I have a huge shapefile with an attribute field called category.

How do I add random individual colors to this category attribute and then export it with the style so that I can open it in other software?

  • working on QGIS software
    – Abinash
    Commented Jan 6, 2022 at 11:26
  • Shapefiles don't store styling elements - you need to tell us what you want to open it with
    – Ian Turton
    Commented Jan 6, 2022 at 11:28
  • 1
    Actually, step 0: Shapefiles do not carry a color property. You can, however, add a numeric or text field (provided that doing so doesn't exceed on of the many limitations of dBase format).
    – Vince
    Commented Jan 6, 2022 at 11:32
  • If you need random color most GIS software are able to do that, so no need to add a QGIS steep, if your other software is not a GIS software you need to tell us witch format it will read (or at last what kind of software you plan to use)
    – J.R
    Commented Jan 6, 2022 at 15:09

1 Answer 1


There might be a better way to do it, but here is my take on this. It is assuming your category field is called "code". All you have to do is create a dictionary with your random colors based on category field and store values in a new field "Color". Then you can use that to create a categorized renderer for your layer. Now the color is part of your shapefile and could probably be used in a different software. I hope this helps.

# import modules
import random
from qgis.core import *
from qgis.utils import *

# create a hexadecimal random color
def rand_color():
    hexadecimal = "#" + ''.join([random.choice('ABCDEF0123456789') for i in range(6)])
    return hexadecimal

# assign layer
layer = iface.activeLayer()
# create empty dict to store category:color pairs
colors = {}
# iterate through features and generate random color
# based on category to populate your color dictionary 
for feat in layer.getFeatures():
    field = feat["code"]
    colors[field] = rand_color()
#create new field to store color
pr = layer.dataProvider()
pr.addAttributes([QgsField("Color",QVariant.String, "text", 50)])

# update color field
with edit(layer):
    for feat in layer.getFeatures():
            feat["Color"] = colors[feat["code"]]

# create the categorised renderer
categorized_renderer = []
# iterate to assign the color based on the category
for feat in layer.getFeatures():
    category = feat["code"]
    color = feat["Color"]
        QgsRendererCategory(category, QgsFillSymbol().createSimple({'color': color}), 'code: {}'.format(category))

## apply symbol to layer renderer
renderer = QgsCategorizedSymbolRenderer('code', set(categorized_renderer))
# repaint the layer

enter image description here

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