Is there a way to edit a shapefile which is locked as a layer in the layer and style within the composer?

For example I had a shapefile consisting of 50 ponds which were added to the composer atlas as the coverage layer. Each map within the composer might contain trees around ponds then another with location of fishing points, all independently locked and set as locked layers and locked styles.

If I then wanted to add another 50 ponds to the shapefile for ponds, keeping the same name, will the composer update when re-opened to show all 100 atlases’ without having to edit all the maps individually?

  • In short : yes. If you are editing "live" in the same project your composer is in, just make sure you refresh your atlas to regenerate the new pages. The shape is not really locked in the "editing lock" way. You can still unlock it and relock it if necessary.
    – gisnside
    Sep 1, 2017 at 14:58

1 Answer 1


Having tested this in QGIS 2.18.10, your shapefile will update to reflect the addition of features to the layer once you click on the refresh button in the Print Composer:

enter image description here

In order to avoid creating additional layers as a result of merging, select the additional features from the second layer and then merge them into the existing original layer (your coverage layer) by toggling on the editing button and using the "Merge Selected Features"tool via the Advanced Digitizing Toolbar.

enter image description here

You can access the Advanced Digitizing Toolbar via the "View" tab and go down to "Toolbars".

Decisions will have to be make though regarding your attributes and how they are before and after the merge.

NB: Make sure BOTH LAYERS are in the same CRS BEFORE using the merge selected features tool

  • Thanks Ian. How did you edit the shapefile to add the features? If I had a file called "Ponds" then used the merge tool to add some additional pond shapes, the output could be called "Ponds", but wouldnt be the original file so from my experinace, despite QGIS retaining all other locked layers, the file called Ponds doesnt show. This means remaking every singlee map within the atlas, therefore defeating the point of the atlas. Sep 1, 2017 at 14:27
  • Hi Mathew, please see my expanded answer above. Hope this helps you.
    – Ian
    Sep 1, 2017 at 14:37

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