In QGIS is it possible that when I create a shapefile and give it a file name e.g. Site, that I can assign symbology to that automatically?

I have a set symbol for Site and many other features but would love it if I could auto assign the symbology based on the file name.

I know this is possible in ArcMap but am trying to find out whether this can be done in QGIS.

What I mean in the context of ArcMap

  • How is this done in ArcMap? I'm trying to figure out what this question means... – DPSSpatial Nov 2 '17 at 18:21
  • Please see the edit above, which describes it in the context of ArcMap. – AWGIS Nov 3 '17 at 8:50
  • @AGW94 - Perhaps not natively as you can assign default symbology to features when any layer is loaded (Project > Project Properties > Default styles) but you could create a python function which whenever a layer was saved using the Save As... option, it would automatically apply the style based on its name. I'm assuming these styles are saved as .qml files (e.g. Site.qml)? – Joseph Nov 3 '17 at 10:40
  • @Joseph, thanks for the comment. Yes that would be exactly what I am looking for. I have many .qml files saved in my style manager, but would love the automatic assignment when I use the Save As... option. – AWGIS Nov 3 '17 at 11:18

The following is a script which reads all .qml style files in a given directory and stores them in a dictionary. We can create a function connected to the layerSavedAs signal. When saving a layer via the Save As... option, the layer added to the map canvas can have a style loaded if both names match. The script can be used in the Python Console:

import glob, os

list_of_style_names = {}
stylePath = 'F:/QGIS Shared/Carterwood Styles'
for style in glob.glob(stylePath + '/*.qml'):
    styleName = os.path.splitext(os.path.basename(style))[0]
    list_of_style_names[styleName] = style

def applyStyle():
    layer = iface.activeLayer()
    if layer.name() in list_of_style_names:


When finished, you could use the following to disconnect the signal and delete the function:

del applyStyle
  • After playing around with this I cannot seem to get it to work, I have defined the style path. Do I need to do anything else? Apologies as my python and coding in general is poor. – AWGIS Nov 3 '17 at 13:12
  • @AGW94 - No need to apologise! How did you define your style path exactly? – Joseph Nov 3 '17 at 13:14
  • stylePath = 'F:\QGIS Shared\Carterwood Styles' – AWGIS Nov 3 '17 at 13:17
  • @AGW94 - Try using stylePath = 'F:/QGIS Shared/Carterwood Styles/' or stylePath = r'F:\QGIS Shared\Carterwood Styles\' :) – Joseph Nov 3 '17 at 13:19
  • Still can't seem to get it working with both of them – AWGIS Nov 3 '17 at 13:24

Joseph's method is amazing. An alternative that is less technical and automatic is to have a set of .qml style files that you cut and paste into the same folder as your shapefiles. If a .qml file has the same name as a shapefile and is in the same folder Qgis will use it to style the shapefile.

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