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Jeffrey’s “Metadata Viewer” Lightroom Plugin

This plugin for Adobe Lightroom allows you to easily view the metadata in the master image file of a photo or video in Lightroom's catalog. It's not as pretty or convenient as the metadata display on the right-side panel in Library, but it shows all the data in the master image, so is perhaps at times useful.

This plugin works in Lightroom 5, Lightroom 4, Lightroom 3, and Lightroom 2 (though some features may be missing in older versions of Lightroom).

The same download works for both Windows and Mac. See the box to the upper right for the download link (in orange) and installation instructions.

Installation

First, download the plugin using the link in the upper-right corner of this page, and unzip it to a location on disk where you'll keep it.

Then follow the normal Lightroom plugin install instructions to install and enable the plugin in your copy of Lightroom.

Using

With a photo selected, invoke

File  >  Plugin Extras  >  View Master Image Metadata

and a dialog will pop up listing all metadata that can be found in the image.

The plugin uses Phil Harvey's amazing ExifTool library under the hood. It's very good at gleaning metadata from an image file, and increasingly so for video files. It's the same library I use for my Online Image Metadata Viewer, though that web-based viewer does much more work to present the data in an informative fashion. Such efforts are not needed here because the most interesting data can already be shown in the Metadata Viewer panel on the right side of the Library Module (and you can use my Metadata-Viewer Preset Editor plugin to configure just what you want to see).

The only reason to use this plugin at all is to see data that Lightroom doesn't expose. There can be plenty of it, though the amount differs greatly depending on the image source and its processing prior to arriving in Lightroom.

As you can see at right, the metadata is just dumped out in tabular form. You can mouseover each item to see more details about what section of the metadata it was found.

There's ample opportunity to enhance how the data is shown, but I'll wait to see how popular the plugin becomes before I spend much effort on the frills.

Keyboard Shortcut

Windows users of Lightroom 3 or later can use ALT-F S M to bring up the viewer on the selected image. Windows users of Lightroom 2 can do the same after doing the setup described on this page.

Mac users can create any keyboard shortcut they like in the system Keyboard Preferences. I use Command-M. With Lightroom 2, the “Menu Title” is “View Master Image Metadata”, but in Lightroom 3 and later you have to add three spaces at the beginning, to account for the three spaces that Lightroom adds for the indentation in the menu. Thus, on Lightroom 3 and later, you would use ViewMasterImageMetadata” (where represents a space).

Availability

This plugin is distributed as “donationware”. I have chosen to make it available for free — everyone can use it forever, without cost of any kind — but unless registered, its functionality is somewhat reduced after six weeks. Registration is done via PayPal, and if you choose to register, it costs the minimum 1-cent PayPal fee; any amount you'd like to add beyond PayPal's sliding fees as a gift to me is completely optional, and completely appreciated. For details, see my blog post titled Lightroom Plugin Development: Now With Added Encouragement. If you're interested in how I picked up a plugin-development hobby like this, see My Long Path To Lightroom Plugin Development.

Note: Registrations in Lightroom 2 do not carry forward to Lightroom 3.

As I mentioned above, this plugin relies heavily on the ExifTool library, so I have decided to pass along half of any gifts related to this plugin to the ExifTool library's author. If you choose to send a gift when you register, it'll be handled automatically, but if you send a gift any other time (they're always welcome :-) ), please let me know so I can share your kindness with Phil. In either case, a big thanks from Phil, too.

Version History
( Update Log via RSS )

20140129.36

Upgraded to the embedded copy of ExifTool to version 9.46.

20131024.35

Update for OS X Mavricks.

Updated the Image::ExifTool library to version 9.39.

20131011.34

Made it so that the header stuff won't get pushed off the visible page when the metadata includes very wide elements.

Gave the UI a bit more love, especially on Windows.

Updated the Image::ExifTool library to version 9.38.

20130825.33

Updated the Image::ExifTool library to version 9.35.

20130613.32 Better support for plugin revalidation.
20130611.31 Yet another Lr5 update
20130524.30 Apparently, a recent change broke things on Lr2, which some folks apparently still use.
20130501.29 Update for Lr5
20130412.28 Build system update.
20130328.27 Fix for the registration system.
20130311.26

Now also display image metadata as it appears in the Lightroom catalog.

Search now ignores the accent on characters (e.g. searching for “Voigtlander” finds “Voigtländer”)

20130212.25 Tweak for better display of very long filenames.
20130209.24 More build-system maintenance
20130206.23 Tweak for my registration system
20130201.22

Upgraded to the embedded copy of ExifTool to version 9.15.

20121106.21

Upgraded to the embedded copy of ExifTool to version 9.04.

20120923.20 Added a note about when the image was last edited in Lightroom.
20120829.19 Added the ability to copy metadata to clipboard.
20120608.18 Fix an "attempt to perform arithmetic on field" error.
20120526.17

Update to handle the Mac App Store version of Lightroom.

Tweak for Lr4.1RC2.

Enhanced the send-log dialog to hopefully make reports more meaningful to me, yielding, I hope, the ability to respond more sensibly to more reports.

Upgraded to ExifTool 8.92

20120330.16 Update to handle 4.1RC
20120309.15 Had broken registrations in Lr2; Update to the debug logging to better track down timing issues that might arise.
20120304.14

More on the march toward Lr4, including upheaval in the code to handle Lightroom APIs being discontinued in Lr4.

20120114.13 More tweaks for Lr4b
20120112.12

Update for Lr4 beta: explain in the plugin manager that the plugin can't be registered in the beta.

Updated Image::ExifTool to version 8.75.

20111210.11

Had issues with the registration button sometimes not showing.

Added a system-clock check and reports to the user if the system clock is more than a minute out of date. An incorrect system clock can cause problems with various kinds of communication and authentication with some of my plugins, so I've just gone ahead and added this to every plugin.

20111030.10

Updated Image::ExifTool to version 8.68

When doing a plugin upgrade, offer the ability to flush all the old copies of the plugin.

20110329.9

Consider metadata to be encoded as UTU-8 for display.

Upgraded to the embedded copy of ExifTool to version 8.50.

20100829.8 Made the revalidation process much simpler, doing away with the silly need for a revalidation file.
20100820.7 Discovered a bug in my plugin build system that caused horribly difficult-to-track-down errors in one plugin, so am pushing out rebuilt versions of all plugins just in case.
20100719.6

Added a search filter. Unfortunately, despite spending way too many hours trying, I couldn't figure out how to make the display scroll to the top when filtering, so if there are fewer results than fill up to the point you happen to have scrolled into view, nothing will be shown, making it look like there are no matching lines, rather than the reality that whatever matching lines are simply not scrolled into the current view. So take care to scroll to the top if the display looks empty.

Upgraded the underlying ExifTool to version 8.25.

20100626.5 Was sorting the display on the wrong thing. Doh!
20100625.4 Yikes, shaking out some more build issues.
20100624.3 Discovered a nasty build bug; pushing a new version in case it affects this plugin.
20100623.2 Found a boo-boo right away.
20100623.1 Initial public release

Comments so far....

Very slow – 40 seconds to display the metadata.

It takes about a second to compute the data and build the display for simple JPGs on my system, maybe three seconds for large, complex raw files for my D700. If you have something that takes a long time, it’s a reflection on either the complexity of the file or the underpoweredness of your system. Or a bug. If you think it might be the latter, I’d appreciate it if you could send an example image, and info on your system. —Jeffrey

— comment by Dave Yuhas on June 24th, 2010 at 1:05am JST (3 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink

Flash exposure compensation appear with a wrong alphebetical order. Bug ???

Betwween Compression and Continuous drive.

It was more easy to find with other flash info.

Andre
Province of Quebec (Canada)

It comes out right in my tests. Could you email a sample image? —Jeffrey

— comment by Andre Messier on June 25th, 2010 at 3:32am JST (3 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey, Thanks for a great plugin. Installed Ok, but I can’t seem to be able to ‘enable’ the plugin. Button works, but doesn’t stick. What am I doicng wrong?

It’s probably disabling due to some error with the plugin (see the bottom-right section of the plugin manager). That almost certainly means a bad unzip, though if it comes immediately after upgrading the plugin it might mean that you just need to restart Lightroom). If you’re getting it with a fresh download/unzip, try downloading/unzipping with different browser/tools… —Jeffrey

— comment by Rune on June 27th, 2010 at 1:20pm JST (3 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink

Great plugin Jeffrey! I’ve been a fan of PhotoMe, an external standalone program, but this is really convenient within Lightroom. If you decide to continue to develop this plugin it would be a great addition if you could group settings together by source (exif, maker notes, etc) or allow to choose sort by source (and then alpha within source) or just alpha as it is now.

-stu-

— comment by Stu on June 28th, 2010 at 1:03am JST (3 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink

This is a great plug-in! The one thing I was hoping to find is the camera actuation? Did I miss it? Is it available in the metadata?

Depends on the camera. Most don’t have it, some do. —Jeffrey

— comment by Doug on July 7th, 2010 at 2:48am JST (3 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Jeffrey, this is just plain awesome — it’ll be a big time saver for me, I can’t believe I didn’t think of it earlier.

— comment by Mark Sirota on July 13th, 2010 at 12:55am JST (3 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Just to say thanks for this plugin, I have had a few issues with rouge keywords in some images for a while, now I know where they are coming from. My only frustration now is getting rid of them! I may not use this plugin every day but it will certainly prove its worth on occasions.
Neil

— comment by Neil on July 14th, 2010 at 3:37am JST (3 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

I always get this error:
Using LR3, I tried x32 and x64 bit modes on OSX10.6.4

bad argument #1 to ‘gsub’ (string expected, got function)

Plugin version? If you get it in the latest version, I’d appreciate a log —Jeffrey

— comment by NGRIFFIN on July 29th, 2010 at 10:01am JST (3 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Great plugin. If only one could access these fields as tokens when exporting/publishing photos. I used to use LR/Transporter to import formatted shooting info into a scene field in LR. Sadly LR/Transporter stopped working for me since LR2.7 upgrade. Any chance of having the data displayed in this plugin accessible as tokens?

It’s not straightforward to get this stuff into Lightroom, so probably not going to happen any time soon. However, I’m surprised about LR/Transporter…. Tim keeps that up to date; if it’s not working for you, you might drop him a note. —Jeffrey

— comment by yOOrek on September 1st, 2010 at 10:03pm JST (3 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey
There is plenty of valuable data here, well done.

Problem I am having is that it is almost overwhelming and some of it is hard to interpret; could I suggest that there are more detailed explanations of the terms (via a bubble or pop up window?) in situ? as this listing of tags is also detailed but not easy / quick to interrogate.

Also how about ensuring there are accompanying units next to all types of “measurement”

hope this helps

ed

— comment by Edward Allen on November 7th, 2010 at 1:34am JST (3 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

Awesome – just another plugin that will likely become a valuable part of my workflow, thanks!

Was on a shoot last night and for some reason my thumbnail preview was just totally different from a colleagues. I performed a reset of all camera settings and the thumbnails it kicked out were as expected. Interested in seeing what the differences were, so will be using this plugin to make comparisons.

To that end – is there a way I could export just this table set as something like a CSV so I can do a side-by-side comparison with another image shot after the camera was re-set?

The easiest way would be to download the command-line version of exiftool. —Jeffrey

— comment by Jason on August 15th, 2011 at 2:33am JST (2 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Is there a way to view whether Image Stabili(s)zation was turned off or on for any given image, with a Canon 40D and a Canon EF70-200 IS USM Lens. The plug-in appears to display everything but that. Have I missed something?

Excellent tool by the way ;-)
It displays everything it knows about. If it’s not showing up, either the stabilization status is not stored in the Exif, or ExifTool doesn’t know how to interpret it if it’s there. —Jeffrey

— comment by Steve Hughes on October 25th, 2011 at 4:16am JST (2 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Odd – because according to the ExifTool web site – the stablization tag should be present for Canon. At least that’s my interpretation. It’s not the most user friendly site to try and work out so maybe I’ve misunderstood!

I’m sure it depends on the camera. —Jeffrey

— comment by Steve Hughes on October 27th, 2011 at 10:14pm JST (2 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Exactlly what I was looking for, except for one thing: it would be great if you could display side by side what is in the file and what is in the LR database (And even better : highlight the metadata differences). That way when a file is displayed as having been changed externally, I will know if I need to read the new metadata in lightroom or overwrite them with lightroom record. Regards Eric

That’s a great idea, but it’s not that straightforward. Some things are indeed straightfoward (e.g. caption), but Lightroom derives some items from camera-proprietary fields, and some fields are not updated even when re-read, so to do a proper job would take some extensive research and testing. I’ll keep it in mind, but the bang-for-the-buck is not worth it at the moment. —Jeffrey

— comment by Eric on October 28th, 2011 at 12:33am JST (2 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Bug, feature, or just me.
On the Metadata display panel, when I use the scroll wheel on the mouse I get two different speeds of scroll, depending on where the mouse pointer is: 1) if pointer is on border of panel, get normal scroll, about 1 page per click, (or about 7 clicks for the full length scroll) or 2) if pointer is in “Image Data” area, one click takes me down to the middle of the EXIF data, or 2 clicks to near the bottom of all the data. Appears to be a difference between the panel border and the area the data goes in.
This is Win 7, LR3.5, Nikon d300s, Logitech mouse.

Thanks for all the excellent plug-ins! I use several of them.

George

It’s probably a bug in Lightroom, but since I’m using an unsupported feature of the plugin infrastructure to make the scrooling area, it’s not really something I can complain about. So, let’s consider it a feature. :-) —Jeffrey

— comment by George K on November 10th, 2011 at 12:36am JST (2 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

This is a great plug in. It is giving me exactly the data I was looking for. I just started using a Fuji camera that has some settings for dynamic range, signal/noise etc. and these are not shown in Lightroom exif data.

Many thanks!

Terry

— comment by Terry on November 21st, 2011 at 4:08am JST (2 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

I have tested your plugin and I am a bit overwhelmed – but all I was looking for was shown -that is great. I could find datas, that otherwise I find only in View NX from Nikon. I there a way to adjust or configurate what is shown and what is not of interesst for me (like in Adobe Bridge)? Could be, that then it works even faster.

Thank you for your work
Enrico (Switzerland)

You can use the filter at the top to search for stuff, but otherwise there’s nothing to configure a set of items, sorry. —Jeffrey

— comment by Enrico on December 2nd, 2011 at 10:34pm JST (2 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Do you know of a way that lightroom can sort images based on one of the makernotes fields? In particular, I would love to auto-apply a ‘Camera Correction profile’ to match the Creative Style/Picture Style/Picture Control.

I don’t know of any way to do this in Lightroom. If you have a lot of photos, it might make sense to use ExifTool to extract the info, then use LrTransporter to get it into a field that Lightroom can filter on, then use that to group photos for camera profiles. —Jeffrey

— comment by Chris on December 10th, 2011 at 6:22pm JST (2 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Hello Jeffrey,
first of all thank you for providing those great plugins.

Just downloaded the metadata viewer. I was wonderering why is the scrollbar on the left side. Usually one is looking for scrollbars on the right side of a window.

Thanks

Klaus

I dunno, that’s just how Lightroom does it. —Jeffrey

— comment by Klaus on April 27th, 2012 at 5:01pm JST (2 years ago) comment permalink

Hello Jeffrey.

Extremely satisfied with your metadata viewer through Lightroom4

Can you make a perfect Metadata extractor for Video clips. Seems to work already, but there must be more information.

Thanks
Vagn-Ebbe

The hard work under the hood of recognizing and extracting metadata is done by Phil Harvy’s ExifTool library. He works tirelessly (and mostly thanklessly) on it; perhaps send a word of thanks and encouragement his way, and if you have any specific knowledge how to extract something he’s missing, please let him know. —Jeffrey

— comment by Vagn-Ebbe Kier on May 11th, 2012 at 4:34pm JST (1 year, 11 months ago) comment permalink

Thanks for this plugin which I am just trialling.

Any chance of a “Copy to clipboard ” button so I can do some image data comparisons (after photomatix et al)

I appreciate the Exiftool command line approach will probably be your answer but thought I would ask! :-)

Yeah, you should use the Exiftool command-line approach…. or, the “copy to clipboard” button I added to the new version I just pushed. :-) —Jeffrey

— comment by Mike Watson on August 29th, 2012 at 6:42am JST (1 year, 8 months ago) comment permalink

:-) Thanks Jeffrey.

Eventually found the button on the far right of the page as the page seems to be extremely wide due to the “Hierarchical Subject” option (which seems to be related to keywords??) just whizzing of to the far right….

Don’t expect you to sort this as it is obviously just the output from Phil’s tool but wanted to point it out in case someone else can find the button. (Or possibly shift the button to the left under the file name)

— comment by Mike Watson on August 29th, 2012 at 9:58pm JST (1 year, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Could I request a feature for this plugin please.

I would like an option to select which metadata is displayed so a set of radio buttons for EXIF, IPTC, XMP, Photoshop, Derived would be a nice addition.

Thanks Mike

— comment by Mike Watson on November 8th, 2012 at 3:54am JST (1 year, 5 months ago) comment permalink

I’d like to add a date to the Metadata Viewer to reflect when the photo was added to my Lightroom library. The idea being that I could then filter the photos shown in the grid to be on that date, similar to how a Keyword value can be used to filter the photos.

While the image capture time is useful, the day I add the photo to Lightroom has more relevance to me in some cases where I am importing images from undated sources (like Facebook) or from scanned images.

Is the Added to Lightoom Date available to add to a Metadata Viewer preset?

Thanks, Patrick

Lightroom doesn’t expose that date to plugins or to the Metadata panel, but you can access it via the “Added Order” sort in Library. —Jeffrey

— comment by Patrick on November 17th, 2013 at 2:34pm JST (5 months ago) comment permalink

Is it possible to customize the plugin? For example, my camera returns “0×4000″ for the “AFMode” tag when the camera was put on the face detection. It’d be really nice if your plugin can customized to display “face detection” rather than meaningless “0×4000″ in the “AFMode” field, so I can quickly go through all the face detection shots and judge how accurately it’s working.

Your best bet is to report it to the ExifTool author so he can update it for everyone. Send him some sample shots and a description of what the various values might mean… —Jeffrey

— comment by Rick on December 7th, 2013 at 2:37pm JST (4 months, 10 days ago) comment permalink

I was writing to you with a question, but I think in the process I figured most of the answer. Feel free to correct or use any of my findings. I was trying to figure out some exposure issues I had with images shot in the Manual mode. The Exposure Compensation field doesn’t help as it always reads zero in M. However, it seems “Measured EV” and “Measured EV 2″ are two fields that give you what the camera’s idea of the correct EV (possibly with two different metering modes) is, and the “Light Value” field gives the actual EV given your settings while taking the photo. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exposure_value I figured that an increase of EV by 1 is a drop of 1 stop of exposure, and it appears that my 5D2′s Measured EV values are based on ISO 100.

— comment by Shayok on January 3rd, 2014 at 1:23am JST (3 months, 14 days ago) comment permalink

Hi.
Is there a way to configure the Metadata Viewer (or another of your plugins) to display the several Canon 6D exif fields about HDR processing, such as:
–HDR Shooting: Enable
–Adjust dynamic range: Auto
–HDR Effect: Natural
–Auto Image Align: Enable

These fields are displayed with the Canon software, but I could not find them in the output from the Metadata Viewer in Lightroom.

Thanks, Tim

PS: I am new at this so please excuse me if this question is inane.

Not inane at all… completely reasonable. The plugin relies on ExifTool to decode the data, and the author (Phil Harvey) probably has not yet been able to figure out those fields. You can help him decode them by preparing sets of photos taken with as-completely-identical settings as possible, save for one field (e.g. “HDR Effect”) changing among the possible settings. Then mail them to him along with a clear description of which photos had exactly which settings. Then, perhaps, he can figure out Canon’s secret encodings and reflect that in the next version of ExifTool. —Jeffrey

— comment by Tim on January 27th, 2014 at 7:00am JST (2 months, 21 days ago) comment permalink

Hello,
I have installed the plugin and have successfully been able to get info on a specified photo.
I have a Canon 5d (markI digicII), and i thought it was possible to extract the number of views taken by the camera.
I could’nt find any fied related to that.
Can you help me on that topic.
regards

As far as I know, many Canon cameras do not encode the shutter count. —Jeffrey

— comment by gerard on February 13th, 2014 at 11:09pm JST (2 months, 3 days ago) comment permalink
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