To solve a problem (details see here) I am looking for an expression in QGIS (3.16) that creates a new field and should achieve this:

  1. On a polygon layer, it should group together all polygons that have the same attribute-value
  2. For each group, it should order the containing features according to some value, let's say for demonstration purposes the area ($area)
  3. It should assign kind of an auto-increment value to the features of each group (smallest gets 1)

The result would look something like this:

enter image description here

I tried different combinations of aggregate and arrays, however, I'm not sure where to start and how to combine: how do I create an expression that creates such a new value?


3 Answers 3


You can achieve this using a "Virtual Layer", which you can then export if you need to persist the values.

Go to the menu Layer > Add Layer > Add/Edit Virtual Layer... and enter the following query.

select ROW_NUMBER() OVER(PARTITION BY category_field_name order by st_area(geometry)) as newID, *
from myLayer

So, it takes all fields (*) from myLayer and creates a new field "newID".

This ID is the current row ID, that is grouped by category_field_name so it restarts at 1 for every group. At last, the rows are ordered by area ascending.

from PyQt5.QtCore import QVariant
from qgis.core import QgsFeatureRequest

layer = iface.activeLayer()

original_field = "group"

# order by group
request = QgsFeatureRequest()
clause = QgsFeatureRequest.OrderByClause(original_field, ascending=False)
orderby = QgsFeatureRequest.OrderBy([clause])

current_group = None
last_group = None
new_field = "group_id"

if target_field not in layer.fields().names():
    new_field = QgsField(new_field, QVariant.Int)

with edit(layer):
    for f in layer.getFeatures(request):
        current_group = f[field_name]
        if current_group != last_group:
            id = 1
            id += 1

        last_group = current_group
        f[new_field] = id
  • 2
    Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Nov 14, 2022 at 13:56

Inspired by @GabrielDeLuca's answer:

    ) + 1


  • Great! That is probably the expression I was looking for two years before. As the answer by JGH solved my problem back then, I will leave the accecpted answer.
    – Babel
    Nov 14, 2022 at 16:21
  • Of course, leave the answer attached to @JGH! I love Virtual Layers @_@
    – Taras
    Nov 14, 2022 at 16:24

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