I'm looking for a way to create a dynamic link between a QGIS point layer and a spreadsheet that contains point coordinates.

For example, I have a spreadsheet of location points for a species of plants, and I want points to automatically display in QGIS when I find more locations (and add the XY to an excel sheet). Currently, I have to reimport the CSV to a new point layer each time I want to update a map.

Is there already a plugin that exists to do this in QGIS? I know that this is (or at least, was) possible in ArcMap.

  • 1
    When you add a delimited text layer there is a checkbox called "watch file" (or something like that) I have never tried it but always thought it would detect external changes in the CSV file and refresh, without needing to reimport.
    – M Bain
    Apr 20, 2021 at 10:30

2 Answers 2


You can use the plugin "Spreadsheet Layer":

Below an example: A spreadsheet with coordinate. Don't forget to close the file now enter image description here

You can import your data. The plugin will create a additive file *.vrt enter image description here

Your points are now in QGIS. Now close QGIS Before reopen excel enter image description here

I add two new data. I close excel and reopen QGIS enter image description here

Tadaa! (ps. you can alsa add point in qgis. The only think is you can't modify the excel file if it is in the same time open in excel) enter image description here

  • do I need to close and reopen QGIS or can that be achieved with a refresh? Feb 21 at 15:37
  • I checked and confirm that there's no need to close neither the excel nor qgis. It's sufficient to "reload the table" when in the attribute table of the layer. Feb 21 at 15:45

You can do this, but I would recommend keeping it simple. If you just want to see points on a map, where the coordinates are stored in Excel, you can use a "Virtual Layer" (Data Source Manager > Virtual Layer). Open your Spreadsheet in QGIS (just drag it in form Explorer) and add a virtual layer like

select makepoint(x,y,25832) as geometry, x, y 
from mypoints_Sheet1

x, y is the name of the Excel columns. The number 25832 is EPSG code of UTM zone 32N - use a EPSG code matching your data projection. Pan or zoom should update the virtual layer point map when a new record is saved in Excel. This might be inconsistent and you have to reload your QGIS project. Your Excel table name in QGIS must not have any spaces included in the name.

If you want to perform a deeper spatial analyse, I would recommend moving to a spatial format.

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