Organising photos on your PC

Manipulating Exif Data – Modifying and Deleting Metadata

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Almost all modern cameras and smartphones support the Exif standard for storing metadata in digital photos. Information such as the creation date, exposure times and ISO values as well as the camera type and geo-location are stored directly in the image file. The data collected in this way can be a great help when archiving photos; Many programs for image management and editing use the data to sort the images.

Settings such as date and time can be made directly on the camera.

Settings such as date and time can be made directly on the camera.

This makes it all the more annoying if the date on the camera used was not set correctly and the order of the images is no longer correct. Especially if you take photos with several devices like a camera and a smartphone, you will be familiar with the problem that not all devices show the same data. If, for example, you want to add photos to a photo book using software such as ifolor Designer, it’s incredibly helpful to sort them correctly and reliably. In some cases, it can also be useful to delete or edit the meta-information of the photos – for example, if images are to be published on the Internet. We will show you how you can quickly and easily manipulate the Exif data of your digital images.

Which metadata can be stored?

Typical information that can be stored directly in the image files are date and time, focal length and aperture, exposure time and ISO value. Modern cameras and smartphones equipped with sensors can also store geographic coordinates. In total, there are now more than 100 standardised meta-data.
In addition to the Exif standard, there is also so-called IPTC data. The standard developed by the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) is primarily used in photojournalism and allows the storage of additional information such as copyright notice, author and description as well as further references to the contents of the photo such as keywords, details of the location, or titles.

How can the data be extracted?

Most image viewing and editing programs are able to read the metadata. There are also a number of special programs such as Exif Viewer or Exifer (both free) that can display the information. The data can also be output with an online Exif Viewer. The advantage is that no additional software has to be installed on your own computer.

In addition, most operating systems themselves offer the option of displaying Exif data from images. With almost all popular operating systems, the metadata can be retrieved directly via the properties dialog of the respective files.

Editing and deleting Exif data

If there were errors when saving the metadata, for example due to an incorrect setting of the date on the camera, the corresponding information can still be changed afterwards. Deleting Exif data can also be useful, as it can sometimes hide private information from others.

Different programs can be used depending on the type of data to be processed. The following is a non-exhaustive list of software that can be used to manipulate Exif data:

Exifer (free, Windows)

With the freeware Exifer, all hidden meta information of photos and images can be read and edited. In addition to Exif data, the tool also provides an overview of the stored IPTC information.

EXIF Date Changer (free, Windows)

If only the time and date of recording need to be changed, the free EXIF Date Changer program can help. The freeware tool is able to read and change both the recording date and the modification date.
Furthermore, individual additional metadata can be changed with this tool. However, not all possible meta information is supported.

Reveal (free, Mac)

There is also software for Mac OS users to manipulate Exif data. The free software Reveal offers the possibility to read and change meta information. The same applies here as for all other programs: Once the existing information has been overwritten, this change can no longer be undone.

Exif Tag Remover (free, Windows)

To delete all meta information of a photo, you can use the freeware Exif Tag Remover. The program reliably removes all stored Exif data from an image file. The original can be retained and a copy can be generated that contains no Exif information.

Windows Explorer (Windows)

Some Exif data can be read and changed directly in the properties dialog of the respective image under Windows in the Explorer. Just right-click on the image file. Under the item Properties – Details the existing information can be viewed and adjusted if necessary. Unfortunately, Windows Explorer does not support all Exif information either.

Exif data in the properties dialog of Windows Explorer

In Windows Explorer, the Exif data of images can be read directly in the properties dialog.

In addition to the free programs mentioned above, well-established photo editing programs are also often able to read and (at least partially) modify Exif data. Paid standard programs such as Adobe Lightroom (Mac and Windows), Apple Photos (Mac) and Aperture (Mac) can help you edit the meta information. The free software GIMP now also supports the modification of Exif information. You can access the image metadata simply by opening an image or photo from the Image tab. Afterwards you can select metadata like GPS, description or categories and edit them afterwards.

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