I would like to add dimensions to my QGIS map. It can be in the editing/drawing space or the print composer. I would like to see how long a line is, for example 3,5 m.

I tried a lot of different things, but I can't figure out how to add dimensions to my map.

Is there a way to add dimensions to a QGIS map?

  • 5
    The magic word you're searching for is "scale".
    – Erik
    Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 13:57

2 Answers 2


Your use of the term "dimensions" makes me think you're used to engineering design programs like AutoCAD, where you can add measurements like this:

enter image description here

QGIS doesn't have quite the same feature. It also doesn't use the term "dimensions." So if you tried to search for how to do this, you probably had very little success. Here are some ways you can add dimensional information to your map (relevant search terms are in bold):

  1. You can add a scalebar enter image description here to the map canvas or print composer/layout.

    • to add a scalebar to the map canvas: View menu > Decorations > Scale bar
    • to add a scalebar to the print composer: Add Item menu > Add Scale Bar

    Some terminology:

    • The map canvas is what you're calling the "editing/drawing space"
    • "Print composer" vs. "print layout" - This is where you design a map for printing or export. It was called the print composer in QGIS 2, and in QGIS 3 it's called the print layout. The terms are frequently used interchangeably, out of habit and because they're basically the same feature. I have no idea why the name was changed.
  2. You can also label line features with their length using the $length expression as a label. In the example below, notice that the line is labeled with its entire length; each segment is not labeled separately:

    enter image description here

    You need a separate line feature for every dimension you want to display.

    • To show measurements of the edges of a polygon, use the Polygons to lines tool to convert each polygon into a line. Use the Explode lines tool to split the lines into separate segments.

Also see the several excellent answers to this question: QGIS How to label individual sides of polygon. The answer by she_weeds has a good walkthrough for using a geometry generator style to display dimension labels in a CAD-like style.

  • Thank you for taking time to answer! Indeed, I was used to AutoCAD, but I prefer using Qgis, because you can use all the layers and online data. I tried all the things you mentioned. I always add a scalebar, but for this project, that wasn't accurate enough. I tried to label the lines with $length, but I can't 'reload'. I get an error if I try to reload the formula. I hoped that maybe there was another way to add 'dimensions' to Qgis. Maybe in the future? But thank you for answering!
    – Didi
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 7:48
  • What do you you mean by 'reload'? Since QGIS and AutoCAD use different terminology, you really need to explain what you want. Simply using the AutoCAD term and hoping people know what you mean isn't effective.
    – csk
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 14:33
  • I'm sorry, it's very difficult to use the right terminology, because I use Qgis in another language then English. I try to translate it correctly. I mean the button right beside the formula space in the attribute table, just above the table. 'Update everything'/'reload'. When I klic on that button, I get an error: "... No root node! Phraser failed?"
    – Didi
    Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 12:54

Consider using QAD plugin. It has a complete set of commands to manage dimensions as autocad does

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