I have an excel sheet with UTM coordinates (Easting and Northing) for four points. I want to create a shapefile (rectangle) in QGIS, but am very new to the program and following all the guides I can't seem to get it to work.

I have converted the excel spreadsheet to a Tab Delimited Text file, and gone on to QGIS and gone on to "Add a delimited text layer". I have imported the .txt file, changed the file format to 'custom delimiters', where it is checked on 'tab'. But the issue comes when I try to set the x and y coordinates. I can see in the sample data box at the bottom that it has not imported my .txt file as a table at all (which is how it is appearing on all the tutorials). So as there no longer two columns with my x and y data, it will not let me set the correct titles to allocate the x and y data. I can see that certain tabs have also merged when converted to a .txt i.e. it is combining one of my coordinates with the tab title to the left of it.

I was then going to use the delimited text layer created, and then convert it to a shapefile from there. Would this be correct?

Sorry if this is a very simple question or is not very clear, I am very new to QGIS and mapping.

  • What method did you use to convert the Excel sheet to tab delimited (save as...?). What happens if you try to use .csv (comma delimited) instead?
    – SMiller
    Oct 23, 2018 at 15:18
  • Yes I used save as, then saved it as .txt . I have just tried it with .csv and it has worked! And the sample data is now showing up as a table again in qGIS. Thank you so much, I will use this method from now on. Thanks again!
    – mapnew109
    Oct 23, 2018 at 15:25

2 Answers 2


You could check out this tutorial which provide you with an approach in Importing Spreadsheets or CSV files¶


Examine your tabular data source. To import this data to QGIS, you will have to save it as a text file and need at least 2 columns which contain the X and Y coordinates. If you have a spreadsheet, use Save As function in your program to save it as a Tab Delimited File or a Comma Separated Values (CSV) file.

Open QGIS. Click on Layers ‣ Add Delimited Text Layer.

enter image description here

In the Create a Layer from a Delimited Text File dialog, click on Browse and specify the path to the text file you downloaded. In the File format section, select Custom delimiters and check Tab. The Geometry definition secction will be auto-populated if it finds a suitable X and Y coordinate fields. In our case they are LONGITUDE and LATITUDE. You may change it if the import selects the wrong fields. Click OK.

enter image description here

You may see some errors displayed in the next dialog. The erros in this file are mainly due to missing X or Y fields. You may examine these errors and fix the problems in your source file. You may ignore these errors as a beginner in your case.

enter image description here

Coordinate Reference System Selector will ask you to select a coordinate reference system. Since the earthquake coordinates are in latitudes and longitudes, you should select WGS 84. Click OK.

enter image description here

You will now see that the data will be imported and displayed in the QGIS canvas.

  • Thanks for showing the documentation, that is what I had been trying when it had not worked, but using it as .csv (as @smiller said) has worked for me now. Thanks for taking the time to send this over.
    – mapnew109
    Oct 23, 2018 at 15:34

Per the documentation @whyzar included in their answer, either .txt or .csv should work, but if the .txt file is not reading properly in QGIS, try saving your Excel file to .csv (comma separated values) instead.

  • This is what worked for me in the end, I had been trying to follow that documentation originally and but as .txt it wasn't working for some reason (that I am still not sure). Thanks for the help!
    – mapnew109
    Oct 23, 2018 at 15:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.