Metadata & Windows File Properties

In answer to many questions about the use of Windows File Properties for tagging files and trying to view photo tagging in Windows I’ve done a couple of experiments to make this more graphic.

I could simply advise you, as I’ve done in the past, to get some decent software, such as ExifToolGUI, XnView or GeoSetter which are all free. Or Photo Mechanic or IDimager’s Photo Supreme that will cost you. Do something besides trying to work with Windows File Properties which uses non-standard terminology and is basically a hacked together version of god-knows-what.

I’ll go through two examples of writing metadata with something else and then reading it in Windows. And then adding metadata with Windows File Properties and reading it elsewhere so you can get an idea of what goes on.

Metadata added with Photo Mechanic:

Caption: “Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1953,” index and images, FamilySearch (, Wm E Beeken, 1917.
Keywords: William Emmett Beeken
Title/Object name: death certificate
City: Sandusky, Erie County
State/Province: Ohio
Country: United States
Country code: USA
Source: FamilySearch
Copyright: n/a

Windows File Properties reads:

Title: death certificate
Tags: William Emmett Beeken
Copyright: n/a

Amazingly, although it’s not possible to see information in the standard Caption, Location and Source fields, Windows is able to find the content through its search function. It won’t find everything which you’ll find out if you use it.

Although I didn’t need it here, the only thing I would have been able to add in Windows File Properties was ‘Author’ which shows up in the ‘Creator/Photographer’ field in Photo Mechanic and GeoSetter.

Example #2

Metadata added with Photo Mechanic:

Keywords: Rufus W Stanley, Mayme G Ellis, Celesta F Stanley
Title/Object name: gravestone
City: Four Oaks, Johnston County
Location: Bethel Original Freewill Baptist Church Cemetery
State/Province: North Carolina
Country: United States
Country code: USA
Creator/Photographer: Scott Connor Barnard
Source: Find A Grave
Copyright: ©Scott Connor Barnard
Contact Emails:

Windows File Properties reads:

Title: gravestone
Tags: Rufus W Stanley, Mayme G Ellis, Celesta F Stanley
Authors: Scott Connor Barnard
Copyright: ©Scott Connor Barnard

It’s also possible to add some camera information in Windows but that’s generally already set in the maker notes by the camera itself.

Adding metadata using Windows File Properties

It’s very limited but doing what I can:

Adding Metadata, Windows File Properties

and then viewing it in Photo Mechanic:

Viewing Metadata Added in Windows File Properties

Besides looking a bit skimpy, what I add to the ‘Title’ field in Windows is going to show up under ‘Caption’ AND Title/Object Name, two entirely different fields in standard photo metadata.

Comments don’t show up at all in IPTC metadata although I am able to see it under ‘XP Comment’ in both XnView and GeoSetter.

This only describes my results using JPG’s. I had similar results using a TIFF file.

For viewing metadata, XnView is the simplest I’ve found. It comes in both a desktop and portable version.

Viewing Metadata in XnView

GeoSetter also does a thorough job of it, showing every last morsel of metadata that’s in your images.

2 thoughts on “Metadata & Windows File Properties

  1. Geoff Coupe

    JL – nice overview. Just one minor correction: IDimager is the name of the company, the product you refer to is Photo Supreme. Just to add to the confusion, the previous Digital Asset Management product from the company *was* called IDimager… Cheers.

    1. JL Beeken Post author

      Thanks, Geoff. I know what you mean. The link does go to Photo Supreme although the top of the page says IDimager and Photo Supreme only in the non-bolded text so that also adds …

      Anyway, I’ve heard it’s your cataloging software of choice and I believe you so I thought it was worth a mention.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Powered by sweet Captcha