We have a large amount of background mapping data saved in a OneDrive folder that is then synced to each user's laptop on their C drive. If one user saves a QGIS workspace on the company's shared "G:" drive containing some of these layers (example layer source C:\Users\Bob\...) and then another user later opens the same workspace, QGIS looks for Bob's files, when I'd like it to look for the files under C:\Users\Alice\...

Is it possible to save a workspace with a dynamic source for these layers such as "C:\Users\%USERPROFILE%\" or similar?

  • QGIS uses relative file paths by default so as long as (a) the project is in the %USERPROFILE% folder or below, and (b) in the same location on each user's computer relative to the shared files (e.g. C:\Users\Bob\GIS\project.qgz and C:\Users\Alice\GIS\project.qgz), then it shouldn't need to access dynamic user names. Any files under %USERPROFILE%\OneDrive - OrgName` (where %USERPROFILE%` = C:\Users\Alice etc.) would be accessed using e.g. `..\..\OneDrive - OrgName` regardless of whether it's Bob or Alice
    – she_weeds
    Feb 21 at 12:49
  • Thanks, but the workspace will be saved in the relevant project folder on the network drive - G:\ - so the paths for the background mapping layers are saved with the full user profile each time resulting in them being broken if a different user opens the workspace. Feb 21 at 13:03

1 Answer 1


This is an interesting question. Unfortunately, QGIS cannot resolve environment variables, but it can repair invalid paths during project load. The problem can be solved with the help of a small Python plugin.

Use the QGIS Python plugin builder (https://plugins.qgis.org/plugins/pluginbuilder/) and create a plugin named "changeFilePath". Then add the following code lines to changeFilePath.py:

from qgis.core import QgsPathResolver,QgsProject,QgsMessageLog,Qgis
import re,os

class changeFilePath:
    """QGIS Plugin Implementation."""

    def __init__(self, iface):

    def initGui(self):
        self.processor = QgsPathResolver.setPathPreprocessor(self.my_processor)

    def unload(self):

    def my_processor(self,path):
          # if file not found
          if not os.path.isfile(path):
              # if path is local users path
              if re.search(r'^[cd][:][\\/]users[\\/][^\\/]+',path,flags=re.IGNORECASE):
                  QgsMessageLog.logMessage('Replace Layer Source: %s' % path,'Custom',Qgis.Info)
                  userprofile = os.getenv("USERPROFILE")
                  userprofile = userprofile.encode('unicode_escape').decode('ascii')
                  userprofile = re.sub(r'\\u(.){4}', '', userprofile)
                  path = re.sub(r'^[cd][:][\\/]users[\\/][^\\/]+',userprofile,path,flags=re.IGNORECASE)
                  QgsMessageLog.logMessage('with: %s' % path,'Custom',Qgis.Info)
        return path

The local user directory can be located on C: or D: drive.

  • Thanks! I've already developed a company plugin for QGIS so I'll look to include this code in that. Feb 22 at 9:08
  • Yes, that's the way to go. I have a company plugin that replaces PostGIS database names and repairs QGIS projects that were stored in GPKG files together with the data. When you move a GPKG project to a different place, QGIS won't find the data inside.
    – christoph
    Feb 22 at 10:11
  • I learned my lesson today, never share code untested! re.sub produced a fatal error because of a unicode userprofile string. I added 2 lines of code to prepare the userprofile string. Be aware that every error in my_processor will be fatal.
    – christoph
    Feb 22 at 12:46

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