I'm trying to use the tool "delete ring" in order to create a hole in a polygon. The geometry of the hole is another feature of the same shapefile

I cannot manage to delete the part of the polygone. Does someone have a tutorial or some explanation?

  • I would like to "Add Rings" but using other polygons. Example: dropbox.com/s/ue1k3b646ivqedo/holes.JPG I would like to delete the two selected polygons and create holes under them in the big polygon where they are. Is that possible? Thanks!
    – Egidi
    Sep 25, 2012 at 12:41
  • @Aitor You seem to still be active on GIS SE, whereas Lucien has not been seen here for 18 months. If you or anyone else wants to try and get an Accept-able Answer (the current one seems to overlook the requirement that an existing feature should be used to create the hole rather than digitizing) then I recommend that you edit this Question to bring it back onto the active list.
    – PolyGeo
    Jan 9, 2014 at 1:23
  • Is there a way to add rings based on existing polygon feature classes? Or does one have to draw the new geometry?
    – Dan Wolf
    Jan 30, 2015 at 19:14
  • Just had the same issue that I solved without having to manually trace the "add ring". I took screenshots to add to answer but just realised I don't have the internet points to add this as an answer, hence the comment. QGIS (2.18.8) has a "symmetrical difference" option under the Vector>Geoprocessing Tools that allowed me to cut a hole in one polygon using a second polygon. Sep 4, 2019 at 10:15
  • With existing smaller polygons see: gis.stackexchange.com/questions/282668/…
    – Hans Erren
    Nov 18, 2020 at 19:58

1 Answer 1


You should be using "Add Ring" tool to create a hole in the polygon.

Just Select the "Add Ring" tool and digitize a hole inside the polygon. It will remove that part and create a hole.

enter image description here

  • 2
    for qgis 2.10 to enable the toolbar go : Edit -> Toolbar -> Check Adv. Digitizing.
    – nickves
    Jul 20, 2015 at 12:36
  • 4
    For QGIS 2.18. it is located in the Advanced Digitizing toolbar.
    – dustinturp
    Aug 9, 2017 at 19:10
  • 1
    What about if I already have two polygons (maybe quite complex)? I do not want to add new. I just want to subtract those two existing polygons to create a hole. Any hints?
    – jurajb
    Dec 16, 2017 at 0:46
  • 2
    For QGIS 3 it is also located in Advanced Digitizing Toolbar
    – BERA
    Jun 23, 2018 at 10:03
  • 2
    In QGIS 3.16, first Toggle Editing then Edit → Add Ring
    – eddygeek
    Feb 25, 2021 at 15:12

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