Is there a way to remove polygon overlaps within the same layer using QGIS, preferably removing the overlap area of the biggest polygon (having the greatest surface)?

All of my polygons are in the same layer, and I would like to perform this operation on the entire layer at once rather than manual editing.

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  • Yes, all features are in the same layer and I'm rather looking for a mass execution solution Commented May 22, 2015 at 14:55

3 Answers 3


You can use Eliminate sliver polygons tool to eliminate the small polygons, as you can see below:

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You have two options to eliminate polygons:

  1. Area: eliminate polygons based on area in which the smaller polygon will be eliminated if they area located inside big polygons
  2. Common boundary: if there is a common boundary between two polygons, they will be eliminated.

In your case, since you need the smaller polygons to be eliminated, I think option 1 is the best one for you.

You can find Eliminate sliver polygons tool from Vector -> Geoprocessing tools -> Eliminate sliver polygons

  • this tool will keep the attributes of both polygons? I´ve the same Robert´s issue and I did not find a good solution yet :( Commented May 25, 2017 at 13:42
  • @KleberBarcelar Try to select the features that you want to eliminate first before running the tool.
    – ahmadhanb
    Commented May 26, 2017 at 1:19

You can not choose which polygon gets the overlap part by size, but apart from that, this should do what you are looking for: https://gis.stackexchange.com/a/381790/107424


You can do that with Vector -> Geoprocessing Tools -> Difference of the Menu Mar.

Two arbitrary shapefiles overlapped near of Europe area:

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Difference Tool Window where the input vector layer is big_polygon and the difference layer is small_polygon.

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The resulting difference polygon:

enter image description here

  • Thank you xunilk but all the polygons are on the same layer Commented May 22, 2015 at 14:58

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