enter image description hereI'm using QGIS Desktop 3.8, and unable to import a shapefile. I get the following error:

"The layer already exists. Are you sure you want to overwrite the existing file?"

I'm super frustrated, as I have tried installing different versions to fix the issue and I get the same message. I just used QGIS yesterday on my work laptop and it was fine, but this issue occurred on my personal laptop as I worked from home today.

When I answer "Yes" to overwrite file, the shp shows as listed in the layers panel but is not visible in the map view. When I try to "Zoom to Layer" there is still nothing.


  • a couple of screenshots would help. can you right click on the layer and select 'zoom to layer'? what do you see? – vagvaf Jul 17 at 20:53
  • @vagvaf this is the error message. Yes, I tried zooming to layer, nothing. There is nothing in the attribute table, either, even though I've downloaded the shp fresh from 2 different sites to make sure it wasnt the shapefile that was corrupted. – Ashley Lynn Tarver Jul 17 at 21:28
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    The message is about a new layer, i.e one that is being created from scratch, so it is understandable that its content is initially empty. Maybe you want to add the existing layer. Note that if you have overwritten it, it is now lost and you would need to re-download it. – JGH Jul 18 at 0:54
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    a simple drag and drop is the easiest way to add a shapefile – Ian Turton Jul 18 at 7:21
  • Are you trying to create new shape file or adding a shape file? Regards Ashok – Ashok Vanam ESRIAu Jul 18 at 9:07

I had the same issue and still don't know what happened exatcly, but for me it worked when I added the layers from the Navigator menu on the left side. Just right-clicked the shapefile, selected "Add layer to the projetct"* and it worked.

*Free translation from the pt-br version of QGis, don't know how it is displayed in the english version.

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