When you load in QGIS a shapefile without a PRJ file, you can set the coordinate system, but no PRJ file is created.

This older question: How to obtain .prj files in QGIS?

has an answer saying menu "Vector - Data Management Tools - Define Current Projection" does it, but it is not present in recent versions. Any suggestion of how to do it?

Of course, I can do it manually, copying the PRJ file of some other shape, but probably there is a way of doing it from within QGIS menus.


You have first to set the CRS of your layer by right clicking your layer > "Properties..."
Then under "Set source coordinate reference system" select the CRS of your choice and hit [OK].

set layer CRS

Finally, you have to export your vector data to an ESRI Shapefile (it can be a new one) by right clicking your layer > "Export" > "Save Features As..."

export layer

Then your layer *.prj file will be there, nearby your freshly exported data on the disk!

  • I have done this and the .prj still is not being created. Anything else I might be missing? Jan 17 at 21:10

There is a tool named Define Shapefile Projection for that purpose in the processing toolbox. The toolbox has a pretty useful search option that finds also this tool with search term "prj".

enter image description here

  • Thanks. That must be the tool that was before under menu "Vector". Jose' Mar 23 '20 at 23:51

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