WMS standard allows specifying a list of styles for each WMS layer. The users can then use the style name in the URL query parameter "STYLES". If the styles are not specified, "default" is assumed.

But, how do I select such a style in QGIS? I was able to add a WMS server, and add and display its layers. However, although I can see all the styles listed in the "Layer properties", I haven't find any option how to select one.

For example, if some WMS service has a layer named "Vegetation", and for this layer the service defines styles "Grayscale" and "Green", how do I select "Green" instead of the default one?

  • You can colourize the layer in QGIS under Style>Colour Rendering, but that is only of use if the layer is made of simple features and you want to change the colour. The proper answer would involve editing the query parameter as you mention but from what I can see in QGIS you would have to create a new server connection and set up you specific query which included the style
    – Sethinacan
    Feb 10, 2016 at 12:34
  • My question is about selecting the WMS-provided styles, not coloring the features inside the client. In my case, WMS service is providing raster layers only, and it has internal color mapping and color interpretation functions, which are "exposed" as WMS layer styles. And I want to select such a style, which is provided by WMS service via GetCapabilities request, inside <Layer><Style> tags.
    – Butl Nor
    Feb 10, 2016 at 13:11
  • Manually editing the URL query parameters is really a last resort, as this would complicate the workflow. Also, in my case, QGIS likes to strip away all the query parameters following the question mark. I guess QGIS, as a WMS conformant app, should be obliged to provide an option to select the style, which is completely standard.
    – Butl Nor
    Feb 10, 2016 at 13:16
  • Yes, as I said colouring the layer is only useful in some cases, all WMS will be rasters but many I use show a single type of feature such as a flood so colouring is a quick a solution. It seems you are looking for a feature that isn't present maybe?
    – Sethinacan
    Feb 10, 2016 at 14:08
  • Yes, I am really afraid that this "feature" might not be supported in QGIS. But this is really sad, as the "STYLES" parameter is supported since the beginning of the WMS standard. How can the authors of QGIS forget to implement this parameter, when they properly parse and show the styles from GetCapabilities in the layer properties dialog? Ignorance? I know QGIS is free, and developed by volunteers, but missing such a feature, when implementing thousands of other features, is a no-no.
    – Butl Nor
    Feb 10, 2016 at 14:24

2 Answers 2


I can't find an example WMS that has a layer with two plus named styles, but just using the below example, I always thought that you would be able to select the layer style you wanted through the QGIS Add Layers dialogue window. So in this below example the style is called 'default' (id is 2), but in your example you would have grayscale (id would be 2) and green (id would be 3) and you would chose whichever style you wanted.

QGIS Add Layers dialogue window

  • 1
    works for me! (QGIS 3.16.3-Hannover) Nov 22, 2021 at 16:44

Thank you @nmtoken. This tip made it for me.

I'm using a WMS with elevation-raster provided from HEXAGON AB by their Danish content programme. The service has 4 layers in it providing different data sources. Each with 12 alternaive styling formats besides "Default". If you just throw in the standard WMS URL into QGIS it will show the Default style, but if you want to show the terrain in the very commonly used HillShade-style instead, you will need to choose on of these alternative styles. screendump from the Datasource Manager in QGIS 3.4.14 (sorry for Danish UI)

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