Is there a way in qgis 2.0 to prevent overlapping labels?

I have a layer with a large geographical extent, which means a hell of a lot of labels. Many of them collide and it looks really bad. Is there a way for me to get qgis to automatically place the labels on an alternative 'location'?

I know it is possible in MapInfo but I'd rather use qgis :)

  • The label engine does that by default. What options are you using?
    – Nathan W
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 11:30
  • I am using the 'Layer to labeled layer' option. Well, the default seems to be that it dows not allow colliding labels, but instead of moving them to an alternative location, it just doesn't show the colliding labels. Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 12:16
  • 1
    Labels-->Placement-->Free this will fix the issue.
    – user140347
    Commented Apr 11, 2019 at 15:33

2 Answers 2


In the Layer properties select the Label page. In the Rendering subpage on the right you can select various options in the Features category.

You can limit the amount of Labels to be printed or merge connected line labels (this of course depends on the type of Feature used).

The placement of labels can be customized under the Placement subpage.

  • 3
    Ahh ok. I just saw the checkbox called 'Discourage labels from covering features'. After I unchecked that box, colliding labels were moved to alternate positions. Thanks for the help! Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 12:20
  • I had the same problem few days ago. Glad to help! Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 19:13
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    Well....the problem was only 50 % solved :) I am using the 'Layer to labeled layer' option and if my labels are to big, they will overlap even if I've unchecked the box. Did unchecking the box solve your problem? Commented Oct 16, 2013 at 7:35
  • I'm not sure if I fully understand the problem, but to me - please correct me if wrong - it seems you have all Features on a single layer? Maybe splitting them to several layers and using the Priority setting in the Placement page might help. Commented Oct 16, 2013 at 12:29
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    You understood the problem fully :) All the features are in a single layer. Splitting them up and using the Priority setting would not solve the problem. If labels would overlap, the priority setting would make only the higher priority label visible, thus leaving me exactly where I started. In MapInfo, there is a button that says 'try alternative location for overlapping labels'. I just hoped that Qgis had a similar option but I guess that was to much to ask :) Commented Oct 17, 2013 at 10:55

Only practical if the number of labels are limited, but you can move the labels by using the "move labels and diagram" button

  • "Label Toolbar" sometimes is very useful as @user136727 said above.
    – Zac
    Commented May 23, 2020 at 9:12

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