Is there a way to change the number type once a field has been created in the attribute table in QGIS? I selected 'Whole number (integer)' initially but now need to switch to 'Decimal number (real)' in order to limit the number of decimal places to 1. I've already filled in all the rows of the column and so I'm wondering can I change the type and covert the existing numbers to a single decimal place or do I have to create a new field column selecting decimal from the start?

  • 3
    I dont think you can change the datatype afterwards, but lets hope someone has your desired answer. If not, you can simply copy over your integer values to your new field using to_real("oldfieldname") in fieldcalculator or via refactor fields processing tool.
    – MrXsquared
    Oct 19, 2020 at 17:37

3 Answers 3


Use the tool "Refactor Fields" in QGIS processing algorithm.

enter image description here

Select the layer and set the type of the column you want to convert to Decimal nummber ( Length is the total length of the number, precision the decimal part). Click on run and a temporary layer will be loaded which has the fields as you wanted them to be (check the attribute table/layer properties to verify your results!). Close your original layer, and save the temporary one over the existing one - done

  • 1
    How? Could you please add some details? Dec 21, 2020 at 13:33

The easiest way is to create a new field and copy all values from the old to the new field - this can be done in one single step and is almost as easy as it would be if you could just switch the field type.

Use the field calculator to create a new field and type as expression to_real( "your_old_field") Replace the your_old_field part with the name of the integer-field where you initially have stored the values you now want to copy. Click OK and you're done. Toggle edit mode to save the changes!

enter image description here


With SQLite changing the type of an attribute requires that a new table is created with edited schema, data are copied from old table into the new one, and the old table is finally dropped. See https://sqlite.org/lang_altertable.html for noticing that "modify datatype" is not supported directly by ALTER TABLE and https://stackoverflow.com/questions/2083543/modify-a-columns-type-in-sqlite3 that gives a few alternatives about how to change the datatype by other means.

GeoPackage has quite a many triggers and I do not feel totally safe with manipulating the database by using generic SQLite tools, but if you are brave enough you can try DB Browser for SQLite. Make a backup copy of your GeoPackage first. I had a try with a dummy GeoPackage and changing datatype from integer into real seemed to be successful and also QGIS shows the attribute as real now.

How to change datatype of a SQLite attribute with DB Browser

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.