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QGIS Introduction: Opening QGIS and Screen Layout

Open QGIS

When you expand the QGIS folder from the Start menu, you will see the following (from an install of 2.14.17):

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Screen Layout

  1. File Bar - users can start a new map, save a map, open an already saved map, and open the print canvas.
  2. Menu Bar - users can navigate to analysis tools via the Vector and Raster menus, and also access layer settings, bookmarks, etc.
  3. Map Navigation Bar - use this when you want to zoom in and out of the map, go back to the previous extent, and zoom to the full extent of the map.
  4. Attributes Bar - users can select features, measure features, and open the attribute table in this bar.
  5. Manage Layers Bar - where users add shapefiles, raster layers, etc.
  6. Layers - the area where your shapefiles, tables, etc are viewed.  Users can change the viewing order of the layers, open the layer properties, and open the attribute table in this area.
  7. QGIS Browser - where you can view the folders for your data.
  8. Status Bar - gives users information about the coordinate system for the map, the scale bar, and you can view the log messages.

Open QGIS and choosing an Application

There are several options to choose from when you expand the QGIS folder from the Windows Start menu. (Below is from an installation of version 2.14.17). To perform analysis and build a map, you'll typically want to choose QGIS Desktop (5 & 6, below).

  1. GRASS GIS: Opens the GRASS command line and GUI interfaces.  GRASS (Geographic Resources Analysis Support System) allows users to complete advanced spatial analysis on raster data.
  2. OSGeo4W: Standalone software packaged for Linux distributions.
  3. QGIS Browser with GRASS: QGIS Browser as well as the GRASS software
  4. QGIS Broswer: Preview your data and look at the metadata
  5. QGIS Desktop with GRASS: QGIS Desktop as well as the GRASS software for advanced raster analysis
  6. QGIS Desktop 2x: Analyze geospatial data and create maps
  7. Qt Designer with QGIS  custom widgets: Standalone software that allows users to build custom GUIs
  8. SAGA GIS (System for Automated Geoscientific Analyses): Open source standalone software used to run geoscientific modules.
  9. Setup

Screen Layout