QGIS 2.x never had an option to export as a layered pdf. Instead there was a cumbersome workaround, involving exporting as an svg, importing into Scribus, and manually adding individual features to separate layers. All that is covered under this question: Can QGIS preserve layers when exporting to PDF?

Is there a more efficient way to create a layered pdf in QGIS 3.0?

  • 2
    No, no change here
    – ndawson
    Mar 5, 2018 at 21:44
  • 1
    Well that's disappointing. Thanks for the quick response.
    – csk
    Mar 5, 2018 at 21:51
  • I´m trying different ways to have a vectorial .pdf and I can´t neither. I tried through .svg but the order of the layers change. I tried also downloading adobeAcrobat pdf and make this pdf printer the main but neither. I can do it in Arcmap but I have other problems for the cartography. I need a good pdf layer to work in Adobe Illustrator.
    – M Alegria
    Nov 30, 2018 at 19:06

2 Answers 2


This exact feature has not be implemented yet for the composer. However, you can export layered pdf from the canvas. You might want to follow the feature request as you will find some tips on the subject : https://issues.qgis.org/issues/9362

See for example :

As GDAL 1.10 supports GeoPDF (See http://www.gdal.org/frmt_pdf.html), one can export a PDF with layers (a raster layer and a polyline vector layer) from Processing inserting a OGR_DATASOURCE parameter in the "Additional creation parameters" box to add the vector layer. However, it only exports vectors without style.

...You can also be a sponsor to have this feature developed ! ;)

  • Producing a layered pdf is exactly what I'm trying to do. I looked at the gdal page you linked to, but I don't understand how to use that information to produce a layered pdf. Can you please elaborate?
    – csk
    Mar 7, 2018 at 18:10

Layered GeoPDF export was introduced as a new feature in QGIS version 3.10. Note that 3.10 is a later version than the current long-term release version (3.4) so if you use the LTR only you will have to wait for the next LTR. The new feature is introduced and described on North Road's website. Here's a screenshot from the same source:

enter image description here

It's a new feature so it might be a bit buggy at the moment. Please report any bugs you find to the QGIS issue tracker on github.

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