I have 6 MapInfo layers / TAB files which I need to convert to ESRI ShapeFiles, preferably using QGIS. When a colleague opens these in MapInfo 10, they all look fine and line up correctly. When I open them in QGIS, however, some layers are at completely different X / Y coordinates, and are tiny when compared to other layers.

When my colleague uses the universal translater in MapInfo 10 it creates all the shape files (it actually creates more, there are polyline, rectangle, region and ellipse files), but again when I open up the resulting shape files in QGIS (I click on "user defined projection" during opening) it has the same result.

In MapInfo under Map -> Options -> Projection I can see the projection as "Longitude / Latitude".

Any ideas how I can export all my MapInfo layers to ESRI shape files, and retain their shape / size and location? I can get access to MapInfo 10 if changes in the source TAB files are required.

Thanks in advance, really stuck on this one!


EDIT: I know the process to convert MapInfo to ShapeFiles, and have tried this both in QGIS and MapInfo 10. The problem remains, no matter which application I use to make the conversion, there are problematic layers which are not in the correct location, and are tiny compared to the source layers. If someone has some insight as to how to see the projection for each TAB file, and how to change it that would be the starting point, I guess. This is NOT a question on how to convert from one format to the other!

  • Use ogr2ogr utility to convert in specific projection system
    – Myra
    Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 6:00
  • Please provide all available metadata (especially about projection information) for the problematic layers and post those in a new question. The basic question about how to convert mif to shp has been answered.
    – underdark
    Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 6:44
  • @Myra I have tried QGIS, which I believe is the GUI for that utility (???)
    – Dominik
    Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 21:41
  • @underdark If you know how to get the Metadata from the TAB file, let me know the steps and I will post that. Also this is NOT a duplicate, I am not asking how to convert, I can convert using MapInfo 10 or QGIS. But the result is useless.
    – Dominik
    Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 21:43
  • @Dominik Yes,QGIS is GUI program using GDAL utilities using python language.
    – Myra
    Commented Feb 12, 2013 at 6:44

2 Answers 2


Firstly open a Table (TAB) file which has the correct information, in terms of projection, location, size, etc, in MapInfo. Then choose "Save Copy As..." from the file menu. On the dialog window that is shown next click the "Projection" button, and you will see the current projection in the file (in our case it was "Non-Earth Meters". Clicking OK allows you to see the Min X, Min Y, Max X and Max Y values, which you have to copy somewhere temporarily (like into notepad), but for this base layer make no changes, we just save a separate copy.

Then open each other TAB file which lines up in MapInfo but not when exported, and choose "Save Copy As..." from the File menu. On the dialog window click the "Projection" button and this time make sure that the projection type and X / Y values match exactly. If they don't, replace them with the values you copied earlier and save the copy to disk.

Once all layers have the correct projection and X / Y values, open all TAB files in QGIS, and do a "Save As..." to SHP and all of these layers will line up correctly.


You can also do this with QGIS. Basically, QGIS acts as a GUI for ogr2ogr.

Just load the Mapinfo file, right-click the layer in TOC and go to "Save as ..." where you can chose from many output formats.

(Above answer is given by @underdark for the similar question .Please check this @ here )

  • sorry if I was not clear. I know how to convert the files, I can use either MapInfo 10 or QGIS. The problem is that the output is not correct.
    – Dominik
    Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 22:13
  • 2
    ANSWER: In In MapInfo we had to open each Table (TAB) file, and choose "Save Copy As..." from the File menu. On that screen we clicked the "Projection" button on a TAB file that we wanted to use as our "base". We copied the Min X, Max X, Min Y and Max Y values from here to notepad. We then repeated the procedure for each TAB file, but changed the X & Y values to match and the projection mode (i.e. all were set to non-Earth meters) before saving a copy of the TAB file. We then opened all TAB files in QGIS, and did a "Save As..." to SHP and all of these layers then lined up correctly.
    – Dominik
    Commented Feb 12, 2013 at 6:03
  • 1
    @Dominik Thanks for your reply and sharing how you solved. Please mark your answer as separate answer and click on accept. thanks..
    – Sunil
    Commented Feb 12, 2013 at 6:27

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