I understand that we have to keep the file structure unchanged for our data files (shapefiles, etc.), so our project files can find them. But I had no idea that a similar thing may apply to the locations of our QGIS project files. I recently "reorganized" some of my computer files (not including my data files), and found that upon opening a project, I had to tell it where to find all the data files. Is that correct, or am I missing something?

  • 1
    docs.qgis.org/testing/en/docs/user_manual/introduction/… : "set whether the path to layers in the project should be saved as absolute (full) or as relative to the project file location. You may prefer relative path when both layers and project files can be moved or shared or if the project is accessed from computers on different platforms." Feb 7, 2019 at 22:37
  • You can also fix multiple broken file path at once, as long as they're all in the same file. In the 'handle bad layers' window, select all the broken layers that are in the same file, click 'browse', and select the folder that all the layers are in. All the selected file paths should be fixed at once.
    – csk
    Feb 8, 2019 at 18:24

1 Answer 1


In the Project... Properties... General... dialog you can see that data paths saved ("Save paths") can be relative or absolute:

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if relative, moving the project file may well break the finding of the data layers.

  • Great, thanks! So if I do not plan to move to another computer, and if I want to change my file structure, there is no drawback to changing to "absolute"? And would a person have to open each project file and make this change before moving a folder containing various project files?
    – TVZ
    Feb 8, 2019 at 0:07
  • This is a project setting rather than a global setting, so you have to change it individually for each project.
    – csk
    Feb 8, 2019 at 18:15

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