I need to rename a shapefile.

Is it ok to simply use Windows Explorer to manually rename each of the three related files that comprise the shapefile?

I am using QGIS.

  • This related post may be helpful: gis.stackexchange.com/q/126378/8104 – Aaron Feb 26 '17 at 21:01
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    If you're making these changes from the OS, you're not really "using QGIS". If you get interrupted in the middle of your process, you'll make a mess, which is why ArcGIS allows renaming from the UI. Are you sure QGIS doesn't as well? See also gis.stackexchange.com/questions/126378/… – Vince Feb 26 '17 at 21:01
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    It might be quicker to export (save as) from QGIS with the new name then (optionally) delete the old one. Less chance of 'fat fingers' inserting a double space or transposed letters; the consequences of slightly misnaming one of the many files are dire, so I suggest use QGIS to export the files to ensure all components are named the same prior to extension. – Michael Stimson Feb 26 '17 at 22:47
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    Little known tip: select all files associated with a shapefile in Windows Explorer, press F2 (rename shortcut) then rename one of them. they'll all rename to the same, keeping their original extension. – Fezter Feb 27 '17 at 2:01

Yes, it is - if you are sure there are no more files associated with it (e.g. .prj file). The associated files have always the same name (prefix).


It is safest and best practice to rename shapefiles in an automated fashion to avoid errors in any of the associated files. You can use the Windows command line ren function and a wildcard * to easily rename shapefiles and all their associated files. Keep in mind this will rename the original. For example:

ren C:\path\to\your\shapefile* renamed_shapefile*

Alternatively, you can copy your shapefile and all the associated files to a new location using the copy function:

copy C:\path\to\your\shapefile* C:\path\to\another\directory\renamed_shapefile*

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