Yesterday I wrote a new little plugin for QGIS. It is available here: http://plugins.qgis.org/plugins/VectorTransparency/ or if you prefer to get it from GIT then here: https://github.com/timlinux/VectorTransparency. You can also get the plugin by adding the new QGIS official repository (which will be available by default from QGIS 1.8 onwards) to your repository list:
The plugin is very simple but saves me hours of work. When I have complex symbologies e.g. a vector layer with many categories and I want to update the transparency level of all symbols, the process is very tedious and involves clicking on each symbol and shifting the transparency slider until I get the correct value. I need to repeat this for each symbol in the layer. My new plugin does all this in one go for you. Here are a couple of screenies that illustrate its use.
Update: It seems doing this in the symbology tab of QGIS is possible – just select all the symbol classes, right click and choose set transparency from the context menu. I’ll leave my plugin foating around though since it is probably quicker to use when you want to update many layers. Thanks to the folks on #QGIS irc channel for bringing this to my attention.