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I have created a hotlink in QGIS 3.0, whereby the hotlink is designed to open another piece of GIS information. The link works as I want, expect it opens a new instance of QGIS. How do i get the hotlink item to load into the existing instance of QGIS that is already running?

I have used the following options Type = Open url Action [% "path"%]

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You can use actiontype Python and use a script to perfom something like loading a new layer. The script for loading a new layer based on a field "path"- which contains for example the path and file name of a shapefile (c:/pathtoshapefile/myshapefile.shp) - would be something like this:

from qgis.utils import iface
layer = iface.addVectorLayer(r'[% "path" %]', 'new theme name', 'ogr')

see https://docs.qgis.org/testing/en/docs/pyqgis_developer_cookbook/loadlayer.html for more information

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