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ArcGIS Pro

Opening an APRX File in QGIS

Step-by-Step Guide to Opening an APRX File in QGIS Using the SLYR Plugin

Install QGIS:

If you haven’t already, download and install the latest version of QGIS. Here are install guides for Windows and Mac

Install the SLYR Plugin:

  • Open QGIS.
  • Navigate to the Plugins menu and select Manage and Install Plugins....
  • In the search bar, type “SLYR” and select the SLYR plugin from the results.
  • Click Install Plugin. Wait for the installation to complete and then close the Plugins window.

License the SLYR Plugin (if needed):

  • The SLYR plugin comes in a Community Edition and a proprietary version. For full APRX conversion capabilities, you’ll need the proprietary version.
  • Purchase a license from North Road’s website or the provided vendor.
  • Once you have the license, follow the provided instructions to activate the full version of the SLYR plugin in QGIS.

Open the APRX File in QGIS:

  • In QGIS, navigate to the Browser Panel on the left side.
  • Locate the APRX file on your computer using the Browser Panel.
  • Right-click on the APRX file and select the option to open or import it. The SLYR plugin will automatically handle the conversion and display the contents of the APRX file in QGIS.

Save as a QGIS Project (optional):

  • Once the APRX file is opened and displayed in QGIS, you can save it as a QGIS project for future use.
  • Navigate to the File menu and select Save As.
  • Choose a location on your computer, provide a name for the project, and save it with a .qgz or .qgs extension.

Adjust Layers and Styles (if needed):

  • Depending on the complexity of the APRX file and the symbology used, you might need to make some adjustments to the layers or styles to achieve the desired appearance in QGIS.
  • Use the Layers Panel to toggle visibility, change layer order, or adjust layer properties.
  • Double-click on a layer to open its Properties window, where you can adjust styles, labels, and other settings.

Finalize and Explore:

  • Once you’re satisfied with the appearance and settings of the imported APRX content, you can use QGIS’s tools and features to further analyze, edit, or visualize the data.

Remember, while the SLYR plugin does an excellent job of converting APRX files to QGIS, there might be some specific Esri functionalities or symbologies that don’t have a direct equivalent in QGIS. Always double-check the imported content to ensure it meets your needs.

Frequently asked questions


Can I directly open an APRX file in QGIS?

No, QGIS does not natively support APRX files. However, with the help of plugins like SLYR, you can convert and open APRX files in QGIS.

SLYR Plugin Specific:

What is the SLYR plugin, and how does it help in opening APRX files in QGIS?

The SLYR plugin is a tool developed by North Road to facilitate the conversion of Esri documents, including APRX files, into QGIS. It allows users to import and work with Esri projects within the QGIS environment.

Is the SLYR plugin free, or is there a cost associated with it?

The SLYR plugin comes in two versions: a Community Edition, which is free, and a proprietary version, which comes at a cost. The proprietary version offers more comprehensive conversion capabilities.

What’s the difference between the Community Edition and the proprietary version of the SLYR plugin?

The proprietary version offers nearly complete conversion capabilities, while the Community Edition has limited features, which are unlocked as funding goals are met.

How often is the SLYR plugin updated?

The frequency of updates can vary, but North Road is committed to improving and expanding the plugin’s capabilities. Users should check North Road’s official website or communication channels for update announcements.

Conversion Accuracy:

Will the layers, symbology, and layout from the APRX file look the same in QGIS after conversion?

The SLYR plugin aims to maintain a high degree of accuracy during conversion. However, due to differences between Esri and QGIS software, there might be minor discrepancies in appearance or functionality.

Are there any known issues or limitations when converting APRX files to QGIS using the SLYR plugin?

While the SLYR plugin is robust, there might be specific Esri functionalities or symbologies that don’t have a direct equivalent in QGIS. It’s always recommended to review the imported content to ensure it meets your needs.

Licensing and Support:

How do I purchase and activate a license for the proprietary version of the SLYR plugin?

Licenses can be purchased directly from North Road’s website or authorized vendors. After purchase, you’ll receive instructions on how to activate the full version within QGIS.

Is there any support or documentation available for the SLYR plugin?

Yes, North Road provides support for license holders and often has documentation or user guides available for the plugin.

Technical Process:

How do I install and set up the SLYR plugin in QGIS?

Within QGIS, navigate to the Plugins menu, select Manage and Install Plugins..., search for “SLYR”, and install it.

Once the APRX file is imported into QGIS, can I save it as a native QGIS project file?

Yes, after importing the APRX file, you can save it as a QGIS project with a .qgz or .qgs extension.

Are there any specific system requirements or QGIS versions needed to use the SLYR plugin?

It’s recommended to use the latest version of QGIS for compatibility. Specific system requirements would be detailed on North Road’s website or within the plugin’s documentation.

General GIS Questions:

Why would someone want to move from ArcGIS Pro to QGIS?

Reasons can vary: QGIS is open-source and free, offers certain functionalities not present in ArcGIS, or an organization might be looking to diversify its GIS tools.

More resources for Qgis users

About the Author
I'm Daniel O'Donohue, the voice and creator behind The MapScaping Podcast ( A podcast for the geospatial community ). With a professional background as a geospatial specialist, I've spent years harnessing the power of spatial to unravel the complexities of our world, one layer at a time.

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