Using QGIS, if I load a polygon layer and make a new column, how do I fill that column with the:

  1. area of each polygon and another column with
  2. length of the perimeter of each polygon?
  • 1
    so, I have changed and saved the shapefile in the projection UTM to get meter squared area but i am still get a low decimal value for the area. For example, a polygon that is 102 km2 is showing up in the attribute table at 0.0102. I have used both methods fTools and the calculator in the attribute table. What am I doing wrong? Thanks
    – user21644
    Sep 2, 2013 at 22:03
  • I was also seeing absurdly low numbers, but I think it was because I had the wrong CRS. I clicked the icon in the bottom right and changed the CRS and the numbers started to look better after that.
    – Brian Z
    Sep 20, 2013 at 5:11
  • similar question: gis.stackexchange.com/q/23355/4630
    – Tomas
    Oct 27, 2014 at 10:54
  • In Qgis 2.19, there is no Geometry tools in Vector menu.. Do I have to download it? Thanks for you answer
    – Thibault
    Jun 21, 2017 at 17:55
  • If you have a question similar to this one, create a new question. This is for answers to the original question. Jun 21, 2017 at 18:06

2 Answers 2


Open field calculator, select the new column and type the following expression

  • For area: $area
  • For perimeter: $perimeter

Make sure your layer is in a projected coordinate system (not lat/long ) and in correct units. ( i.e. if your layer's projection has 'meters' as units, your area will be square meters ) Note that reprojecting layers on-the-fly does not change the units for area/perimeter calculation, so you have to first reproject using Save as ... with the correct target CRS.

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  • Are there other functions that begin with $?
    – HealthMaps
    Jul 24, 2012 at 4:58
  • 3
    Many actually, you'll see them in the field calculator. in QGIS 1.8, it's nicely organized under 'function list' in field calculator Jul 24, 2012 at 5:49

You also can use fTools: Vector menu -> Geometry Tools -> Export/Add geometry columns

It updates your layer automatically by adding AREA and PERIMETER columns.

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