Is there a way to call the clip function in QQGIS from the python console? It is found under geoprocessing tools in the vector menu.

  • Ok I fixed it by using the multiparts to singleparts function first. Then it works.
    – Toke
    Commented Apr 14, 2014 at 9:32

3 Answers 3


Sure You can get the function from the processing toolbox. Here's how to use it: As per http://docs.qgis.org/2.8/en/docs/user_manual/processing/console.html

From the console you can get a list of all the algorithms available which contain the word "clip" by typing:

import processing

Then you could find out how to use what appears the most appropriate function with:


Then simply use the algorithm in your script as follows:


Note: The algorithm will work only on slected features"

Note above code is invalid for 3.0+ for the alglist example you can do:

print([a.id() for a in gsApplication.processingRegistry().algorithms() if "clip" in a.id()])

for the alghelp example you can do:


For QGIS3 see this question:

What is the new alglist and alghelp in QGIS 3.0 Processing?

  • Sorry for bringing this topic to life again, but never made this work, and now I need it again. In the pyhton console I get the two layers by Layer = qgis.utils.iface.activeLayer() and InputLayer = qgis.utils.iface.activeLayer(). Then I use processing.runandload("qgis:clip",InputLayer,Layer,"output_file.shp") and the new layer is added to the Layers menu with the name Clipped. But the layer is empty. If I use these two layers with the clip function within Qgis, the output layer has the lines from the clipping. Anyone who what can be wrong? I do not get any errors.
    – Toke
    Commented Apr 14, 2014 at 7:03
  • It works if I use two polygons, but one of my layers are a line and not polygon. It contains several lines, and I can use this layer for clipping when doing it in Qgis.
    – Toke
    Commented Apr 14, 2014 at 9:07
  • 2
    You need to have the features that you want to clip selectged. I've edited the answer to reflect this.
    – Mr Purple
    Commented Apr 15, 2014 at 21:50
  • How would one do this without actually creating shapefiles? I have a layer with hundreds of disc-shaped polygons that I want to iterate through, using each as an overlay for a single layer of point data. Can I just get a list of QgsFeature objects instead somehow?
    – J. Taylor
    Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 2:07
  • You should ask that as a separate question
    – Mr Purple
    Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 1:47

Assuming that you have a layer called "overlay" and another one called "layer_to_clip" loaded.

# get the overlay layer in the console
overlay_layer = [x for x in iface.legendInterface().layers() if x.name() == 'overlay'][0]

# get the layer to clip in the console
layer_to_clip = [x for x in iface.legendInterface().layers() if x.name() == 'layer_to_clip'][0]

# run the algorithm and output the results in /tmp/output.shp

processing.runalg("qgis:clip", overlay_layer, layer_to_clip, "/tmp/output.shp")

In the latest PyQGIS version it should work as follows

from qgis.core import *

def clipping(layer_1, layer_2):
    layer_clip = processing.run('qgis:clip',
        {'INPUT': layer_1,
        'OVERLAY': layer_2,
        'OUTPUT': "memory:"}

    return QgsProject.instance().addMapLayer(layer_clip)

your_layer_1 = QgsProject.instance().mapLayersByName('layer_name_1')[0] # main layer
your_layer_2 = QgsProject.instance().mapLayersByName('layer_name_2')[0] # secondary layer

clipping(your_layer_1, your_layer_2)

Note: The output of algorithm will have the same geometry as the main layer


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.