In QGIS2 it was possible to use the lineoffset tool between two different layers. You could for examle use a polygon from a different layer to generate an offset line in your linelayer.

In QGIS3 this does not work anymore. Is this a known issue or is there a solution to select features from different layers to get some offset lines from them interactively?

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2 Answers 2


I confirm that in QGIS3.x the "Offset Curve" tool only performs interactive offsets from the current layer. This is probably an intended behavior in order to avoid duplicating feature across layer, and is unlikely to change in upcoming QGIS versions.

A workaround for your situation:

  1. From the "Layer" panel select the original layer (the one that contains the features you want to offset)
  2. With the selection tool, select the polygon(s) you want to offset
  3. Copy (ctrl-c) or cut (ctrl-x) them
  4. From the "Layer" panel select the new layer (i.e. the one you want to place the offsets into)
  5. Switch it to Edit mode (with the pencil icon, or from "Layer"->"Toggle Editing")
  6. Paste the previously copied/cut features (ctrl-v)
  7. Use the "Offset curve" tool

You will end up with the offset polygon(s) in the new layer. Beware that if you "Copy" instead of "Cut" the original feature(s), the original layer will also retain the original features. This might be OK in your case, but in general I would advise against duplication.

  • This would make the workflow much more complicated. The tool worked in QGIS2 that way that you could create a line offset in your target (linestring) layer from a different polygon layer.Where did you get the information from that the change is intended behavior? May 7, 2019 at 11:38
  • I agree that in your case the workflow is going to be more complicated. I wrote "intended behavior" because all tools in the "Advanced Digitizing Toolbar" apply their actions on the current layer. Going one step further, I would love to see a way to apply plugins to a layer without the need to create new layers.
    – RafDouglas
    May 7, 2019 at 12:27

I asked the author of the LineOffsetTool, Marco Hugentobler, and he said that the change in the behavior of the tool is probably due to other changes in QGIS3 which have unintentionally broken the functionality of the LineOffsetTool.

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