At this point you’ve installed QGIS be it on a MAC/Windows/Linux Box and you’ve started it. So what do you see?

The numbered areas as as follows:

  1. Menu Bar – this is where you can issue commands, change options,  and expose more tools.
  2. Tool Bar – there are a number of toolbars you can use in QGIS. Right click in this area and you can turn them on or off.
  3. Layers Panel – You data layers appear here.
  4. Browser – Locate data on your computer or from other sources here.
  5. Map Canvas – Your data layers display here.
  6. Status Bar – Get information about QGIS such as Log Files, Projections, and Coordinates.
  7. Processing Toolbox – Here is where your major processing happens like buffers and clips. Some of these commands are duplicated in the vector and raster menus mentioned in 1.
  8. Python Interface – Do your scripting here.
  9. Issue commands from your keyboard like bufers and clips and other things.

QGIS also has toolbars and panels. To add toolbars and panels right click in the toolbar area of QGIS. You can add a Layer Styling Panel, a GPS Panel, a Advanced Digitizing Panel, and a Label Toolbar.

Your most important toolbar starting out will be your Data Source Manager Toolbar:

From let to right.

  • Open Data Source Manager
  • Create a Geopackage layer
  • Create a Shapefile Layer
  • Create a Spatialite Layer
  • Create a Temporary Scratch Layer
  • Create a Virtual Layer

The Data Source Manager can add all your data to QGIS. From here you can add, delimited text files, raster files, WMS Sources, and create database connections.

Data Source Manager Toolbar

There is one more way to add data – The Browser!

The Browser will let you explore your computer from QGIS and add GIS data. All you have to do is navigate to your data location and frag and drop it into QGIS.