I have QGIS 3.4.4 Madeira. I would like the selected geometry to be seen in the map composer, but I can't find the way to do it. Also, I would like to change the appearance of the selected geometry, with a outline border and no fill inside. I know how to change the fill color of selected items and how to set transparency, but this is not what I need. In ArcMap is quite easy to do, but I can't find the way in QGIS.

EDIT: This image is what I want to do in QGIS, but have been done in ArcMap. The selected plot have a symbology in red lines with transparent bottom (ArcMap allows to set a different symbology to selected geometry in each layer). The green color indicates the urban classification of this area. The rest of the plots don't appear because they have no symbology. I want to have this on the map composer with the selected plot or plots, print the map to PDF, select another plot, print the map to PDF, an so on. The plot to select don't attend to any rules, just to people asking information about them.

enter image description here

  • Welcome to GIS.SE. Some information on what you already tried, how you set up your composer-layout and what exactly you mean by "change the appearance" if not changing the layers symbology. If you want to change how selected features look like, take a look at the general tab in the project properties.
    – Erik
    May 8, 2019 at 7:49
  • Hi, thanks for answering. I know how to change the appearance of selected geometry in the general project properties, but its not possible there to set this symbology to just an outline with no fill. Anyway, the main problem for me is that selected features are not visible in the map composer.
    – J Cm
    May 8, 2019 at 8:03
  • Please use the edit button beneath your question to revise it with any requested clarifications.
    – PolyGeo
    May 8, 2019 at 9:24
  • I did, but my edition took more than 5 minutes. Sorry.
    – J Cm
    May 8, 2019 at 9:26
  • I think the atlas functionality may give you what you need (display and style specific feature)
    – J.R
    Oct 10, 2019 at 11:29

2 Answers 2


For styling, you could try setting up a symbol under rule based symbology and do one of the following:

  1. Setup a rule with is_selected() IS TRUE / is_selected() IS FALSE, or

  2. Setup a virtual field (e.g. called Selected) with the expression is_selected(). Then set the symbol rule to "Selected" = 1 (if virtual field is an integer field), or "Selected" IS TRUE (if text field).

    Note you will need to create the virtual field in step 2 anyway if you want to use selected features to drive your atlas (see end of this answer).

See below for illustration of rule-based symbology and canvas view...

enter image description here

...and how it looks like exported from map layout: enter image description here

If you would like to use your selected features to automatically define the map layout extent using the atlas functionality, please see this reply.

You must "refresh" the atlas each time by cycling between steps 3 and 4 in that reply for the map extent to automatically move to the correct feature.


When you ask to see the selected geometry in the print composer, do you mean to see it highlighted in yellow or to only highlight it?

The best way to deal with subsets of a layer is to create a new field, and give them attributes like 1, 2, 3 for example. So you could select the features you want and give them an attribute of 1, and then give everything else 0. Just an example.

Then you can go to layer properties --> symbology --> categorized and categorize it based on this new field attribute. Then you can change the properties of the different classes however you want to show them in different colours, strokes, fills, or even put 100% transparency and then only see the 'selection'.

enter image description here

  • Hi. Maybe is better if I try to explain what I need. I have to select a cadastral plot by a reference they have and print a kind of inform with this plot located over the municipal urbanistic plan.
    – J Cm
    May 8, 2019 at 8:58
  • These reports don't have to be saved from one sesion to another, just to print the report of each plot or groups of plots. The urbanistc plan have colors for each kind of use or regulation, so is better for the reports if the selected plot show up with only a bold red edge line, for example. This is what I need to do, as much automatically as possible.
    – J Cm
    May 8, 2019 at 9:13
  • I don't really follow -- if you have some pictures of what you have that would be helpful. It would be good to show what you want the output to look like and what you are starting with. May 8, 2019 at 9:32
  • I tried to explain myself in the edition of the question. Thanks!
    – J Cm
    May 8, 2019 at 10:18
  • There is no automatic way to do this, nor can you do it just by selecting a new plot. If your plots are number 1,2,3... you will have to go into the symbology panel as I explained earlier and change the appearance for each attribute value. So the plot you want to show would have red hatching, the rest would have 100% transparency. I put a picture in my original answer to show the symbol editor pallette, at the bottom you can choose the hatch and make edits as you wish. May 8, 2019 at 11:51

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