I have a polyline shapefile with 166 different line features. How would one populate the attribute table with x and y values of the start and end points of each line?

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2 Answers 2


You have your four columns: X-start; Y-start; X-end; Y-end. Using the field calculator for each column update using:


This asks for the coordinate at the start of the line (the zero) and the end of the line (the negative one). This will provide you with a decimal latitude and longitude, so ensure the columns are floats.

EDIT: Thanks to the_darkside's comments please note this won't work on multi lines, due to the multiple beginnings and ends.

  • When I input these expressions, I get the error: expression is invalid. Any possible reason? Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 11:04
  • And when I use the expression xat(0) I get the following error: An error occurred while evaluating the calculation string: Index is out of range Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 11:07
  • index being out of range sounds like you don't have anything for the expression to work on. I've not had this problem before. A couple of things you could check: your using the expression on a line? the columns being updated are the right data type? projection(??) is in metres? Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 11:15
  • Oh I understand why, it's because its a multipart feature so there are multiple start and end points Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 11:16

In the attribute view create your new columns as decimal (floats).

Then enable editing, and use expressions to update the columns.

To get the latitude (x-coordinate) of the start of a line feature, use the expression x_at(0). To get the end of a line feature use x_at(-1). Repeat for your longitudes (y-coordinates). You select the column, type in the expression, and hit "Update All".

This assumes your data is in lat-long (ESPG:4326 most likely). If not, transform to that and save, or transform within the expression. Here my data is in EPSG:27700 and I want lat-long (EPSG:4326):

 transform( $geometry, 'EPSG:27700', 'EPSG:4326' ) 

Replace x with y and start_point with end_point for your four columns.

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