ExifTool: Metadata management

ExifTool is a free application that will let you read, write and create metadata for a huge number of file formats though a command line interface with simple and advanced options.

Installation & Requirements

No installation is required for ExifTool. Simply download the required file and extract it to a folder of your choice. You can install it and use it through the command line by renaming it to “ExifTool.exe” and placing it in your Windows folder. The application is standalone and can be run in all versions of Windows, Mac OS X and UNIX-based operating systems.


From the moment you run the application you will understand that it is reserved for use by advanced users. You can only run the application through the command line which already requires some technical knowledge. Then you also have to learn about all the different commands the application offers. Although it might seem like a small utility, it is actually extremely powerful and offers tons of options that you have to learn. Furthermore, the dedicated forum for the application is a very good source for tutorials, guides and general information about metadata and the application itself.

Moving on from that, you can also use the application if you are a less experienced user simply for extracting metadata out of your files. This is extremely easy to do.  You can simply drag and drop a file to the executable file of the application and it will automatically open a command line window containing all the metadata about that file. Dropping multiple files is also supported and they will be separated by a line containing their path.

The information about a file can be very overwhelming. There are tons of details about pretty much everything related to a file, including details that most users will never need like the encoding process or the “Y Cb Crb Sub Sampling”. Of course, all of the information is very easy to read and some of it can be very interesting. For example, you can use the application to gain the digital signature of the creator of an image file and then search for him in the Internet. Moreover, the application has metadata support for hundreds of cameras so you can find out about the exact model of the camera used to take that photo you really liked. Since the file formats supported by the application are endless, you can truly gain valuable information about anything you can think of that would otherwise be hidden and you would have never known. Finally, the more advanced commands will let you set your own tags and hide your own data within the files but you are going to have to spend some time learning about them before putting them to use.


-No installation required
-Support for a huge number of formats
-Extremely powerful with tons of different commands
-Advanced users have a great amount of options at their disposal


-Very complicated


ExifTool truly is a fantastic application and probably one of the best metadata management tools out there. Even though the learning curve is huge, the reward is incredible as the program will let you do pretty much anything related to metadata after you can handle it.