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On my Ubuntu computer, I have GIS file types like .shp associated with QGIS in Nautilus. When I double click on a .shp while I have a QGIS project open, it opens a new project in a new instance of QGIS, even if I have a project open.

On my Mac, if I have QGIS running and I double-click a .shp in Finder, the file will be added to the existing project.

Other files associated with other programs will open in a running instance rather than a new instance: text files will open in a new tab in my text editor, for example.

I'd like QGIS to add the shapefile in my opened project instead of launching a new instance. How can I do that ?

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  • I think this question is on-topic for GIS Stack Exchange because it pertains specifically to a GIS software package, and the difference between that package on one OS vs another. Asking this question on a site like AskUbuntu would not be likely to find many other users familiar with the package. Furthermore, the question directly relates to common GIS workflow.
    – dericke
    Sep 13, 2017 at 15:58
  • I edited your question differently to help you reopening your question : I supposed the real question is not why it doesn open in the current project but how to achieve what you really want to do.
    – gisnside
    Sep 13, 2017 at 16:53
  • Could you check the file association ? askubuntu.com/questions/369967/… - just in case.
    – gisnside
    Sep 13, 2017 at 17:53

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I don't think you can. I see the same behaviour with dolphin (different desktop) on different distro. Looking at qgis --help, nothing sticks out as useful and this is what the underlying system would use.

But there is a simple workaround. Drag'n'drop the file from your file manager into qgis and it will open as a new layer in the existing, open project.

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