I'm using QGIS 3.14 on Ubuntu and I'm confused why, for example, when I write some rules in Symbology/Rule-based location, and then, since I'm learning, I may go to the drop-down and select Symbology/Single symbol,do something there, and then go back to the Rule-based location and everything is gone. My rules have disappeared. Is that normal?

  • It looks XML based > gis.stackexchange.com/questions/344217/…
    – Mapperz
    Oct 4, 2020 at 2:14
  • I saw that posting, but I would think whichever layer (rules-base, Single symbol) is presently on the layer properties window'. I don't understand why the Rules based data isn't saved if i change to Single symbol from the drop-down
    – Barry vT
    Oct 4, 2020 at 2:24

2 Answers 2


It is normal.
What you are actually doing when you click on the Symbology/Single symbol is switching the layer's symbology type.
What you can do is turn off the Live Update checkbox so you won't lose your symbology.

enter image description here

You can also save your symbology to a file from the layer's Properties window go to Symbology and at the bottom left of the window you can see the style button which has the options to save and load styles saved in either QML or SLD formats. enter image description here


If you want to make sure you retain style settings to be able to revert to them later, you can use named styles.

If you right click a layer, and choose Style, you'll see default selected but greyed out. Any changes you make to the layer's style change or replace the settings of this default style for this layer.

Default only

If you choose Add..., you can create a new named style, and changes you make from then on will be saved as part of that named style, leaving the default one (or other named styles) intact. You can revert to the default style when you want, and even (if you're done experimenting) remove your experimentation altogether by choosing Remove current....

I use this for making aerial and topo map settings that don't interfere with each other as I tweak them. The example below doesn't explicitly include Rule based vs Single-symbol, but this named style feature would save that as well as all underlying settings as in this example (which also includes different basemaps, contours vs aerials -- the reason I want different styles is to have it show up better over these basemaps)

Map style

Aerial style

You'll see I have another style there in the menu, with shaded unmarked, which is some experimentation I wanted to do in a sandbox without messing up my "good" styles.

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