For a large number of GeoTIFF files I would like to create pyramids using the GDAL > Raster miscellaneous > Build overviews (pyramids) Processing tool (gdaladdo) set up as follows:

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The algorithm finishes without any problems (obviously, cp. log)...

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...but there is not *.ovr file written, nor can I see pyramids in the raster layers properties:

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I can create pyramids from the raster layer properties > Pyramids panel without any problem, but for 700+ files this is not the way of my choice.

What am I doing wrong?

  • 1
    those are tifs with world files not GeoTiffs so I don't think you can add overviews to them, try to convert them to GeoTiffs first (gdal_translate) and try again
    – Ian Turton
    Jun 14, 2022 at 8:08
  • 1
    Jochen Schwarze is back (ist wieder da) :)
    – Taras
    Jun 14, 2022 at 8:29
  • Certainly it is possible to create overviews for baseline tiffs. The issue must be somewhere else.
    – user30184
    Jun 14, 2022 at 9:15

1 Answer 1


It is not directly documented but -clean (that Remove all existing overviews option in QGIS triggers) is meant only for removing existing overviews and it is not to be used together with overview creation. Indirectly it can be guessed from https://gdal.org/programs/gdaladdo.html


A list of integral overview levels to build. Ignored with -clean option.

Run build overviews first with -clean and create new overviews after that with a separate run. If you have external overviews you can simply delete *.ovr

I think that the QGIS user interface has a bug and it should disable other options when the Remove all existing overviews is selected. And I think that there is a bug in GDAL as well, it does not report in any way that it is just going to delete existing overviews without creating new ones.

gdaladdo baseline.tif -r cubic -ro -clean 2 4 8 16 32 64 --debug on
GDAL: GDALOpen(baseline.tif, this=0000022674DA5500) succeeds as GTiff.
GTiff: ScanDirectories()
GTiff: File open for read-only accessing, creating overviews externally.
GDAL: GDALDefaultOverviews::OverviewScan()
GDAL: GDALClose(baseline.tif, this=0000022674DA5500)

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