I make a new column in my attribute table and it has a default value (for example 0). I want to (probably using the Field Calculator) have the result that row 1 has the value 1, row 2=2 and so on, just like a numbered index.

How do I do this in the Field Calculator (including the use of $rownum which I think I need for switching to the line)?

4 Answers 4


Just put $rownum (QGIS 2) or @row_number (QGIS 3) as the expression.

An up-to-date list of all the Field Calculator functions can be read in the official docs.

  • In QGIS 3.28.9, adding a new field via the Field Calculator adds the column but the numbering looks pretty random. I was hoping to sort an existing "suburb" column alphabetically and then add this field so that suburbs close to A are numbered lower than suburbs close to Z. Is there a way to do this?
    – MSC
    Commented Dec 14, 2023 at 0:07

@ArMoraer has developped an interesting plugin to be able to control the way this automatic numbering is made, it's named "Sort and Number". You can use it to fill a column with unique numbers by taking into account 3 other fields to sort your data like you want before numbering.

See the source topic : Is there a way to assign row number for sorted table by column in QGIS?


If you are using QGIS 3 you must used @row_number

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For me the best and easiest way is just $id, this will return a id number to each row indexing it from 0.

  • 3
    It returns each feature ID, but the sequence does not necessarily starts at 0 and may have missing values. It is the case after having deleted an existing feature (i.e. start with a layer having 3 features, delete #2, call to $id will return 0 and 2.)
    – JGH
    Commented Aug 22, 2019 at 1:55
  • You are right, if there are missing values, then there will be a problem with the real indexing number. However, I guess that call the $id, after deleting rows should corroborate @row_number. If I correctly understood your affirmation.
    – Vlad
    Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 18:52
  • nope, it will leave holes
    – JGH
    Commented Aug 24, 2019 at 0:58

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