I need to output shapefiles for archiving, which requires generating .shp, .shx and .dbf files. When I save a layer as a shapefile it generates the first two, but not the dbf. All the help I can find tells me how to import a dbf file but not export.

The dbf files will need to contain ID, X and Y fields.

Any ideas?

1 Answer 1


If you don't have a .dbf file, you probably have an empty attribute table.

To get the X and Y of a point layer, you have to add them to the attribute table using the field calculator. $X and $Y from the Geometry section will add the coordinate values. Be sure to change the field type to real, and set the precision greater than zero if using degrees.

For a line or polygon layer, you can export the coordinates of the line vertices with the mmqgis plugin to a CSV file.

  • That's great, worked fine. I discovered I also needed to merge a few layers, which meant converting geometry, and that was easier with the Data Management Tools in the Vector menu than with mmqgis, though both worked.
    – user20827
    Commented Aug 27, 2013 at 12:12

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