what im doing is making a fixed distance buffer and it's working splendidly but i need the buffer to be created over certain selected areas not the entire layer, and at the creation wizard is only offers the the option of selecting the entire layer, and i need some areas within that layer to have a different buffer and some none at all.

is there a way around that?

  • can you filter the respective features via layer context menu and then apply the distance buffer?or, isn't there a buffer by attribute tool?
    – geozelot
    Commented Apr 15, 2017 at 7:08
  • yeah you can easily use a buffer with radius based on an attribute field. so, one option is to add a field with the desired buffer radius to the features and use this as radius input
    – geozelot
    Commented Apr 15, 2017 at 7:14
  • actually, your task is exactly what 'fixed distance buffer' is not for... ,)
    – geozelot
    Commented Apr 15, 2017 at 7:20

2 Answers 2


It depends which version of QGIS and which function for buffering do you use.

For QGIS to version 2.16 you can use buffer from Vector -> Geoprocessing tools -> Buffer (built-in core plugin - fTools). In this functions window is option:Selected Features Only. Or you can use geoprocessing toolbox, described below.

From QGIS version 2.16, fTools are replaced by standard QGIS geoprocessing framework. For runnig algorithms for selected features, you have to check Use only selected features in processing toolbox options (Processing -> Options... tab - General).

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First, you will want to 'Select Features by Area', you can select whichever features you would like to buffer using this which is located on your toolbar. This is good if you are just selecting a few features to buffer, but if you are dealing with a large dataset and you are trying to select hundreds of separate features to buffer then open up the attribute table and 'Select Features Using an Expression'. With this you will want to set up a query or expression to select features by.

Lastly, use the 'Create Buffers' tool. This tool gives you the ability to buffer by whatever distance you would like. The 'Create Buffers' tool is very useful ain QGIS, and being able to use this tool properly will help you out in your spatial analysis. I have used other buffering tools in QGIS, but 'Create Buffers' located under MMQGIS works the best.

The first photo is a screenshot of the settings you can adjust for this buffer tool. This is where you will want to specify 'Selected Features Only'. Sorry, this screenshot I took wasn't the settings that I used for the screenshot of the buffers. I made sure to check the 'Selected Features Only' box.

The second photo is a screenshot of a quick buffer that I did to show you the two points that were selected to buffer.

These are the settings you can adjust for your buffer. This is where you will want to specify 'Selected Features Only'.

The other photo is of a quick buffer I did to show you the two selected points that I buffered.

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