So I received a bundle of files under the same name with the file formats of dat.;map.;id.;and tab. After searching on the web, i am assumming that this type of file is most probable to be produced in MapInfo. However, I only have a QGIS and was only able to open tab. format. I was wondering if the information in the tab. file will the be same that was produced from MapInfo? or is it a file produced from a complete different GIS system.

  • It will be the same data. I think QGIS will split up the geometry if there are mixed geometry types in the tab (point, line, polygon).
    – jbalk
    Commented Mar 6, 2020 at 23:21

2 Answers 2


The TAB format can be made up of a number of separate files:

  • TAB: The header file that you typically will select to open the dataset
  • DAT: The typical data file with the alphanumerical data, the attributes
  • MAP: The spatial objects are stored in the MAP file which also holds information about the coordinate system and the styling.
  • ID: The link between the attributes and the spatial objects
  • IND: Indices created for faster access to values in one or multiple columns

Mapinfo Tab files can contain multiple feature types like points, lines and (I think) polygons in one file.
As @jbalk says, QGIS will ask which of these you want to load. If you want all the types, you will have to load multiple instances of the files and choose each time a different feature type. Tab files can also store limited symbology information. Global Mapper, for example, can access and use this information and you can then save it out as a style file. See for example, discussion here: Exporting style file from Global Mapper So far as I know, QGIS cannot access this style information in Tab files.

  • Since QGIS 3.20 version QGIS can display embedded feature symbology of .tab files. The only .tab feature type, which can't be displayed in QGIS is the text features. But it is possible to retain .tab text annotations in QGIS. If the GIS user have access to MapInfo Universal Translator he must export his .tab text annotation layers to the DWG (2007 in my testing) format and then in QGIS import that DWG into a GeoPackage. In the finish he will get those text features retaining symbology including the colour, orientation and size of font.
    – KVO
    Commented Aug 6, 2021 at 14:15

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