I wanted to add a new field to an attribute table for a county map I downloaded. When I added it, I needed to change the location of the field to move it over next to the county name so I could keep track of it.

I downloaded table manager, but it came with a warning to use the refactor fields algorithm instead.

I used that, it worked. I saved the new table, added the new information. Everything was displaying correctly, I saved it, closed the program, and when I opened it back up, the refactored layer still appears, but there is no attribute table for it. It even saved all of the old categories I had specified.

Did I do something wrong?

  • Seems to work fine for me (QGIS 2.18.2 for Win7 64-bit). Which QGIS version and platform are you using? Did you save the refactored layer as a new shapefile?
    – Joseph
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 15:47
  • Windows 10 and QGIS 2.18. I thought I saved it as a new shape file. Is that a separate step rather than just saving the map?
    – Grant
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 22:33
  • Sorry, I meant QGIS 2.18.4
    – Grant
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 23:41
  • YES, saving a layer as a new shapefile is a separate step from saving the map. If that's not completely clear to you, review some of the introduction to GIS tutorials available on the internet until it makes sense. Otherwise there will be a lot of lost data and frustration ahead for you.
    – csk
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 17:14

1 Answer 1


If you don't specify a path for the refactored layer, it will be saved as a temporary layer. This is a layer saved in memory which will exist until QGIS is closed. If you save your project with a temporary layer and restart QGIS, you may still see the temporary layer (with the fields) but it will not contain any geometry.

Therefore, if you want to refactor a shapefile:

  1. Make your changes in the Refactor Fields algorithm interface.
  2. Click the ellipses button.
  3. Save to file.

    Save refactored layer

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