have to combine all of this with a click event that gets the coordinates on click and appends them to the list. Since this is all done via a plugin I would also suggest you add a button that lets you start the editing (i.e. setting new points) and lets you stop it (so a button that allows toggling, like the typical "Add Feature" button, but you could surely add two separate buttons as well). The button functionality would, of course, come from PyQt, and then reference to your PyQGIS functions. You also might want to add a line that combines each single point that is set to be used as a vertex. Although optional, that would greatly enhance the user experience.

The above example, by the way, would create a polygon that more or less hides Colombia:

enter image description here

PS: for inspiration I looked at the PyQGIS Cookbook that was released by Packt Pub a few days ago.

  • 1
    Yes I know I can do this by defining points and group them into geometry (polygon). That's exactly what I'm trying to avoid. I'd like user to create polygons by clicking on map canvas to preview geometry. Thanks for your comment. I'm sure someone will find it useful.
    – Greg
    Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 14:22
  • Hi @Greg, I'm trying to do the same thing as you. Did you find how to use the "Add Feature" tool programmatically ?
    – kaycee
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 16:37

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