So I work for a small African non-profit. I do all the GIS and data work. Most of the layers I create, I convert to kml layers so my boss can then use them quickly and easily in Google Earth. But now in the last months my shp2kml program says its license is expired and to download the newer version. I've downloaded the most up to date version I can find which isn't that new Feb 2011 and I'm still getting the same error. Anyone know another freeware program that does the same thing or know a way around this or to get a more up to date version of shp2kml. My operating system is windows 7 and i'm using QGIS 1.8.0. The non-profit can't afford Google Earth Pro edition. I need free or practically free solutions. Thanks for your help.

  • 1
    As date of 16/04/16, the file has still the same problem and shows an licence expiration date... For a free tool, this is really strange ...
    – user71366
    Apr 16, 2016 at 14:22
  • ... but resetting the computer clock to 2015 still works. The software seems to expire one year after compiling.
    – AndreJ
    Jan 25, 2017 at 12:54

6 Answers 6


You can save a layer in the KML format directly from QGIS, just right-click the layer name in the Layers window, click Save As.., and choose KML from the list of file formats:

enter image description here

  • Thank you! I feel kind of stupid for not trying that.
    – Tyler
    Jan 15, 2014 at 0:00
  • As suggested QGIS is your best solution. The only other way to 'reset' most trial software is to delete it from the registry and re-install. Not recommended if you are not comfortable navigating the registry.
    – danagerous
    Jan 20, 2014 at 15:56
  • 1
    @danagerous IMO it's never a good idea to circumvent the licensing - a developer somewhere wrote the software, so you're stealing from them if you use it without paying. Better to pay for it, or find an open-source alternative... Jun 24, 2014 at 6:47
  • 1
    @StephenLead. Good point. I won't argue with you on that. I pay for all my software (most of it open source too) and also donate to open source software I like and helps me with my work. If it helps me make a living I give back. This is a non-profit that seemed to have their hands tied. I did also suggest QGIS as the BEST solution.
    – danagerous
    Jun 24, 2014 at 17:00

I was able to reach the author of Shp2kml 14 September 2014 and reported the problem with the "The the license for this tool has expired" message (something I first ran into several months ago). On 15 September 2014, he uploaded a newer version of the file and the expired license error no longer exists.

The program's "About" screen shows the following, which I believe is the same as the original, judging by the build value:

Shp2kml 2.0
Shapefile to Google Earth
Build: 2-2/1/11


OLD Shp2kml.exe signatures (file date = 2011-02-01 09:10):
MD5: 7ef306b52357c83547870dc4bc579ea7
SHA-1: d72e5db006c4790d44718d24a244ad5a736c11aa

NEW Shp2kml.exe signatures (file date = 2014-09-15 00:21:48):
MD5: c5b2edd311c336d4730d481eb29c7606
SHA-1: 25b6712e46e436b99d259ee991b3b859ccf27ee0

With the new file (perhaps it would also have occurred with the old one), I did run into a problem actually creating the KML file. I haven't run into this problem when using the program in the past, so it could be something specific to the shapefile source I'm using:

Index result for "SITE_NAME" too long, > 100 characters (254).

I'm not sure why that happened. Of the 179 rows of data (not including the attribute name/headers), the longest value in the "SITE_NAME" attribute is 83 characters.

I reported that problem to the author this morning and am waiting to hear back from him.


Resetting the date works fine but don't do it on your good computer as it seems to mess up anti virus etc, use an old spare if you have one then save the kml file across. I just tried QGIS for the first time and once you get the hang of it works really well.

  • This appears to be a comment, rather than an answer. You can comment on any post once you have enough rep.
    – BradHards
    Jun 24, 2014 at 6:45

The R package plotKML can do this for you. The package will convert sp spatial objects to KML format. From the kml method documentation:


# Plotting a SpatialPointsDataFrame object
eberg <- eberg[runif(nrow(eberg))<.1,]
coordinates(eberg) <- ~X+Y
proj4string(eberg) <- CRS("+init=epsg:31467")
## Not run: # Simple plot
kml(eberg, file = "eberg-0.kml")
# Plot using aesthetics
kml(eberg, colour = SNDMHT_A, size = CLYMHT_A, alpha = 0.75, file = "eberg-1.kml")

## End(Not run)

Either change system clock as others suggest or if you want a permanent workaround get an hex editor, edit the exe file and search for this pattern:


then replace just the first two bytes:

7432 -> 9090

and you will remove the date check :)

Note: I'm suggesting this here because this is a free tool, not trial or anyhow limited app... I don't think we are doing anything illegal doing this on a free app... I can guess the author added this time bomb just to make sure users always run the latest version, however the app seems almost abandoned now and no new versions are being released to update the time bomb, then...


You can still use Shp2kml! How you ask? Just set your computer's date back (I use January 1/1/2011). When you are done use the tool just change your computer's date back to today. Sweet work around.

  • 2
    This isn't something I would recommend to someone using this software at work. It's at least unethical, and possibly illegal. Regardless of your own opinion, your employer may feel differently, and many companies have policies in place specially forbidding such things. Jan 17, 2014 at 20:18
  • and your files will have screwed up creation and access dates.
    – Llaves
    Jan 17, 2014 at 22:51
  • Evil Genius, why would it be unethical or possibly illegal? shp2kml is free software. I want to do the right then here and if this is really a problem, I will stop doing it.
    – bondpam
    Jan 20, 2014 at 21:30
  • This makes me cringe. I don't want to know what other kinds of things are getting messed up while my computer is living in the past.
    – jocull
    Feb 5, 2014 at 18:10

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