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ArcGIS Pro

Using The BETWEEN Operator In QGIS

How to use the BETWEEN operator In QGIS

The BETWEEN operator in QGIS is used primarily within the expression builder to specify a range of values for filtering or defining attributes. It is quite useful in querying numeric, date, or text data types.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you might use the BETWEEN operator in QGIS:

1. Open Attribute Table or Query Builder

You can use the BETWEEN operator in various places in QGIS, such as in the Query Builder for layer filtering or within the Field Calculator for creating or modifying data. To start, decide where you need to apply the filter:

  • For filtering displayed features: Right-click the layer, choose Filter... from the context menu, and open the Query Builder.
  • For data calculation or modification: Open the Attribute Table of your layer, click on the Open Field Calculator icon.

2. Writing the BETWEEN Query

In the expression area (either in the Query Builder or the Field Calculator), use the BETWEEN operator to define your range. The basic syntax is:

[field_name] BETWEEN value1 AND value2

Here field_name is the column you’re querying against, and value1 and value2 are the start and end of your range, respectively.


  • Numeric Example: If you’re filtering elevation data and you want to find areas between 100 and 200 meters, you would write:
  elevation BETWEEN 100 AND 200
  • Date Example: To filter records between specific dates:
  date_field BETWEEN '2021-01-01' AND '2021-12-31'
  • Text Example: This is less common, but if you have a range of text values (like categories or names that follow a specific order), you could use:
  name_field BETWEEN 'A' AND 'F'

3. Execute or Apply the Query

  • In the Query Builder, after writing your BETWEEN expression, click Test to make sure it returns results without errors. If everything looks good, click OK to apply the filter.
  • In the Field Calculator, ensure you’ve configured any additional settings (like creating a new field or updating an existing one), then click OK to run the calculation with your BETWEEN criteria.

4. Check and Adjust

After applying your expression:

  • Verify that the layer displays correctly based on your filter or that your data calculation reflects the changes you expect.
  • Adjust the query if needed by revisiting the Query Builder or Field Calculator.

Additional Tips:

  • Combining Conditions: You can combine the BETWEEN operator with other conditions using AND or OR to refine your query further.
  • Using NOT: If you want to select values outside a specific range, use NOT BETWEEN, like:
  elevation NOT BETWEEN 100 AND 200

Using the BETWEEN operator effectively in QGIS can significantly aid in data analysis and visualization by allowing you to filter and manipulate data within specified ranges easily.

Frequently asked questions about using the BETWEEN operator in QGIS:

1. What data types can I use with the BETWEEN operator in QGIS?

Answer: The BETWEEN operator can be used with numeric, date, and text data types. For numeric fields, it checks if values fall within a specified range (inclusive). For dates, it filters entries between two date points, and for text, it can be used to filter between alphabetical ranges, though this is less common and context-dependent.

2. How do I use BETWEEN for non-inclusive ranges?

Answer: If you want to make the range exclusive (not include the boundary values), you would need to use the > and < operators instead:

   field > lower_value AND field < upper_value

This explicitly excludes the boundary values from the results.

3. Can I use BETWEEN with time data?

Answer: Yes, BETWEEN can be used to filter records based on specific times if your data includes time fields. The time should be formatted correctly in your dataset (e.g., HH:MM:SS):

   time_field BETWEEN '08:00:00' AND '17:00:00'

4. What is the difference between using BETWEEN and using >= and <=?

Answer: The BETWEEN operator is essentially a shorthand for combining >= and <=. It simplifies the syntax and improves readability. Functionally, they are equivalent:

   field BETWEEN 10 AND 20

is the same as

   field >= 10 AND field <= 20

5. How can I combine BETWEEN with other operators in a complex query?

Answer: BETWEEN can be combined with AND, OR, and NOT to create more complex queries. For example:

   (field1 BETWEEN 10 AND 20) AND (field2 < 5 OR field3 > 15)

6. Are there performance considerations when using BETWEEN?

Answer: Generally, BETWEEN is optimized and should perform similarly to using the equivalent >= and <= conditions. However, performance can vary depending on indexing, the specific database backend, and dataset size.

7. How do I handle NULL values with BETWEEN?

Answer: BETWEEN does not match NULL values. If the field can contain NULLs and you need to account for them, consider explicitly checking for NULL:

   (field IS NULL OR field BETWEEN 10 AND 20)

8. Can I use BETWEEN in the Field Calculator for creating new fields?

Answer: Yes, BETWEEN can be used in the Field Calculator to derive new field values based on conditions within a range. For instance, you might assign a category or score based on numeric ranges:

   CASE WHEN (population BETWEEN 1000 AND 5000) THEN 'Small' ELSE 'Large' END

9. Is it possible to use BETWEEN with layer styling?

Answer: Yes, you can use BETWEEN within the expression builder when defining rules for graduated or categorized styles. This allows you to apply visual styles based on value ranges in your data.

10. What are some troubleshooting tips if my BETWEEN query doesn’t work?

Answer: Common issues include:

  • Syntax errors: Ensure you use the correct format and data types.
  • Data mismatches: Check that the data type of your field matches the values you are comparing (e.g., dates are formatted correctly).
  • Overlooking NULL values: Remember that BETWEEN does not include NULL values unless explicitly handled.
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.