I want to make a date and time updated field as I edit an attribute field in this format yyyy-mm-dd 00:00:00 (= 2016-05-08 11:04:00) - my local date/time. The data is in a QGIS 2.14 shapefile and Vector lines as screenshot bellow.

When a feature as NULL in the 'name' field, I want to enter a name for the road and the 'mod' field must receive de modified date/time like '2016-05-08 15:16:00'.

I already tried some options and failed. I need help to start from beginning.

  1. I create a new field, date/time type, but stays with NULL value after I edited, in the "name" field, or the feature it self.
  2. I used too, the expression now(), but stays with NULL value after I edited.

Note: the date seen there, 2016-04-14 is the first value created with "Field Calculator".

enter image description here

I am using QGIS 2.14.

  • Please edit your question to specify the data format and the versions of software in use. You should also specify the datatype of the target column (since date fields don't have formats) – Vince May 7 '16 at 13:17
  • Please edit the question to contain the requested information. You should detail what you have tried, and exactly how it failed. This will help allow our volunteers to understand what you are trying to achieve. As it stands, there isn't enough information to more than guess at a solution -- I'm imagining an autopopulate column in DB2 isn't going to meet your needs. – Vince May 7 '16 at 16:41
  • Sounds to me if you would like to store the timestamp of the last edit/update of a feature in an attribute, did I get you right? Something like what ESRI calls 'editor tracking'? – Jochen Schwarze May 7 '16 at 17:21
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    so what kind of data provider are you using (shape, postgis, ...) and by the way: is the 3-digit month a typing error or do you need something like 2016-may-08? perhaps catching the ´beforeCommitChanges´ signal of a ´QgsVectorLayer´ or an ´UPDATE´ trigger in postgesql might be successful. – Jochen Schwarze May 8 '16 at 9:19
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    Shapefile is a miserable data format for timestamps, since dBase only supports day resolution (it doesn't really support NULLs either). You need to use a character column for this information (which would then need to be parsed for any further use) – Vince May 8 '16 at 15:10

You can use the following code which connects the attributeValueChanged event to a function we can define which inserts the results of the $now expression. Highlight your layer and copy/paste the following into the Python Console:

layer = qgis.utils.iface.activeLayer()

def update():
    field = layer.fieldNameIndex('mod')
    e = QgsExpression( " $now " )
    e.prepare( layer.pendingFields() )
    for feat in layer.selectedFeatures():
        feat[field] = e.evaluate( feat )
        layer.updateFeature( feat )


Select the feature by clicking the row number (shown in the red box in the image) or from the map canvas and edit any attribute for that feature. The attribute in your mod field should update:


Note: I used a string field instead of date in order to get the time, otherwise the date field only records YYYY-MM-DD.

| improve this answer | |
  • @CarlosPires - Most welcome! Hope it helps :) – Joseph May 10 '16 at 9:04
  • so I created a new text string(20) field 'mod' (see 1), I pasted your code into the Python console (after ctrl-alt-P), insert the name of the street 'name' (see 2), left the record but the field is still NULL (see 3) as you see in the screen capture. ![ScreenshotTry] (i.stack.imgur.com/lGR2D.png). – Carlos Pires May 10 '16 at 21:35
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    Now it works! As I am not a programmer did not know we had first run the code !! :( Sorry. Note:It works with the select tool. If the attribute field is edited with the info tool (identify feature), it doesn´t work. – Carlos Pires May 11 '16 at 14:32
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    @CarlosPires You can use the AutoFields plugin for this. Watch this video for an example of automatic calculation of date and time. I guess it should also work if you use the identify tool to update your values, could you please check? – Germán Carrillo Aug 19 '16 at 16:44
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    @GermánCarrillo, it seems a good choice. I will try later. Thanks. – Carlos Pires Aug 21 '16 at 12:05

I stumbled upon this Q&A while I was looking for a way to date/time stamp changes I was making to records using a plugin. I placed a slightly modified version of the code into the plugin to automatically update the date/time into the record(s) I changed:

""" Prepare Change Date/Time Stamp"""
e = QgsExpression( " $now " )
cDate = e.evaluate()

"""" Identify column(s) to change and new value(s) to assign"""
attrs = { 10 : newStat, 20 : cDate }

""" Make record change and capture date/time of change'''
layer.dataProvider().changeAttributeValues({ fid : attrs })
| improve this answer | |
  • Technically this seems not to be an answer but I think this "answer" may have some value to a future reader as part of the Q&A and so I am leaving it in place. It needs more formatting than converting it to a comment would allow. I'm happy to be overruled if anyone closer to writing QGIS Plug-ins than I am wants to make a case in comments here and then ping me or another moderator. – PolyGeo Sep 4 '16 at 21:49

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