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I want to combine categorized symbol data for the sake of symbology. For example: Let's say I classified a data column of a shapefile and it gave me 20 different values. Ten commercial building types and ten residential building types. In Arcgis I could very easily combine that to two symbols, one for residential and one for commercial.

Running QGIS 2.18, MacOS Sierra 10.12.2

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You may combine your categorized values from the layer properties.

Firstly, right click on the name of your layer in the Layers Panel and then go to Properties.

If your categories are stored in a field, go to Style and follow the sequence in the image below:

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You can change symbols, colors and other rendering options from the same dialog.

If you want to set specific rules to your rendering, choose the Rule-based option instead of Categorized from the Style dialog.

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The way to go is to use Rule-based symbology (as stated at the end of previous answer)

You may have to adjust the setting to fit your needs, the expression in the picture assume that you use numerical value for classification and you will need to create another rule for residential building.

enter image description here

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