I have seen some posts on this, but only for ArcMap. I am looking to take a range of values from two fields and concatenate them into one field to make a unique value. For example:

332500   5366000    33255366
333000   5366000    33305366

In ArcMap you can do something like (Mid([XMAX]),1,4)+(Mid([YMAX]),1,4).

I know this can be done in a PostGIS database, but for the moment it needs to be done on a shapefile and I am looking to use QGIS.


  • Are "XMAX" and "YMAX" actually string fields or are they really numeric?
    – whuber
    Jun 22, 2012 at 15:47
  • 1
    They are numbers. But I converted the number values to string in new columns and the calculation Jef supplied still didn't work. Jun 22, 2012 at 15:50
  • 3
    Why not just combine them numerically then? The simplest example assumes all values of "XMAX" are six-digit multiples of 100 and all values of "YMAX" are seven-digit multiples of 1000: "XMAX"*100+"YMAX"/1000 does the trick. More generally you may need to do some rounding of the values before carrying out this calculation.
    – whuber
    Jun 22, 2012 at 15:54

1 Answer 1


In QGIS it's almost the same: substr("XMAX",1,4)||substr("YMAX",1,4) in the field calculator.

  • Thank you Jef. I have tried this, but it does not return anything. The field remains NULL. Jun 22, 2012 at 15:21
  • Hm, works for me in 1.8. If you are using an earlier version try: substr(tostring("XMAX"),1,4)||substr(tostring("YMAX"),1,4)
    – jef
    Jun 22, 2012 at 15:51
  • I was am using 1.7.4. Is your output new field a String? My input fields are Whole Numbers. Jun 22, 2012 at 17:04
  • no, xmax, ymax and gridid are whole numbers - but the conversions should happen transparently. But I think the expression engine was completely redone in 1.8, so ymmv with 1.7. toint(...) should still help there.
    – jef
    Jun 22, 2012 at 17:35
  • Yeah the 1.8 and 1.7 expression engines are different
    – Nathan W
    Jun 23, 2012 at 5:07

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