I have a QgsCategorizedSymbolRenderer and I'm trying to configure it so that symbol_a:

  1. appears at the top of the layers window legend, but also
  2. appears on top of all other QgsRendererCategory symbols (i.e. it should be rendered last).

In QGIS, I can do this by going to Symbology > Advanced > Symbol Levels, checking Enable symbol levels and configuring the Layer 0 for Label A to 1, leaving the others at 0.

Using PyQGIS, I can enable symbol levels, but can't find a way to change the specific symbol levels (i.e. the order they are rendered). Re-ordering the categories achieves this, but I'd prefer Label A to appear first in the layers window. Is this possible?

My existing code looks something like this:

categories = [
    QgsRendererCategory('value_a', symbol_a, 'Label A'),
    QgsRendererCategory('value_b', symbol_b, 'Label B'),
    QgsRendererCategory('value_c', symbol_c, 'Label C'),

renderer = QgsCategorizedSymbolRenderer('field_name', categories)

1 Answer 1


This post give a good answer with a clause applied on the renderer :

myRenderer.setOrderBy(QgsFeatureRequest.OrderBy([QgsFeatureRequest.OrderByClause('Value', False)]))

Edit: @simone100, to sort categories to specific levels, it's easier to work with symbol renderer categories. A full example could be (adapt layer and symbol if necessary):

# Define the layer
layer = iface.activeLayer()

# Field for classification
expression = 'CLASSE'

# Symbol
symbol = QgsFillSymbol.defaultSymbol(layer.geometryType())

# Categorized styles: declared order will be the same in the tree view
categories = [    
    QgsRendererCategory('S2', symbol, 'S2'),
    QgsRendererCategory('S3', symbol, 'S3'),
    QgsRendererCategory('S1', symbol, 'S1')

renderer = QgsCategorizedSymbolRenderer(expression, categories)
# Apply style to layer
# Refresh layer's symbology
  • QgsFeatureRequest (expression: str, ascending: bool = True). You insert 'Value' and I assume that is the field name. Your answer don't tell how to insert the expression if you want to sort the attributes specifically for the levels. For example I have a field "Water" that has 3 attributes ('S1', 'S2', S3'). How can you insert in the expression by telling for S1 level 1, for S2 level 3, for S3 level 2? I assume you have to modify the part "OrderByClause('Value', False)" in something like "OrderByClause('CASE WHEN 'Water'='S1' THEN 1' and so on. But I don't know how to do.
    – simone100
    Jan 18, 2023 at 10:02
  • Documentation says that clause could be an field or an expression. Have you tried QGIS expressions like CASE or IF syntax ?
    – GeoGyro
    Jan 18, 2023 at 10:30
  • I did with the field 'CLASSE' but it does not work. expression = "CASE WHEN "CLASSE" is 'S1' THEN '3' END; CASE WHEN "CLASSE" is 'S2' THEN '2' END'; CASE WHEN "CLASSE" is 'S2' THEN '2' END' "
    – simone100
    Jan 18, 2023 at 10:43
  • renderer = QgsCategorizedSymbolRenderer("CLASSE", list) renderer.setUsingSymbolLevels(True) expression = QgsExpression("CASE WHEN 'CLASSE' is 'S1' THEN '3' END") renderer.setOrderBy(QgsFeatureRequest.OrderBy([QgsFeatureRequest.OrderByClause(expression, False)])) renderer.setOrderByEnabled(True) in this case renderer is enabled for level (so it works something!), there is no error but the layer level remains S1=0 and not S1=3 @GeoGyro
    – simone100
    Jan 18, 2023 at 10:56
  • 1
    Syntax matters, try: CASE WHEN "CLASSE" = 'S1' THEN '3' WHEN "CLASSE" = 'S2' THEN '2' WHEN "CLASSE" = 'S2' THEN '2' END
    – GeoGyro
    Jan 18, 2023 at 11:02

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