I have an ArcGIS colormap (*.clr) and I want to open it in QGIS to apply a predefined style.

The *.clr file is really simple, only has four columns representing [value] [red] [green] [blue], as this example:

19 161 161 161
21 152 181 129
22 114 168 144
23 124 142 173

Is there a way to read these columns and convert them in a QGIS style file (*.qml)?

2 Answers 2


Nice answer from @whyzar! You could load .clr files into QGIS and then save it as a .qml file. As described in this post, the standard text format is:

Value R G B Alpha Label

So in your case, you could create a text file with:


And load it from the menu:


You can then edit and save the style as a .qml.

From @Stefan's comment, I've included some quick code which reformats the input text file in a way that QGIS can read it (hopefully!):

main_path = 'path/to/directory/'
with open(main_path + 'infile.txt') as infile, open(main_path + 'outfile.txt', 'w') as outfile:
    for line in infile:
        value = line.split(' ')[0]
        line = line.replace(' ', ',').rstrip('\n') + ',255,' + value + '\n'
  • 3
    Thanks for highlighting out the differences between these two color map files. A little bit of Python code and there could be a new QGIS Plugin.
    – Stefan
    Oct 10, 2017 at 13:37
  • 1
    @Stefan - Most welcome! And I look forward to your plugin ;)
    – Joseph
    Oct 10, 2017 at 13:42
  • @Stefan - Thought I'd have a go and write up some code to hopefully do the above automatically =)
    – Joseph
    Oct 10, 2017 at 14:38
  • 1
    @Joseph perfect, I've been testing it and works. Thanks!
    – aldo_tapia
    Oct 10, 2017 at 15:08
  • 1
    @aldo_tapia - Most welcome! Glad it worked :)
    – Joseph
    Oct 10, 2017 at 15:11

I haven't yet to find a clean cut way to do this. I have come across different resources that can offer option to work with in attempting to achieve what you are interested in.

Converting/using ArcGIS *.style file for/in QGIS (QML or SLD)?

The style file might be for ARCGIS users. It is not in a human readable format.

QGIS uses XML-files to store styling properties, so you have no luck with just renaming the extension.

I am not aware of any ESRI-to-QGIS style converter.

and also an alternative

Another option might be to save the style as a .lyr file. Then use http://wald.intevation.org/projects/arcmap2sld/ to convert the .lyr file to an SLD and then use that SLD within QGIS

In QGIS, right click on the layer > properties > load style then use the drop down box to select SLD

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