I saved a OSM file as a Shapefile, this is fixing my previous question how to handle bad layers.

My question is how to retain the original style from OSM plugin to SHP files, when I copy the style and try to paste it it says "Unknown renderer".

I mean, is it possible keep the same look I have from OpenStreetMap in the new SHP file?

  • @Andre I got messed up with my account, by the way, I want to thank you!! Open Layer plugin is what I was looking for now. After a big frustration this is great reward. Works like a charm :)
    – Giovassi
    Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 21:38
  • Giovasse please follow the directions at gis.stackexchange.com/contact/user-merge about how to merge the duplicate accounts and we'll get this fixed for you Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 23:02

1 Answer 1


Basically, OSM data files and shapefiles do not contain any style information.

The most common design for OpenStreetMap is the Mapnik renderer. It uses a PostgreSQL database (for perfomance reasons) and has a bunch of XML stylefiles to style the data. It's not only a question of how to render, but also the sequence of rendering, e.g. houses on top of landuses, and roads on top of that, but minor roads first and major roads last, and so on.

QGIS has a much simplier approach for rendering data. Data is rendered in the sequence it is stored in the datasource. So you won't get an easy 1:1 style adaption of the Mapnik style, even if you have the original Mapnik stylefiles.


You did not tell us where you got the OSM data from. Reading this previous post, you are using the "old" Openstreetmap plugin. That did not allow to save the style in an easy way. A new version of the Openstreetmap plugin is on the way with QGIS 2.0. This will solve many current issues, but is not yet ready for productive use.

  • Symbol levels are used to control rendering order in QGIS styles.
    – underdark
    Commented Jun 18, 2013 at 6:12
  • @underdark: you are right, but you have to re-write the whole Mapnik stylesheet for that.
    – AndreJ
    Commented Jun 18, 2013 at 6:14
  • Just wouldn't want to spread the impression that QGIS can only draw features in the order they are saved in.
    – underdark
    Commented Jun 18, 2013 at 6:17
  • As you already understood I am a newbie, my background is from Google maps:) Can you point out where I can read documentation to learn the bases of this really intriguing world of mapping. Thanks for you attention
    – Giovassi
    Commented Jun 18, 2013 at 15:50
  • 2
    For the meantime, you can take a look at the openlayers plugin with openstreetmap as a background for your map. This looks 100% like the original ;-) And you get the picture much faster than rendering from vector data while the user moves around on the map. Please accept the answer so that the question can be closed.
    – AndreJ
    Commented Jun 19, 2013 at 5:20

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