I am wondering if there is a way to join the attributes from Excel tables to shapefiles in QGIS. I have abbreviations in the shapefile and want to add the associated complete names from Excel file by automatic join. The abbreviation is also given in an Excel column.

Once there was a tool "join attribute" that is missing now. I tried to join by using properties/ join but then it is only possible to choose shapefiles.

3 Answers 3


Adding to @Rob Lodge 's answer above. you can directly convert excel file to .csv format and there is a plugin called mmqgis here you can add attributes join from .csv file . I think this may help you if your shapefile doesn't have latitude and longitude as separate fields in excel. enter image description here

  • thank you, that is a good way. I tried it with a test datset and it works. Sadly not with the dataset that I want to merge..there seems to be something wrong with data format in the table.?? but this would be a different question thank you!
    – oppia04
    Commented Sep 18, 2013 at 12:18

I just had the same problem and mmqgis only gave me error messages ("no matching records found"), but here is another solution to the problem that worked perfectly for me.


Enable the fTools plugin and use Vector > Data management tools > Join attributes by location

  • thank you for reply, the data in the excel file are no spatial data so there is no way to join them by location.
    – oppia04
    Commented Sep 13, 2013 at 8:29
  • 2
    You could open the shapefile in excel (convert to .csv format in QGIS), and simply merge the two datasets that way. Then export the .csv as a Text (Tab delimited) file, and open it in QGIS that way with Layer > Add delimited text layer. You can use the spatial reference from the shapefile as in the X Y fields on the import menu. Should work.
    – Rob Lodge
    Commented Sep 13, 2013 at 8:42
  • Spatialite can load an excel 2003 (*.xls) format spreadsheet as a database table. So if you import your shapefile into Spatialite, and load the excel table, you can easily do the join.
    – Micha
    Commented Sep 13, 2013 at 9:19
  • this is sorry pretty complicated, to walk the way by foot, wonder if there is a more convenient option...
    – oppia04
    Commented Sep 13, 2013 at 10:51

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