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QGIS Plugins

QGIS has been designed with a plugin architecture. This allows many new features and functions to be easily added to the application. Some of the features in QGIS are actually implemented as plugins.

Core and External plugins

QGIS plugins are implemented either as Core Plugins or External Plugins.

Core Plugins are maintained by the QGIS Development Team and are automatically part of every QGIS distribution. They are written in one of two languages: C++ or Python.

Most of External Plugins are currently written in Python. They are stored either in the ‘Official’ QGIS Repository at http://plugins.qgis.org/plugins/ or in external repositories and are maintained by the individual authors. Detailed documentation about the usage, minimum QGIS version, home page, authors,and other important information are provided for the plugins in the Official repository. For other external repositories, documentation might be available with the external plugins themselves. External plugins documentation is not included in this manual.

To install or activate a plugin, go to Plugins ‣ Manage and install plugins....

Installed external python plugins are placed under ~/.qgis2/python/plugins folder. Home directory (denoted by above ~) on Windows is usually something like C:\Documents and Settings\(user) (on Windows XP or earlier) or C:\Users\(user). On some platforms (e.g., macOS), the .qgis2 folder is hidden by default.

Paths to Custom C++ plugins libraries can also be added under Settings ‣ Options ‣ System.


According to the plugin manager settings, QGIS main interface can display a blue link in the status bar to inform you that there are updates for your installed plugins or new plugins available.

The Plugins Dialog

The menus in the Plugins dialog allow the user to install, uninstall and upgrade plugins in different ways. Each plugin has some metadata displayed in the right panel:

  • information on whether the plugin is experimental
  • description
  • rating vote(s) (you can vote for your preferred plugin!)
  • tags
  • some useful links to the home page, tracker and code repository
  • author(s)
  • version available

At the top of the dialog, a Search function helps you find any plugin using metadata information (author, name, description...). It is available in nearly every menu (except transformSettings Settings).

The All tab

In the showPluginManager All tab, all the available plugins are listed, including both core and external plugins. Use [Upgrade all] to look for new versions of the plugins. Furthermore, you can use [Install plugin] if a plugin is listed but not installed, [Uninstall plugin] as well as [Reinstall plugin] if a plugin is installed. An installed plugin can be temporarily de/activated using the checkbox.


The showPluginManager All tab

The Installed tab

In pluginInstalled Installed tab, you can find only the installed plugins. The external plugins can be uninstalled and reinstalled using the [Uninstall plugin] and [Reinstall plugin] buttons. You can [Upgrade all] here as well.


The pluginInstalled Installed tab

The Not installed tab

The plugin Not installed tab lists all plugins available that are not installed. You can use the [Install plugin] button to implement a plugin into QGIS.


The plugin Not installed tab

The Upgradeable and New tabs

The pluginUpgrade Upgradeable and pluginNew New tabs are enabled when new plugins are added to the repository or a new version of an installed plugin is released. If you activated checkbox Show also experimental plugins in the transformSettings Settings menu, those also appear in the list giving you opportunity to early test upcoming tools.

Installation can be done with the [Install plugin], [Upgrade plugin] or [Upgrade all] buttons.


The pluginUpgrade Upgradeable tab

The Invalid tab

The pluginInvalid Invalid tab lists all installed plugins that are currently broken for any reason (missing dependency, errors while loading, incompatible functions with QGIS version...). You can try the [Reinstall plugin] button to fix an invalidated plugin but most of the times the fix will be elsewhere (install some libraries, look for another compatible plugin or help to upgrade the broken one).


The pluginInvalid Invalid tab

The Settings tab

In the transformSettings Settings tab, you can use the following options:

  • checkbox Check for updates on startup. Whenever a new plugin or a plugin update is available, QGIS will inform you ‘every time QGIS starts’, ‘once a day’, ‘every 3 days’, ‘every week’, ‘every 2 weeks’ or ‘every month’.
  • checkbox Show also experimental plugins. QGIS will show you plugins in early stages of development, which are generally unsuitable for production use.
  • checkbox Show also deprecated plugins. Because they use functions that are no longer available in QGIS, these plugins are set deprecated and generally unsuitable for production use. They appear among invalid plugins list.

To add external author repositories, click [Add...] in the Plugin repositories section. If you do not want one or more of the added repositories, they can be disabled via the [Edit...] button, or completely removed with the [Delete] button.

The default QGIS repository is an open repository and you don’t need any authentication to access it. You can however deploy your own plugin repository and require an authentication (basic authentication, PKI). You can get more information on QGIS authentication support in Authentication chapter.


The transformSettings Settings tab