QML Modules

A module is a set of QML content files that can be imported as a unit into a QML application. Modules can be used to organize QML content into independent units, and they can use a versioning mechanism that allows for independent upgradability of the modules.

While QML component files within the same directory are automatically accessible within the global namespace, components defined elsewhere must be imported explicitly using the import statement to import them as modules. For example, an import statement is required to use:

  • A component defined in another QML file that is not in the same directory
  • A component defined in a QML file located on a remote server
  • A QML extension plugin library (unless the plugin is installed in the same directory)
  • A JavaScript file (note this must be imported using named imports)

An import statement includes the module name, and possibly a version number. This can be seen in the snippet commonly found at the top of QML files:

import QtQuick 1.0

This imports version 1.0 of the "QtQuick" module into the global namespace. (The QML library itself must be imported to use any of the QML Elements, as they are not included in the global namespace by default.)

The Qt module is an installed module; it is found in the import path. There are two types of QML modules: located modules (defined by a URL) and installed modules (defined by a URI).

Located Modules

Located modules can reside on the local filesystem or a network resource, and are referred to by a quoted location URL that specifies the filesystem or network URL. They allow any directory with QML content to be imported as a module, whether the directory is on the local filesystem or a remote server.

For example, a QML project may have a separate directory for a set of custom UI components. These components can be accessed by importing the directory using a relative or absolute path, like this:

Directory structureContents of application.qml
    |- MyComponents
        |- CheckBox.qml
        |- Slider.qml
        |- Window.qml
    |- Main
        |- application.qml
import "../MyComponents"

Window {
    Slider {
        // ...
    CheckBox {
        // ...

Similarly, if the directory resided on a network source, it could be imported like this:

import ""
import "" 1.0

A located module can also be imported as a network resource if it has a qmldir file in the directory that specifies the QML files to be made available by the module. For example, if the MyComponents directory contained a qmldir file defined like this:

Slider 1.0 Slider.qml
CheckBox 1.0 CheckBox.qml
Window 1.0 Window.qml

If the MyComponents directory was then hosted as a network resource, it could be imported as a module, like this:

import ""

Window {
    Slider {
        // ...
    CheckBox {
        // ...

with an optional "1.0" version specification. Notice the import would fail if a later version was used, as the qmldir file specifies that these elements are only available in the 1.0 version.

Note that modules imported as a network resource allow only access to components defined in QML files; components defined by C++ QML extension plugins are not available.

Installed Modules

Installed modules are modules that are made available through the QML import path, as defined by QDeclarativeEngine::importPathList(), or modules defined within C++ application code. An installed module is referred to by a URI, which allows the module to be imported from QML code without specifying a complete filesystem path or network resource URL.

When importing an installed module, an un-quoted URI is used, with a mandatory version number:

import QtQuick 1.0
import 1.0

When a module is imported, the QML engine searches the QML import path for a matching module. The root directory of the module must contain a qmldir file that defines the QML files and/or C++ QML extension plugins that are made available to the module.

Modules that are installed into the import path translate the URI into directory names. For example, the qmldir file of the module must be located in the subpath com/nokia/qml/mymodule/qmldir somewhere in the QML import path. In addition it is possible to store different versions of the module in subdirectories of its own. For example, a version 2.1 of the module could be located under com/nokia/qml/mymodule.2/qmldir or com/nokia/qml/mymodule.2.1/qmldir. The engine will automatically load the module which matches best.

The import path, as returned by QDeclarativeEngine::importPathList(), defines the default locations to be searched by the QML engine for a matching module. By default, this list contains:

  • The directory of the current file
  • The location specified by QLibraryInfo::ImportsPath
  • Paths specified by the QML_IMPORT_PATH environment variable

Additional import paths can be added through QDeclarativeEngine::addImportPath() or the QML_IMPORT_PATH environment variable. When running the QML Viewer, you can also use the -I option to add an import path.

Creating Installed Modules

As an example, suppose the MyQMLProject directory in the previous example was located on the local filesystem at C:\qml\projects\MyQMLProject. The MyComponents subdirectory could be made available as an installed module by adding a qmldir file to the MyComponents directory that looked like this:

Slider 1.0 Slider.qml
CheckBox 1.0 CheckBox.qml
Window 1.0 Window.qml

Providing the path C:\qml is added to the QML import path using any of the methods listed previously, a QML file located anywhere on the local filesystem can then import the module as shown below, without referring to the module's absolute filesystem location:

import projects.MyQMLProject.MyComponents 1.0

Window {
    Slider {
        // ...
    CheckBox {
        // ...

Installed modules are also accessible as a network resource. If the C:\qml directory was hosted as and this URL was added to the QML import path, the above QML code would work just the same.

Note that modules imported as a network resource allow only access to components defined in QML files; components defined by C++ QML extension plugins are not available.

Creating Installed Modules in C++

C++ applications can define installed modules directly within the application using qmlRegisterType(). For example, the Writing QML extensions with C++ tutorial defines a C++ class named PieChart and makes this type available to QML by calling qmlRegisterType():

qmlRegisterType<PieChart>("Charts", 1, 0, "PieChart");

This allows the application's QML files to use the PieChart type by importing the declared Charts module:

import Charts 1.0

For QML plugins, the module URI is automatically passed to QDeclarativeExtensionPlugin::registerTypes(). This method can be reimplemented by the developer to register the necessary types for the module. Below is the registerTypes() implementation from the QML plugins example:

class QExampleQmlPlugin : public QDeclarativeExtensionPlugin
    void registerTypes(const char *uri)
        Q_ASSERT(uri == QLatin1String("org.qtproject.TimeExample"));
        qmlRegisterType<TimeModel>(uri, 1, 0, "Time");

Once the plugin is built and installed, and includes a qmldir file, the module can be imported from QML, like this:

import 1.0

Unlike QML types defined by QML files, a QML type defined in a C++ extension plugin cannot be loaded by a module that is imported as a network resource.

Namespaces: Using Named Imports

By default, when a module is imported, its contents are imported into the global namespace. You may choose to import the module into another namespace, either to allow identically-named types to be referenced, or purely for readability.

To import a module into a specific namespace, use the as keyword:

import QtQuick 1.0 as QtLibrary
import "../MyComponents" as MyComponents
import 1.0 as MyModule

Types from these modules can then only be used when qualified by the namespace:

QtLibrary.Rectangle {
    // ...

MyComponents.Slider {
    // ...

MyModule.SomeComponent {
    // ...

Multiple modules can be imported into the same namespace in the same way that multiple modules can be imported into the global namespace:

import QtQuick 1.0 as Nokia
import Ovi 1.0 as Nokia

JavaScript Files

JavaScript files must always be imported with a named import:

import "somescript.js" as MyScript

Item {
    Component.onCompleted: MyScript.doSomething()

The qualifier ("MyScript" in the above example) must be unique within the QML document. Unlike ordinary modules, multiple scripts cannot be imported into the same namespace.

Writing a qmldir File

A qmldir file is a metadata file for a module that maps all type names in the module to versioned QML files. It is required for installed modules, and located modules that are loaded from a network source.

It is defined by a plain text file named "qmldir" that contains one or more lines of the form:

# <Comment>
<TypeName> [<InitialVersion>] <File>
internal <TypeName> <File>
plugin <Name> [<Path>]
typeinfo <File>

# <Comment> lines are used for comments. They are ignored by the QML engine.

<TypeName> [<InitialVersion>] <File> lines are used to add QML files as types. <TypeName> is the type being made available, the optional <InitialVersion> is a version number, and <File> is the (relative) file name of the QML file defining the type.

Installed files do not need to import the module of which they are a part, as they can refer to the other QML files in the module as relative (local) files, but if the module is imported from a remote location, those files must nevertheless be listed in the qmldir file. Types which you do not wish to export to users of your module may be marked with the internal keyword: internal <TypeName> <File>.

The same type can be provided by different files in different versions, in which case later versions (e.g. 1.2) must precede earlier versions (e.g. 1.0), since the first name-version match is used and a request for a version of a type can be fulfilled by one defined in an earlier version of the module. If a user attempts to import a version earlier than the earliest provided or later than the latest provided, the import produces a runtime error, but if the user imports a version within the range of versions provided, even if no type is specific to that version, no error will occur.

A single module, in all versions, may only be provided in a single directory (and a single qmldir file). If multiple are provided, only the first in the search path will be used (regardless of whether other versions are provided by directories later in the search path).

The versioning system ensures that a given QML file will work regardless of the version of installed software, since a versioned import only imports types for that version, leaving other identifiers available, even if the actual installed version might otherwise provide those identifiers.

plugin <Name> [<Path>] lines are used to add QML C++ plugins to the module. <Name> is the name of the library. It is usually not the same as the file name of the plugin binary, which is platform dependent; e.g. the library MyAppTypes would produce on Linux and MyAppTypes.dll on Windows.

<Path> is an optional argument specifying either an absolute path to the directory containing the plugin file, or a relative path from the directory containing the qmldir file to the directory containing the plugin file. By default the engine searches for the plugin library in the directory that contains the qmldir file. The plugin search path can be queried with QDeclarativeEngine::pluginPathList() and modified using QDeclarativeEngine::addPluginPath(). When running the QML Viewer, use the -P option to add paths to the plugin search path.

typeinfo <File> lines add type description files to the module that can be read by QML tools such as Qt Creator to get information about the types defined by the module's plugins. <File> is the (relative) file name of a .qmltypes file.

Without such a file QML tools may be unable to offer features such as code completion for the types defined in your plugins.


The QML_IMPORT_TRACE environment variable can be useful for debugging when there are problems with finding and loading modules. See Debugging module imports for more information.

Writing a qmltypes file

QML modules may refer to one or more type information files in their qmldir file. These usually have the .qmltypes extension and are read by external tools to gain information about types defined in plugins.

As such qmltypes files have no effect on the functionality of a QML module. Their only use is to allow tools such as Qt Creator to provide code completion, error checking and other functionality to users of your module.

Any module that uses plugins should also ship a type description file.

The best way to create a qmltypes file for your module is to generate it using the qmlplugindump tool that is provided with Qt.

Example: If your module is in /tmp/imports/My/Module, you could run

qmlplugindump My.Module 1.0 /tmp/imports > /tmp/imports/My/Module/mymodule.qmltypes

to generate type information for your module. Afterwards, add the line

typeinfo mymodule.qmltypes

to /tmp/imports/My/Module/qmldir to register it.

While the qmldump tool covers most cases, it does not work if:

  • The plugin uses a QDeclarativeCustomParser. The component that uses the custom parser will not get its members documented.
  • The plugin can not be loaded. In particular if you cross-compiled the plugin for a different architecture, qmldump will not be able to load it.

In case you have to create a qmltypes file manually or need to adjust an existing one, this is the file format:

import QtQuick.tooling 1.1

// There always is a single Module object that contains all
// Component objects.
Module {
    // A Component object directly corresponds to a type exported
    // in a plugin with a call to qmlRegisterType.
    Component {

        // The name is a unique identifier used to refer to this type.
        // It is recommended you simply use the C++ type name.
        name: "QDeclarativeAbstractAnimation"

        // The name of the prototype Component.
        prototype: "QObject"

        // The name of the default property.
        defaultProperty: "animations"

        // The name of the type containing attached properties
        // and methods.
        attachedType: "QDeclarativeAnimationAttached"

        // The list of exports determines how a type can be imported.
        // Each string has the format "URI/Name version" and matches the
        // arguments to qmlRegisterType. Usually types are only exported
        // once, if at all.
        // If the "URI/" part of the string is missing that means the
        // type should be put into the package defined by the URI the
        // module was imported with.
        // For example if this module was imported with 'import Foo 4.8'
        // the Animation object would be found in the package Foo and
        // QtQuick.
        exports: [
            "Animation 4.7",
            "QtQuick/Animation 1.0"

        Property {
            name: "animations";
            type: "QDeclarativeAbstractAnimation"
            // defaults to false, whether this property is read only
            isReadonly: true
            // defaults to false, whether the type of this property was a pointer in C++
            isPointer: true
            // defaults to false: whether the type actually is a QDeclarativeListProperty<type>
            isList: true
            // defaults to 0: the minor version that introduced this property
            revision: 1
        Property { name: "loops"; type: "int" }
        Property { name: "name"; type: "string" }
        Property { name: "loopsEnum"; type: "Loops" }

        Enum {
            name: "Loops"
            values: {
                "Infinite": -2,
                "OnceOnly": 1

        // Signal and Method work the same way. The inner Parameter
        // declarations also support the isReadonly, isPointer and isList
        // attributes which mean the same as for Property
        Method { name: "restart" }
        Signal { name: "started"; revision: 2 }
        Signal {
            name: "runningChanged"
            Parameter { type: "bool" }
            Parameter { name: "foo"; type: "bool" }

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