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I've looked through other questions/answers and not seen what I am looking for...

  1. How do I display the contents of a DIVA-GIS Gazetteer *.dbf file in QGIS?

Ideally I would like to take contents of the dbf and display a symbol according to coordinate(s), defining symbol character from another column and finally labelling according to a fourth column.

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I think the easiest way is to open the DBF file in a Spreadsheet software (e.g., LibreOffice Calc or Excel), export it to CSV, and open it in QGIS using the Add Delimited Text Layer tool (find it in Layer-->Add Layer-->).

Being there, you can select fields for longitude (X field) and latitude (Y field).

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Once points are loaded into QGIS, right click on that layer and go to Properties-->Style. Choose Categorized in the very first combo box. Select the field you want the symbology to be based on and click on Classify and OK.

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Finally, for labeling points, go to Properties-->Labels, activate the Label this layer with check box, select the field you want labels from, and click OK.

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You should see a result like this (I'm using DIVA-GIS Gazetteer data for Colombia):

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Of course, you can set your own symbology and labeling properties, such as color, shape, font, and the like.

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