I am looking to update the Attribute table for a Layer in QGIS using a join.

However I am not looking to ADD attributes to the table (thereby adding extra columns) rather I would like to "Update" the values within the pre-existing columns.

I have read similar articles to this ---> https://infogeoblog.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/joining-layers-in-qgis/

But unfortunately it only adds columns.

Ultimately I am trying to create a CRM system from Excel, whereby I would create tasks / notes / follow ups -----> that would update the values in QGIS. Happy for any other recommendations that would achieve this or CRM QGIS plugins.

  • 1
    I am a little confused on what you are asking. A join will join the attributes from one column to another. How are you wanting to update the attributes using a join without joining the tables? Please edit your question to give us a little more information.
    – MaryBeth
    Mar 22, 2016 at 12:42
  • Thanks MaryBeth for your response. You are correct, perhaps "join" is the improper term.
    – Elliott
    Mar 23, 2016 at 7:24
  • What I am trying to achieve is a mass update of attributes - using a common Object ID in both excel and QGIS. So the correct attributes are in excel. Hoping for the QGIS attribute values to be replaced by the excel values, as opposed to joining columns. If there is a way to do this without using the Join tool that would be great.
    – Elliott
    Mar 23, 2016 at 7:28
  • @Elliott - Would it perhaps not be easier to have the excel file keep most of the attributes and just have the shapefile layer only contain the Object ID attribute? That way, the shapefile gets all updated attributes from the excel file. The only caveat here is that when you update the excel file, you will need to either re-join the layer (you can use a script to do this automatically) or re-load the project (if you created one).
    – Joseph
    Mar 23, 2016 at 9:57
  • @Joseph thanks again for all your help. I definitely see where you're coming from - however due to the file size I have had trouble opening all the attributes in excel. I can only export segments at a time.
    – Elliott
    Mar 23, 2016 at 10:24

1 Answer 1


I think the only way to update a layer's attribute values from Excel is if you imported a csv file into QGIS and enabled the Watch file option:

Add Delimited Text Layer

Now when you edit your file from Excel, the Attribute Table in QGIS will also update (if the table is open, you will need to close and re-open it again).

If you join a layer to the imported csv and updated the results via Excel, the imported csv will again be updated but the joined layer will not be updated. The only way to update the joined layer would be to rejoin it again.

I have asked this as a feature request over a year ago and has been classed as Future Release - High Priority.

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