7.3.2. Add data to the project

Most of the functions to add and remove data or to change layer properties and appearance can be accessed through the main menu Layer. Of particular interest are the functions (listed in Table 5) contained in the Manage Layers toolbar:

Only data of the appropriate type (see sections 2.2.1. and 2.2.2.) will be selectable as a source for adding vector or raster data, respectively. In case the data type or the file extension is unknown, try to drag and drop the files directly from the source folder into the Map Legend in QGIS Desktop (Fig. 68). Take into consideration that some common file formats consist of multiple files and that the main file has to be chosen (e.g. the file with the extension *.shp for a shapefile or the *.tif for a raster in GeoTIFF format, respectively, see also section 3.1.). Due to the Geospatial Data Abstraction Library for raster data translation GDAL (http://www.gdal.org) and the OGR Simple Feature Library (http://www.gdal.org/ogr) QGIS has excellent data interoperability capabilities and almost every geodata file format from any source can be loaded into the Map View.

Table 5. The most important functions of the Manage Layers toolbar. This toolbar can be enabled and disabled by the main menu View > Toolbars > Manage Layers

Menu Entry Layers





Creates a new layer without content (shapefile or SpatiaLite database)

Add Vector Layer


Add new vector layer(s) (see section 7.3.3.)

Add Raster Layer


Add new raster layer(s) (see section 7.3.3.)

Add PostGIS Layers


Manage connections to PostGIS databases, load PostGIS layers and tables (http://www.postgis.org/)

Add WMS Layer


Add and manage layers from Web Map Services (http://www.opengeospatial.org/standards/wms)

Add WFS Layer


Add and manage layers from Web Feature Services (http://www.opengeospatial.org/standards/wfs)

Remove Layer


Remove layer(s) (see section

Add Delimited Text Layer


Import delimited text files (see section 7.3.3.)

Create new GPX Layer


Create a GPX file for the use in Handheld GPS devices (see section