Sorry if this question is too simple/easy for you guys, but I'm still learning QGIS and pretty much teaching myself where I can.

Is there a way to add data from 2 columns into one new column inside QGIS ?

I have cattle population for each province in a certain country, and buffalo populations for each province in another column (I entered all these manually) - what I'm looking to do is to make a new column (within the same shapefile/database) that combines both cattle and buffalo populations in each province.

I've tried using the field calculator, get error messages all the time - not sure if I have my functions wrong. With the field calculator, I've been trying to enter a simple function of

Catt Pop + Buff Pop

with a new output field as Real number data, but I get error messages such as:

Invalid expression syntax. The error message of the parser is: 'syntax error, unexpected COLUMN_REF, expecting $end'

Secondly - if I can't do this in QGIS, is the only way to open the relevant dbf file in open office and then edit it and then save and load again? From the manual that I read to learn GIS, this can be done but is not recommended (by the guys who wrote the manual) - does anyone have any links to any foolproof guides on how to do this anyway since I've never done it?

  • how to use te calculator char CASE? thank you
    – user80796
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 21:07
  • This is not an answer to the question, please ask a new question.
    – Mapperz
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 21:30

1 Answer 1


The syntax problem is most likely caused be the spaces in column names. If you double-click the column names in field calculator, they will most certainly be added with quotation marks, e.g.

"Catt Pop" + "Buff Pop"

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