In Excel we have option called 'Text to columns' to split the data in a column.

Is there any option available in QGIS?

There is an option which splits data from left or right in QGIS but I want entire data to be split.

enter image description here

  • 1
    Are there always three values to split in COLUMN?
    – BERA
    Oct 28, 2021 at 7:16
  • @BERA Not three there are more some times
    – Bruno B
    Oct 28, 2021 at 7:24
  • 2
    Excel has a lot of columns to work with, your data does not, excel can have numbers, letters, formulas, OLE objects etc. in a column, your data can not, so it's obviously easier in Excel. Multiple field calcs with the python string.split() function using the first column .split('-')[index] where index is the number identifier of the column you have got would work or alternately you could do your text-to-columns in excel and join that table to your data using the single value you do have. Oct 28, 2021 at 7:42
  • 5
    you can use the processing tool "refactor fields", create new fields and for each one, paste the expression and adapt it a little : string_to_array("your_origin_column", '-')[0] (0 for the first new column, 1 for the second new column, 2 for ...). You can easily create a QGIS processing model with 6 new columns and if your data has only 3 data, the last 3 columns will be filled with a NULL value. Oct 28, 2021 at 11:46
  • 1
    @Taras: luckily, QGIS can import Excel spreadsheets too :D Oct 28, 2021 at 13:29

2 Answers 2


Use QGIS expressions to convert your string to an array containing each number as an element with string_to_array. You now can use array_get ([your_array],[index]) to return every element. Index starts with 0.

So the whole expression to get the third value (index=2) looks like ("column" is the name of the input field):

array_get (string_to_array ("column",'-'), 2)

For an input field containing 143-685-6749, the expression returns 6749. If you change the value of 2 at the end by 1, it returns 685, setting it to 0 returns 143.

enter image description here

  • what if we want to split data from the end. If we dont know the number of elements in the cell.
    – Bruno B
    Apr 13, 2023 at 2:56
  • Not sure what you mean. Maybe function array_length() is what you need
    – Babel
    Apr 13, 2023 at 7:18
  • what i mean is in above example we know that there are four elements or five elements. But in my dataset their are multiple elements seperated by - . I want to split the last element how can i proceed
    – Bruno B
    Apr 13, 2023 at 8:57
  • Depends very much an the very use case. Provide detailed information how exactly your data structure looks like and what output you expect. Best post a new question and be as precise as possible. To just get the last element of the array, use array_last().
    – Babel
    Apr 13, 2023 at 9:04

In case a PyQGIS approach is needed:

def text_to_columns(text_column_name, new_columns_name, delimiter): 
    layer = iface.activeLayer()
    if not layer.isEditable():

    splits = [feat[text_column_name].split(delimiter) for feat in layer.getFeatures() if feat[text_column_name] != NULL]
    max_split_length = len(max(splits, key=len))
    new_fields = []

    for i in range(1,max_split_length+1): 
        field_name = f'{new_columns_name}_{i}'
        new_field = QgsField(field_name, QVariant.String)
        if layer.fields().lookupField(field_name) == -1:

    for i, feat in enumerate(layer.getFeatures()): 
        if feat[text_column_name] == NULL: continue
        feat_text_parts = splits[i]
        for text_part, field in zip(feat_text_parts, new_fields): 
            feat[field] = text_part

text_to_columns('COLUMN', 'NEW_COL', '-')

This will create the the fields depending on what the biggest array is after splitting the texts. The Script will create something like this: enter image description here

  • 1
    Nice but can be more optimized : the for feat in layer.getFeatures() [...] feat[text_column_name].split(delimiter) is done twice, a new_columns_name+'_'+i is more pythonic like that f"{new_columns_name}_{i}" and will add the layer as function argument. Oct 28, 2021 at 13:53
  • I am getting this error AttributeError: 'QVariant' object has no attribute 'split'
    – Taras
    Jan 20, 2022 at 10:08
  • I have edited my answer. The error occurs when you have a NULL value because NULL is a type of QVariant. You may need to import NULL from qgis.core when using the script from outside the qgis python console. Jan 20, 2022 at 11:42

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