I would like to upload some symbols into QGIS using version 2.14 (Essen). I would like to upload a PNG but it seems the only format available is XML.

Do you know if its possible to upload PNG's directy into QGIS? If not how to convert a PNG to XML without coding?

I tried on a website but QGIS can't read the data.

1 Answer 1


Your best bet is to use InkScape and convert your graphics to SVG. Polygons can be filled with rasters, but points and markers need SVG. If your symbol is available in a font, you can also use Font markers.

It's fairly straightforward:-

  • Load bitmap (png, jpg etc) into Inkscape with File > Open
  • File > Save as (use Plain SVG rather than default Inkscape SVG)
  • You can now bring your SVG in as a symbol.

If it doesn't show up in QGIS, you may need to add your directory to the list QGIS uses to find SVG symbols. You can find this under Settings > Options > System > SVG Paths

Sometimes your symbol might show a background colour, when you want transparency. If that happens you can use GIMP on your original bitmap.

To "knock out" the background in the GIMP

  • create a copy of original with File > Export As
  • on the copy use Gimp's Color > Color to Alpha
  • save the new copy with File > Export As
  • repeat steps in inkscape
  • 3
    Note: Adding support for image markers that are non SVG is on the todo list just not done yet.
    – Nathan W
    Commented Apr 18, 2016 at 23:32
  • 2
    @Steven Kay thanks for response. I did all these steps but in QGIS I can't find the symbol I saved as a SVG. I tried importing it directly also into QGIS but it says only xml's can be imported into QGIS so it does not find the file....
    – philippe
    Commented Apr 19, 2016 at 7:12

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