Why is a shapefile shown as coloured independent features in ArcGIS shown in a single colour in Quantum GIS? What can I do to display this layer (wwf ecoregions) with the different ecoregions specially coloured?

  • 2
    The shapefile spec does not have a method for saving symbology with the shapefile. Both ArcGIS and QGIS store the symbology with the map project, not as part of the data. The closest thing I can think of to saving symbology with the data is Arc's LYR files, but I don't think QGIS can use those or has a similar feature.
    – user3461
    Jun 21, 2013 at 17:40
  • 1
    QGIS does indeed have a 'similar feature' in the way of a (more open/standard) SLD format, or their own .qml format. Jun 21, 2013 at 19:31
  • Maybe one day WWF will distribute their data with a SLD instead of proprietary format. Jun 21, 2013 at 21:38

1 Answer 1


You need to to do a Categorized style for your layer in QGIS.

  • right-click on your layer in QGIS and go to Properties.
  • On the Style tab, choose Categorized

enter image description here

  • Then choose your ecoregions fields from the Column drop-down.
  • Next click the Classify button. You should see different colors for you different ecoregions. You can then change the color scheme for the entire dataset using the Color ramp drop-down, or double-click on individual symbols to change the color.
  • Click Apply on the Properties dialog to apply your changes.

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.