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I want to duplicate a layer and then delete some polygons from the duplicate only, without deleting them from the original layer. Is this possible?

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No, because duplicate layers share the same data source. I recommend to 'save layer as...' with option 'add saved layer to project' checked. This copy you may edit without changing the source layer.

  • @DS7 most welcome, in this case consider accepting the answer! – Jochen Schwarze Sep 9 '18 at 15:38

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