How to add a symbol to multiple layers at once and how to set up that the layers are refreshed once the symbol is changed?

I am aware of this thread Change style properties of several layers simultaneously?. Perhaps it is a duplicate, but the question was in 2012! Now it is 7 years later ... I thought that in the meantime the workflow may be changed, is not it?

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    You can easily copy and paste symbology from one layer to other layers. But I'm not aware of any way to link the layers so that the symbology auto-updates when you change one layer. You'll have to update them by repeating the copy-paste. The only way I could imagine it might be possible is if you write a custom python script or plugin.
    – csk
    Jul 8, 2019 at 14:19
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    I do not have any idea with python. I do want to change the symbol and then all related layers will change, too. I think of the symbol more as a template, it is a lot of work to change multiple layers - even with copy and paste - if they i.e. are sorted in groups.
    – L.W.
    Jul 9, 2019 at 7:01

1 Answer 1


i got the same problem/idea 2 days ago and made a post about and got a response which i hadn't made to work yet (not the time to test) so i link it here hoping this might help someone

The answer by JR

It's possible to use data defined style and variable in combination to achieve that.

Basically you create project variable like "Outline_variable" and give it one of the accepted value :

(Expected input:string [no|solid|dash|dot|dash dot|dash dot dot])

Then you set the data defined symbology to variable>Outline_variable for each of you layer

Now you just have to modify the project variable from 'solid' to 'dot' to change the outline of all your layer (and of course you could set as many variable as you need for controlling symbology parameter like stroke colors, stroke width, fill color, ....)
  • In this post link i got the answer to use this "idea" in one table to control all layers at one place. But - the "big thing" for me is that i have to change / assign everything to every layer. It would be nice to change only the symbol-template and all associated layers are changed at once.
    – L.W.
    Jul 9, 2019 at 22:40

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