Could someone explain how to export a 16-bit image from QGIS ?

I have imported data and coloured it as I want, but need to export it as a 16-bit image, as 8-bit is giving a terracing effect. I believe, I need to use this code in OSGeo4W Shell, but I don't know how to use it.

gdal_translate -ot Int16 -srcwin xoff yoff xsize ysize -outsize xsize ysize src_dataset dst_dataset

Here is a screenshot of my map, which has the following extent:

Xmin 510000, Ymin 156000, Xmax 528000, Ymax 174000


  • 2
    Welcome to GIS:SE @Robert! For a simple translation to 16-bit, you could just type gdal_translate -ot Int16 path/to/input.tif pth/to/output.tif in the OSGeo4W shell.
    – Joseph
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 12:10
  • Hi Joseph, thanks for your help. I have tried this but get an error. "ERROR 4: `LIDAR_DTM_2m.qqs' does not exist in the file system, and is not recognized as a supported dataset name." If I link it back to the original data it works but the image is just a black square.
    – Robert
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 13:08
  • Maybe: click on the layer/ choose "Save as"/ check "Rendered" ?
    – Dave X
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 7:59
  • Dave, I have tried this but it only saves as 8-bit image. Also, I have 298 layers (small squares) which make up my map, so need to combine them together. Any other suggestions?
    – Robert
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 12:30
  • 1
    You can use the Raster > Conversion > Translate menu in QGIS 3+ Edit the bottom box by hand and run. Gdal tools are very powerful, it's well worth learning to use them from the command line. This is very easy on linux, but a bit convoluted on Windows as you need to make sure your environment has been set correctly.
    – vinh
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 17:25

1 Answer 1


In QGIS 3+ one can issue the command directly from the interface: Raster -> Conversion -> Translate (Convert Format)

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and select Int16 in Output Data Type:

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The output file is a 16 bit one:

enter image description here

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