How to import spreadsheet data into QGIS

One of the most common tasks when working with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is the representation of points from a spreadsheet to a shapefile. Here, we will explain the steps to achieve this.



To represent the data it is needed to follow the next steps. The files used can be downloaded from here


1. Save data in CSV format

If you have an Excel file, convert the sheet where the data is stored to .csv format (Comma-separated values).

2. Know the coordinate system of the data

It is necessary to know the coordinate system of the data, whether it is geographic or projected coordinates. You can find more information here.


3. Add the delimited text layer

To import the spreadsheet, use the icon "Add Delimited Text Layer" located on the left inferior corner of the screen.


4. Choose the East and North columns

Using the "Explore" button choose the CSV file that needs to be imported.

Then, where it says "Coordinate X" and "Coordinate Y" choose from the dropdown menu the name of the Excel columns that have the values indicated.


5. Especify the projection system

With the "Filter" option it is possible to search and choose an specific coordinate system. If the EPSG code is known, is easier to find it. After choosing it, make sure that the coordinate system selected shows in "selected CRS".


6. Save as an ESRI Shapefile

Until now, what we are seeing is just a temporary spatial representation of a table, which is seen in this way:

To save this representation as an ESRI shapefile, right click on the layer and choose "Save As...". In the new window specify the name and the desired location to save the file. It is even possible to make changes in the projection system here.

Just click "Accept", and voilà!

Saul Montoya

Saul Montoya es Ingeniero Civil graduado de la Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú en Lima con estudios de postgrado en Manejo e Ingeniería de Recursos Hídricos (Programa WAREM) de la Universidad de Stuttgart con mención en Ingeniería de Aguas Subterráneas y Hidroinformática.

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