Jeffrey’s “Metadata Wrangler” Lightroom Plugin

This “export filter” plugin for Lightroom allows you to strip selected metadata components from images as they are exported. You can use it, for example, to remove the embedded thumbnail and any Lightroom “develop” metadata, while retaining other metadata, such as the exposure settings, lens information, copyright, etc.

This plugin works in Lightroom 6/CC (and older versions as far back as Lightroom 3, though some features depend on the version 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.

(Note: Please see the FAQ and known issues before reporting bugs.)


Here's a screenshot showing the options and features of the Metadata Wrangler as it appears in the Export Dialog after the plugin has been installed and added to the export. In the screenshot, the plugin's local "Touch of Privacy" preset for data to remove has been selected; items that the plugin will remove are presented in red.

(screenshot as of plugin version 20141019.124)

Get ready to scroll....

Screenshot of Jeffrey's
Metadata Wrangler plugin for Lightroom, allowing the removal of XMP,
EXIF, etc. metadata from an image exported from Lightroom


The bulk of the dialog is for selecting which bits of metadata to remove (or not remove) from the exported copy. Other sections toward the bottom are extra helper features discussed later.

What metadata you choose to strip – and to leave intact – can vary greatly depending on your intended use. For example, it makes sense to strip at least the embedded thumbnail from small exports that are themselves intended to be used as thumbnails. In such a case, it may well make sense to strip everything but copyright information, to keep the file size small.

On the other hand, it may well make sense to preserve most metadata on images intended for upload to a photo-sharing site, yet remove the embedded thumbnail that does little but increase the file size (and hence the file-upload time).

In any case, only the exported copy of the image is affected; both the original image and the Lightroom library are never changed by this plugin.

Another important heads-up is to know that this plugin doesn't add data to the exported copy, but only removes it if Lightroom had included it in the first place. Details are discussed below.

It's a “Filter”

I call the Metadata Wrangler an “export filter”, but in the official Lightroom vernacular, it's a “post-process action”. The point is that unlike a full export plugin (such as my “Export to Flickr” plugin), this filter (post-process action) can be used with any export from Lightroom. It can be used in conjunction with the standard “Files on Disk” export, in conjunction with one of my other plugins (e.g. “Export to Zenfolio”, “Export to PicasaWeb”), or any other third-party export plugin.

Installation and Activation

Before it can be used as part of an export, the plugin must of course first be installed into Lightroom: general Lightroom plugin Install instructions.

Then, for any particular export or Publish Service, the plugin must be explicitly included as part of the export. Here's an example showing the Export dialog set to a standard hard-disk export:

About to Insert

The list of filters (post-process actions) provided by your currently-installed plugins is shown in the lower left of the dialog. If you don't see that Post-Process Actions section, it means that the plugin has not been installed properly, or has been installed but is currently disabled. Revisit the Plugin Manager to make sure the plugin is both installed and (in the middle-right section of the dialog) enabled.

A Lightroom plugin can provide more than one filter, though the Metadata Wrangler has only the one.

In the screenshot above, the jf Metadata Wrangler label next to the small red circle is the name of the plugin, while the blue-highlighted Metadata Wrangler below it is the name of the filter the plugin offers. Select that filter and click the Insert button to include the filter as part of the export being configured....

Newly-Added Section

In the screenshot above, a Metadata Wrangler section has been added to the export (I added the red arrow to the screenshot to highlight its location). Clicking on that section header opens up the section to display the long list of options seen in the overview above.

At this point, you're ready to configure the plugin to do what you want it to do on this particular export.

(Pro tip: saving your configuration settings as part of an export preset can make exports you commonly do much easier. For Publish, the specific configuration settings are saved with each Publish Service.)

Metadata Can Be a Bit Tricky

I don't know that there's a good reason for it, but it's turned out that image-file metadata formats have grown into somewhat of a mess. Luckily, Phil Harvey has created the most excellent exiftool library that makes this plugin's work much easier. It's the same metadata-handling library used for the back end of my online Exif viewer. I pass along half of any gifts I receive in relation to this plugin to Phil.

Nevertheless, some of the “metadata mess” remains exposed to you, the user, as evidenced by the mishmash of XMP blocks. Here's part of the Metadata Wrangler in Lightroom's export dialog dealing with XMP blocks....

You can have all XMP data preserved or stripped by clicking on the “preserve” or “remove” next to the “XMP Blocks” label at the top, but if you want to be selective, you may have to do some research to see in which block or blocks the data you're interested in lies. It's a bit cryptic for the non-engineer, but the XMP-block info at the exiftool site lists exactly what fields are in each block. (The “XMP Info” button in the dialog links to that page as well.)

Two of the XMP blocks are fairly straightforward. The XMP “crs” block contains all the information about Lightroom develop adjustments (crop, exposure, localized corrections, etc.). You'll want to strip this block if you want to hide – or just don't feel the need to include with the image – all the develop changes you've made to an image.

The XMP “exif” block contains a repeat of most of the Exif data represented individually lower in the dialog. I'm not sure that there's 100% coverage, but I generally strip it unless I intend the exported image to be for some kind of archive.


The Metadata Wrangler supports its own preset mechanism. The dropdown near the top of the Metadata Wrangler export-dialog section allows you to create and recall presets of exclude/preserve decisions:

“Preserve Metadata” and “Remove Metadata” are standard presets that adjust the settings to save/remove all metadata. You can create a new preset by making some change to the dialog settings, then choose “save current settings as a preset”.

The current settings for the Metadata Wrangler are also part of any Lightroom Export Preset that you create while the Metadata Wrangler is installed and enabled. Note that the individual settings are saved to the Lightroom export preset, rather than any Metadata Wrangler preset name that might be in effect. This means that if you create a Lightroom Export Preset and then later change the meaning of a Metadata Wrangler preset, that change is not reflected back into the Lightroom Export Preset. (This paragraph is a bit confusing, sorry.)

Metadata Not Explicitly Listed...

The bottom of the dialog section includes a catch-all item that governs how the whole plugin approaches its work:

When “Remove” is selected here, all metadata is removed, and then only items explicitly listed as “Preserve” elsewhere in the dialog are added back. Conversely, when “Preserve” is selected, the items explicitly listed as “Remove” are manually removed from the exported image.

I believe that the end result is always the same – that all metadata that could be in the image is listed earlier in the dialog – but I've included this option as a “just in case”. When I'm exporting small images for use as thumbnails on my site, for example, I strip everything except what I explicitly want to keep: the ICC Color profile, and the copyright/artist information.

This Plugin Doesn't Add Data

An important point to remember is that the plugin doesn't add metadata to an exported copy, it only removes what you tell it to. (A few exceptions are among the various Other Features discussed below.)

Lightroom's standard Metadata section of the Export/Publish dialog is where you specify the base metadata that Lightroom should include in the exported copy, and it's from that copy that this plugin then removes metadata you tell it, at least if it's still there.

If in that standard Metadata section you tell Lightroom to include Copyright Only, then most of the Exif/XMP/IPTC data does not find its way to the exported copy to begin with, so there's little available for this plugin to remove besides the copyright data (and the embedded thumbnail and the embedded color profile).

In any case, the important point to remember is that this plugin generally doesn't add data to the exported copy, it only removes it if it happens to be there.

Personally, when I use this plugin (which is always), I leave the Metadata section configured to Include All Metadata, then use this plugin to decide what I really want to keep.

Other Features

The dialog then continues with sections for additional features.

Lightroom generally strips location data from areas marked private in the Map Module. If Lightroom's all-or-nothing approach is too aggressive, and you'd like to (for example) keep the textual city and state, even if you've removed the exact latitude and longitude, you can restore those items to the exported copy here:

Then we have some special keyword handling:

The last part of the keyword section allows you to insert keywords into the exported copies. Because this supports template tokens, you can move other image metadata into keywords. For example, {City},{State},{Country} would add the city/state/country metadata of each image into its keywords, and {Make} {Model} would add one keyword built from the camera's make and model.

Normally, location-related tokens have no value if the image is in an area marked private in the Map Module, but the overrides in the previous section also apply here. (Also see the token docs for other ways to override a private location.)

Finally, a couple of miscellaneous options:


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.

Note: a Lightroom major upgrade, such as from Lr4 to Lr5, de-registers the plugin in the upgraded version, so if you want to maintain registration, a new ($0.01 if you like) registration code is needed in the upgraded version. It makes for a hassle every couple of years, I know. Sorry. See this note for details.

For details on plugin registration and on how I came into this hobby of Lightroom plugin development, see my Plugin Registration page.

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 )


Added a variety of tags to the "delete with prejudice" list for "Software" (such as "CreatorTool" and "HistorySoftwareAgent")


Added the ability to set image/video create-date metadata.


Fixed the "SpecPeople:259: attemt to index al nil value" error.

20150516.130 Added some debug logging to try to track down a People-related error...

Added the "XMP region block" to the list of items that can be explicitly removed or preserved. This is where LrCC/6 puts the results of its face-recognition scans.

20150206.128 Videos used to be skipped, but now they're at least attempted. Some video metadata can't be altered, though.

In the POODLE-vunerability dialog, display a raw URL of a page on my site that discusses the issue, so that folks can be independently sure that the dialog is indeed from me and not malware.

20150130.126 Build update.

Upgraded to the embedded copy of ExifTool to version 9.76.

20141019.124 Windows Only: Add a one-time check for the POODLE security vulnerability, and alert the user if it exists.
20141006.123 Work around a bug in Lightroom that caused the new stuff added yesterday to break the export dialog on Windows.
20141005.122 An update to the add-keywords stuff just added: settings in the Location Privacy Override section now controls whether tokens like "City" have values. If an image is private, the value will be empty, unless overridden.
20141005.121 Added the ability to add keywords via my plugins' template token language.
20140924.120 If the metadata-removal command failed, in some edge cases the plugin would crash instead of properly reporting the error
20140902.119 New build system
20140807.118 When writing non-coordinate metadata, give the option among writing to XMP, IPTC, or both.
20140806.117 Added the ability to ensure non-coordinate metadata is present in images even when marked Private in Map.
20140731.116 Registration fix for Lr5.6
20140729.115 Previous updates broke support on Lightroom 2
20140720.114 More Creative-Cloud support.

Fixed an issue with Creative-Cloud revalidation.


Lr5.5 and later Creative-Cloud installs can now revalidate themselves if needed.

20140710.111 Sigh, had a bug in the Creative-Cloud support.

Now supports Lr5.5+ Creative-Cloud Installs.

20140704.109 Sigh, introduced an error for some folks with the rebuild the other day.
20140630.108 Build-system update

Upgraded to the embedded copy of ExifTool to version 9.60.


The character-coding designation was being removed in some cases.

Upgraded to the embedded copy of ExifTool to version 9.53.


Fixed a bug in the "smoother revalidation" stuff recently added.


Upgraded to the embedded copy of ExifTool to version 9.53.

Make the revalidation process smoother, especially for folks using Lr5.4 and later.

20140313.103 Special keyword handling didn't necessarily work with non-ASCII characters.

Upgraded to the embedded copy of ExifTool to version 9.46.


Update for OS X Mavricks.

Updated the Image::ExifTool library to version 9.39.

20130626.100 Removed a reference (in Lr4+) to the "shadow data" maintained (in Lr2/Lr3) by my geoencoding plugin.
20130613.99 Better support for plugin revalidation.
20130611.98 Yet another Lr5 update
20130524.97 Apparently, a recent change broke things on Lr2, which some folks apparently still use.
20130508.96 Some more DNG-related updates, incuding a warning in the dialog about the dangers of removing metadata from DNGs.
20130508.95 Updated ExifTool to support modern DNGs, and some extra stuff to help remove metadata from DNGs. (That last bit is a work in progress... some metadata still isn't being removed properly.)
20130501.94 Update for Lr5
20130412.93 Build system update.
20130328.92 Fix for the registration system.
20130209.91 More build-system maintenance
20130209.90 More build-system maintenance
20130206.89 Added the xmpMM section to the list of XMP sections the plugin deals with.

Upgraded to the embedded copy of ExifTool to version 9.15.

20130110.87 The "strip keyword suffixes" feature was broken.

Tidied up some of the debugging/logging code.

Upgraded to the embedded copy of ExifTool to version 9.09.

20121101.85 If a file can't be updated due to permission problems, perhaps it's because the OS is still holding the file open, so pause and retry a couple of times.
20120608.84 Fix an "attempt to perform arithmetic on field" error.

Update to handle the Mac App Store version of Lightroom.

Upgraded to ExifTool 8.92


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.

20120330.81 Update to handle 4.1RC

Found a way around the restriction of working with network shares on windows (paths that begin with \\), and also fixed problems related to non-ASCII in file and path names. Wasted all day on this hairy area in Windows. Ugh.

Upgraded to ExifTool version 8.84.

20120309.79 Update to the debug logging to better track down timing issues that might arise.

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


More tweaks for Lr4b.


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.


Updated Image::ExifTool to version 8.68.

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.


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

Change how perl is called under the hood on OSX.


Added some new Exif fields (Camera Serial Number, Camera Owner, Lens Make, Lens Model, Lens Serial Number, Lens Stats, and a bunch of GPS-related fields) and re-organized the presentation to suit.

Folded the various sub-second-time fields into their respective date/time fields. Cleaner this way.

Upgraded to the embedded copy of ExifTool to version 8.60.

20110518.72 Tried to make the "remove with prejudice" option more prejudice, searching in more metadata groups for items to delete. Also, made it so that removing "CreateDate" with prejudice now removes "DateCreated" wherever it might be, as well as "TimeCreated", "DigitalCreationDate", and "DigitalCreationTime".

Added some extra debug logging to try to track down a Lightroom-hang issue.

Upgraded to the embedded copy of ExifTool to version 8.50.

20110203.69 Fixed (hopefully) a problem some have encountered when running a second time on a Windows install of Lightroom. Upgraded to the embedded copy of ExifTool to version 8.40.
20100829.68 Made the revalidation process much simpler, doing away with the silly need for a revalidation file.
20100820.67 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.

Bumped up version of ExifTool to version 8.25.

Added code to allow plugin revalidation after having been locked due to a bad Lightroom serial number.

20100625.65 Yikes, shaking out some more build issues.
20100624.64 Discovered a nasty build bug; pushing a new version in case it affects this plugin.

This version can be registered in Lightroom 3. It can run in Lightroom 2 or Lightroom 3; it does not work in the Lr3 betas.

It uses my new registration system when run on Lightroom 3, which avoids some of the silly issues of the old one. Please take care to note the details on the registration page: use of this version (or later) of the plugin in Lightroom 3 requires a new registration code, even if you had registered some older version of the plugin.

20100516.62 Update for the Lr3 beta.

Did some internal housekeeping on the code to tidy up some messy handling of plugin presets. Added a couple of extra built-in presets ("Touch of privacy", "Preserve only the basics") to give new users some starting points. Also, the "set file modification date" option was advertised to not be part of the plugin preset system, but it actually was. Fixed that, so now it is indeed not part of the preset plugin system.

20100218.60 Minor tweak for LR3b.

I didn't like how the special keyword stuff I added a few versions ago felt, so I redid it from scratch, and added the ability to strip or preserve specific keywords (and/or keywords matching filename-like patterns). I also added the ability to remove keyword prefixes or suffixes, thinking that it might be useful. For example, you might have a set of keywords for one stock agency, e.g. agency1-flower, agency1-dog, and another set for another (agency1-rose, agency1-happy dog, and use the new functionality on export for the first agency by stripping all keywords other than ones that match agency1-*, and then removing the agency- prefix. Personally, I don't use keywords, so I don't know whether any of this is actually useful. Let me know.

Warning: when hierarchical keywording is enabled (in the standard export-dialog “Metadata” section), I'm not exactly sure what semantics would make most sense for the keyword filtering and prefix/suffix removal features, so whatever it does in this version is likely not useful, and likely to change in a future version. If you use hierarchical keywords a lot and have thoughts about how this would work best, please drop me an email.

20100205.58 oops

Added an option to have the plugin ignore output files that are not JPEG (such as when you export to DNG, or export a raw file with a file-settings format of "Original".


Added new special-case handling for keywords. Keywords can be embedded in three different metadata blocks, and if you merely want to suppress keywords for a particular export, deleting all three blocks can be more than you want, so a new tri-state option for keywords, toward the bottom of the list, has been added. By default it's set to do nothing, but you can set it to explicitly preserve or remove the keywords in all their forms. It seems to be working, but do give it a test to be sure.

Completely changed how the one-click upgrade applies the newly-downloaded zip file, in the hopes that it'll work for more people. Rather than unzipping over the old copy, it now unzips to a temporary folder, then moves the old folder out of the way and the new folder into place. Prior versions' folders are now maintained (with the version number in the folder) in case you want to revert a version; you may want to clear them out from time to time. Of course, it won't take affect until you try to upgrade after having upgraded to or beyond this version.

20091205.55 Minor internal debugging tweaks.
20091022.54 Added a first draft of some rudimentary support for Lightroom 3 Beta. See this important note about plugin support in Lightroom 3 Beta and Lightroom 3, including future plans for features and my registration system.
20090903.53 I'm back from a long trip and starting up the plugin machinery again. This version adds the "lr" XMP section (which is the "keywords as Lightroom hierarchy", if you enable that in the "Metadata" section), and fixes a crash that some Windows users ran into when the combination of selected items could sometimes create a command line longer than Windows could handle.

Upgrading the built-in version of ExifTool to include support for DNG 1.3, required to work with for DNGs made with Lightroom 1.4.

Enhanced the one-click upgrade stuff quite a bit, now detecting ahead of time when it will fail because the plugin is installed where Lightroom can't write (if Lightroom can't write to it, it can't update itself). I also added a progress bar, and now download in smaller chunks to avoid 'out of memory' errors on the larger plugins. Do remember that this new functionality becomes available after you upgrade to or past this version, when you then upgrade with it.

20090521.51 Fixed a "loadstring" error some users got.
20090510.50 Added a link in the Plugin Manager to the plugin's update-log RSS feed.

Added an option to "remove Exif items with prejudice". When enabled, marking an Exif item for removal also removes the item from other places it might be found, including the XMP "exif" block, inside an embedded thumbnail (which is unlikely, but possible in some strange cases where you're exporting an original that was originally imported with a metadata-laden thumbnail), etc.

Added remove/preserve buttons to the overall "Individual Exif Items" header.

Made the "Set the exported image file's modification date to the image date" option part of the preset state (so that it's value is saved and restored along with all the other settings).

20090425.48 Tweaked how the plugin tries to update itself during the one-click upgrade process, to hopefully get things working for those few Windows users that have never had it work. Crossing fingers. We'll see.
20090423.47 Changed the way files are updated, to avoid a potential problem (not yet actually seen) when exporting huge 100MB+ files. Also added a boatload of verbose debugging when the "extended logging" is checked in the Plugin Manager.
20090314.45 As requested, there's now an option to set the file date of each exported image file to the image date. If the image has "shadow GPS data" (from my geoencoding-support plugin) that includes a date, then that's used because it'll be the most accurate, having come from a GPS tracklog. Otherwise, the DateTimeOriginal or DateTimeDigitized metadata value is used.
20090313.44 It seems that PayPal doesn't give everyone a "Unique Transaction ID" in the registration confirmation mail; some people get a "Receipt Number". So, the registration dialog now accepts that as well.
20090228.43 Fixed a bug that caused a plugin crash if my server couldn't be reached during registration.
20090223.42 A little boo-boo in the previous version would make it look like unregistered versions couldn't even work for less than 10 photos after the trial period. It would work, but told you it wouldn't. Fixed in this version.

NOTE: you may need to restart Lightroom after installing to this (or a later) version from the previous (or an earlier) version. Please try a restart if you get an error the first time you try to use the plugin.

As per the ongoing discussion on my blog, with this version this plugin moves over to a "donationware" model, in which the plugin remains free, but registration eventually becomes required (and an eventual donation hoped for :-) ).

For details, see Lightroom Plugin Development: Now With Added Encouragement. (For info about what drove this decision, see What To Do When a Hobby Becomes Work?)

The plugin no longer expires, and correspondingly, I will not pay much attention to reports of bugs that have already been fixed, so please check your version and the version history before submitting bugs or feature requests.

There was a lot of internal upheaval in the code, so I expect that some boo-boos my surface. If something breaks for you with this version, please let me know, but until I fix it, feel free to revert to the previous version.

One bug fix in this release: I fixed, I think, the inability to write data to images whose filenames have non-ASCII characters. Working on this bug is a perfect example of why I'm moving to a donationware model: this non-ASCII-filename situation doesn't impact me, personally, but I spent 8+ hours today tracking down the problem (Windows is horrid) and MacGyvering a solution. I hope it works for everyone.

20090129.40 More debugging for an edge-case error one user is getting.
20090128.39 Small housekeeping update for the new locales supported by Lightroom 2.3.

The metadata wrangler doesn't seem to work on Windows when the destination images are written to a \\hostname share, so I now disable the export if it detects this situation. If you map the share to a local drive letter, it should be able to work. If anyone knows why cygwin Perl can't access a filename like "\\host\path\file.jpg", please let me know.

20090116.37 It turns out that the automatic upgrade stuff doesn't work if the plugin folder has been renamed from its original. That should generally not happen, but it's possible, so the plugin now checks its own location reports the issue to the user if it finds it.
20090115.36 Added more debugging-log stuff to the 'Upgrade Now' button action, to try to understand why it doesn't work for some people.
20090110.35 Added a checkbox in the Plugin Manager to turn on enhanced debugging (more stuff in the plugin's debugging log), and added a button in the same place that sends your log to me. Particularly for “the upgrade button doesn't work” and “error while uploading” type issues, this should be useful for debugging.
20090107.34 Updated the ExifTool install that the plugin uses to Version 7.60, which corrects some problems that a few plugin users were seeing while working with certain Canon image files.
20081221.33 A message was not reporting the proper data on certain kinds of errors.
20081210.32 Things seem to have settled down, so pushing back the expiration for several months...
20081124.31 Perhaps fixed a problem whereby the "Upgrade Now" button didn't work for some Windows users. We'll see whether it works when those users upgrade from this version to whatever version is next.
20081122.30 No problems from the upheaval recently, so pushing back the expiration a bit.
20081121.29 Try#3 at this fix. Perhaps I shouldn't be programming when I have a cold....
20081120.28 Grrr, build problem held back the fix in .27. This should actually have the fix this time.
20081120.27 Fixes the Undefined subroutine &Digest::MD5::md5 error that some people are seeing.
20081119.26 Added some more logging to help debug the Undefined subroutine &Digest::MD5::md5 error that some people are seeing.
20081117.25 No new functionality in this version, but a huge upheaval in the underlying code to repair an unfortunate design choice I made early on in the development that had limiting consequences I'd not foreseen. There are likely bugs introduced in this version, and as such, it has a short expiration date to encourage updates as those bugs are reported and fixed. If you do run into an error, please send (via email) the log referenced in the upper-right of the Plugin Manager. Thanks.
20081113.24 Added "enabled" to the status line when it's enabled, just to be clear. Attempted to address a problem that I didn't think could happen, but apparently has.
20081031.23 Fixed a but wherein keywords were getting flattened in some situations.
20081030.22 Added a bit of logging to try to track down a problem.
20081004.21 Fixed a situation that might have caused trouble when running two exports in tandem.
20080923.20 Sigh, just realized that the "check for new version" stuff did break in 2.1. Totally my fault, sorry. Fixed.
20080923.19 Arrrgh, my plugin build system has been broken since returning to Kyoto two weeks ago, thereby causing new installs of this plugin to not work. Sorry! Should be fixed now.
20080916.18 Finally have the upgrade button working on both Win and Mac. Since I returned home last week, I now have access to both kinds of machine for the first time since LR2 was released. I can sum up the 5 hours I spent wrestling with the unzip code in three word: I hate Windows. Microsoft owes me five hours of my life back. Note that you may have to install this one by hand in order to get the newly working upgrade button... it's the next upgrade that should be easy-as-click.
20080831.17 Handle a race condition in the upgrade logic that sometimes results in a superfluous "You have version XYZ, but version XYZ is now available" message
20080831.16 Made the switch among presets a bit more efficient, and perhaps fixed a bug related to the preset name not updating in response to changes made in the various selections when switching among Lightroom export presets. (I say perhaps because I could no longer replicate the bug I thought I was seeing, but I don't think I changed anything that would have fixed it, so maybe there really was no bug in the first place? I dunno. In any case, it's fixed. :-) )
20080828.15 Minor tweaks
20080828.14 A few more tweaks to report a failed upgrade attempt a bit more clearly
20080828.13 When upgrading, ignore a status of “50” (which means “out of disk space”) from the unzip the plugin performs. It seems Windows often reports this status even when there's plenty of disk space left, so until I can understand it better, I'll just ignore that code.
20080817.12 Lots of little tweaks as I cleaned things up. Added a bunch of stuff to the Plugin Manager, including a “What's New” button that shows up next to the “Upgrade Now” button when a new version is available.
20080814.11 Fixed infinite cycle of 'assert' messages one might get in odd situations
20080811.10 Moved and renamed the debugging logs to a temporary folder, and added log Show/Delete buttons to the plugin's custom section of the Plugin Manager.
20080808.9 Fixed the "LrShell" problem while using the one-click plugin upgrade.
20080807.8 Fixed the "" error that Windows users were seeing.
20080807.7 Updated the plugin links to refer to the proper page, rather than my blog.
20080806.6 An attempt to fix the "Access to undefined global: quote" bug.... we'll see.
20080731.5 Fruits of the debugging... should now work for more people
20080730.4 More debugging stuff...
20080730.3 Added more debugging to the log file ("lr-plugin.log" in the Documents/MyDocuments folder) to help debug when things don't work.
20080729.2 Cosmetic change: swapped the section-heading "preserve" / "remove" buttons to match the order of the columns.
20080729.1 Initial public release

The 30 most-recent comments (out of 101; see all), most recent last...

Need a little help. I downloaded the lightroom plug-in. imac. lightroom 3
Plug-in manager says it is there and running.
I can’t find it after that. Doesn’t show up on llist of publishing services.
Can you lend me a hand and help me get this figured out. I want to publish directly from Lightroom to my zenfolio acct.


The Metadata Wrangler is a filter for any export, but not an export provider itself. For Zenfolio, you’ll want the Zenfolio plugin. —Jeffrey

— comment by Connie on July 21st, 2011 at 10:49am JST (4 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,

I have trouble getting the plugin (version 20120114.77) to work in LR4 final (in trial mode) on Win7-64bit. I’m getting the following error:

An error occurred while attempting to run one of the plug-in’s scripts.
This version of the “Metadata Wrangler” plugin is too old for Lr4; please upgrade the plugin. The plugin home page is shown in the “Status” section above.

I auto-installed the plugin to the latest version from LR3.6 and tried a manual install as well afterwards.

2 things I can think of:
– I’m using LR4 in trial mode until the upgrade with the serial number arrives.
– I did a complete reinstall of my system recently after getting a SSD. Afterwards I had to change permissions to my LR-plugin folder to get the auto-updating to work again. While this works now in LR 3.6, maybe there are some other permission issues I have to resolve? I have changed the catalog permissions already, but that did not change anything.

Anyway, thanks for your continued work on all your plugins. They really help a lot.


Oops, sorry, I simply neglected to update that plugin. I built it on my side, but for some reason never pushed it live. It’s out now. Sorry ’bout that. —Jeffrey

— comment by Marc D on March 6th, 2012 at 10:46pm JST (3 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink


using metadata wrangler 20110628.73

somehow it seems that i lost the info on date/time digitized and original as well as the exif size. basically if i execute the exiftool -a -u -g1 command on an old file i get info in the XMP-exif block. if i do the same on a file i processed today i have no XMP-exif info. no matter what selection i do in metadata wrangler (even preserve all data) i get no XMP-exif block. is this normal ?

thank you.
Many versions have been pushed out since then, so it’s not fruitful to discuss until you upgrade. If it’s still not working after you upgrade to the most recent version, turn on enhanced logging in the plugin manager, export one image, then send a log along with a note about exactly what is not working the way you expect. —Jeffrey

— comment by frank on May 7th, 2012 at 8:04pm JST (3 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

Hi! This plug in was recommended by Rob Sylvan thru NAPP, because I was looking for a way to see what AF Mode I had used on a particular shot. But I am not sure how the plugin works. Once I export the image using the Friedl Metadata plug in, how do I see the exif? I have installed it, and gone thru the export dialogue, and all appears to be working, but and am not sure where I am supposed to view the new Exif data. Does a new window open? Or should it appear in my LR panel for Metadata? I just still see all the same things that were there before. Maybe I have misunderstood how this plug in works? Thanks for any assistance.

This plugin is for stripping metadata from exported copies. It sounds like you’re looking for my metadata-viewer plugin instead. —Jeffrey

— comment by Deb Scally on May 19th, 2012 at 9:20am JST (3 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

…did you mean to finish that sentence??? What program will help me read all the available metadata on my images?

Sorry ’bout that… had an HTML error. Should be fixed now. —Jeffrey

— comment by Deb Scally on May 19th, 2012 at 10:46pm JST (3 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,
I have registered the Metadata Wrangler and jpPicasa plug-ins for my LR3, a couple of years ago. My LR was on a laptop. Recently I have moved my photo processing onto a desktop so is the LR. How do I continue to use the plug-ins with LR on my desktop? Please advise. Thanks in advance.

Download and install as normal. If you’re using the same Lr serial number, the registration dialog offers a way to grab the registration code; if your Lr serial has changed, just generate a new one (with a $0.01 transaction, if you like). —Jeffrey

— comment by Frankie on September 25th, 2012 at 8:36am JST (3 years ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey

I am incorporating a number of your plugins into my workflow, and they are really making things simpler and better. Thanks so much.

I can’t figure out if there is a way to add a keyword when exporting to hard disk (or, say, Flickr). It would be great if your metadata wrangler let me add keywords. I don’t think I can do this with Adobe’s Export to Hard Drive plugin, or your JF Flickr plugin, but perhaps I’m missing something.

The case that I am finding hardest to work through is when I export an image to my hard disk. I want to be able to tag that copy as the exported copy. What I now do is find the exported copies, and tag them by hand, but it would be much easier to have this just be part of the automated work-flow.

When I first developed the export plugins, a plugin couldn’t add keywords to a photo, but now a plugin can, so I really should update the plugins. But one that already has that ability is Snapshot on export, which you can use with even a vanilla disk export, so you should be set. —Jeffrey

— comment by Alan Harper on November 27th, 2012 at 4:49am JST (2 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink

Writing from Downey, CA… what setting must I select/enable to preserve the shutter actuation count in JPG files exported from LR4.3?

If such a field exists, it’s in the MakerNotes section. —Jeffrey

— comment by Eduardo Suastegui on January 2nd, 2013 at 2:11am JST (2 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Hello Jeffrey,

that’s a very helpful Plugin. Thank you very much!

Only I have a problem with “Remove this suffixes” from keywords. It does nothing.
“Remove this prefixes” works fine with the same text or characters.

Maybe there is a bug?

I use LR4.2 and Metadata Wrangler 20121217.86.


If you could send a log after you see the problem, I’d appreciate it. —Jeffrey

— comment by Thomas on January 7th, 2013 at 9:34pm JST (2 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

I was looking for a plugin to add keywords on export, and Google brought me here. I am already using Metadata Wrangler and hope it will be able to add keywords in a future release. Metadata Wrangler is already wonderful and with this one extra feature it will be totally awesome!

You can actually do it with my snapshot on export plugin, even if you don’t care about the snapshots. I should retrofit it into this plugin, but my plate is overflowing at the moment. —Jeffrey

— comment by Tom on January 24th, 2013 at 11:14am JST (2 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Jeffrey, I tried the Snapshot on Export plugin to add a keyword on export. It worked nice with the Flickr (Lightroom default) publish service but not with the 500px publish service… I checked everything and do not know what is causing this. And if only the “add keywords on export” functionality could be added to Metadata Wrangler it would make life easier…

It really should work with any Publish service out of the box (Lightroom designed things to all fit together that way), so if you can let me know by email more details, I can try to see what’s going on…. —Jeffrey

— comment by Tom on February 2nd, 2013 at 2:39am JST (2 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Hello, from France, Aperture, Lightroom an Photoshop CS6 on my Imac.
My pictures, first on Aperture and after my selection on Lightroom.
I need to get only ” title ” , ” legend ” and keywords ” to put on Excel.
So that, my costumers shall read this metadata to see my botanic pictures.

Do you have any informations on web about this subject.

I am not an informatic’s specialist.

With kind regards for your answer.

The Lr/Transporter plugin should do exactly what you want. As a bonus, its developer (Tim Armes) speaks French. —Jeffrey

— comment by Jacques DURAND on March 18th, 2013 at 7:12pm JST (2 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink


I put this in the main blog and just realised it should be here – sorry.

Thank you for the Metadata Wrangler plugin. It’s exactly what I need – but it didn’t work for me on Lightroom 4 when I tried to remove copyright metadata from a jpeg exported from a dng file. I can see the plugin in the export window and everything looks good. Can you help with what am I doing wrong please? I’m using Lightroom 4.2 and just updated to 4.4 – same problem. Wrangler is current version, just installed.

I’m an Australian photographer living in France.

Thanks for your help.

I’ve recently gotten some other reports about DNG issues that are a high priority on my plate to look at, so this could be related. I’ll be digging in tomorrow… —Jeffrey

— comment by Christine on May 4th, 2013 at 10:32pm JST (2 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

Thanks for the quick reply. I tried again and ticked remove for ‘xmpRights’ block – second from the bottom of the block list. I also checked remove copyright as before and it worked. Cheers, Christine

— comment by Christine on May 4th, 2013 at 11:53pm JST (2 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

Hello Jeffrey,

when I use the Extra option “Set the exported image file’s modification date to the image date” with photos with OriginalDate before 1970 I get an error from the MetadataWrangler.

I detected this problem with scanned photos, but its the same with new RAW-Files when I modify the Capture Time in LR to 1969 or 1955 …

I use LR4.4 (Win7-64) and Metadata Wrangler 20130524.97.


Ah, you’re running into a side effect of the definition of Unix Time, which counts seconds since Jan 1 1970 GMT. I’ll have to see whether there’s a workaround… —Jeffrey

— comment by Thomas on May 29th, 2013 at 8:57am JST (2 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Unable to remove IPTC.Application2.Byline created by LR4. I can check ‘remove’ on Entire IPTC block, but then it removes all IPTC, some of which I want to keep.

I do have ‘remove’ checked on ‘Any metadata item not explicitly listed above.’


This is not currently easy to handle with the plugin because, as you note, it treats IPTC as a block. I’d like to expose each IPTC element as its own selectable field, but the UI gets unweildly quickly. Not sure what to do. )-: In your case, you can also use my run-any-command plugin and invoke exiftool -byline= “{FILE}” to clear out that field. —Jeffrey

— comment by Dan on June 14th, 2013 at 3:28am JST (2 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Is there any chance to enhance this plugin with some IPTC tag swapping?

I would mostly be interested in injecting IPTC Headline tags into the IPTC Title tag on export, just as your export plugins allow to. Unfortunately many places (mis-)use the Title tag for what the Headline tag is supposed to be (I know … there is some heated discussion about this).

For instance the 500px plugin (by 500px) simply uses the Title tag for the image’s descriptive title. This however I have stored in the Headline tag in LR.

Thank you!

With a name like “Metadata Wrangler” you’d think that this kind of metadata swapping would be built in, but in all these years the plugin has been out, I think your request is only the 2nd mention of the idea I’ve heard. My exporter plugin all let you choose what you want to send as titles and the like; I guess you’re penalized for being a 500px customer, because as we all know, I have no plugin for them. —Jeffrey

— comment by Thomas Geist on September 6th, 2013 at 11:22pm JST (2 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

Hi: I have windows 8 and can download the zip file but don’t seem to be able to open it or install it in lightroom. Any suggestions?

Mike A. from B.C. Canada

Try a different browser or unzipper… most folks have no troubles. —Jeffrey

— comment by Anonymous on October 24th, 2013 at 2:11am JST (2 years ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey – is there a way to get the metadata being exported by LR for web galleries to be controlled by the plugin? There is a menu pull down that lets you choose between All or Copyright only. Perhaps there’s a way to get the metadata wrangler to show up as a 3rd option? Thanks!

Sadly, no. I don’t know much about the web module, but AFAIK there are no plugin hooks for its export at all. —Jeffrey

— comment by frez on January 21st, 2014 at 6:39pm JST (1 year, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey – firstly, thanks for providing this fantastic tool. I am, however, having some problems stripping the “Caption” which I have added to the images in Lightroom – I want the caption when I publish to 500px or Flickr, but not when I publish to Smugmug, so I was hoping to be able to remove it using Metadata Wrangler as a post process action when publishing only to Smugmug. I have unchecked the “Caption” option in the “Artist/Copyright/Etc…” section of the plugin window, and after reading some of the comments above I am also removing the entire IPTC block on the basis that it also contains the Caption; but the captions are still showing up after publishing to Smugmug – is this because the Caption info is also included in one of the other blocks (for example, the XMP “tiff” block)?

Ideally what I would like is to remove the Caption from all blocks, but keep the Copyright, Artist, Keywords etc. in all blocks – is this possible, and if so what settings do I need? Any help would be greatfully appreciated.

An uploader-to-SmugMug plugin likely sends the caption explicitly. If you’re using my export-to-SmugMug plugin, it sends the caption as per your setting in the “SmugMug Metadata” section of the Export/Publish dialog, so in this case the Lightroom “caption” embedded in the exported copy (possibly removed via the Metadata Wrangler) is not used by SmugMug. If you’re using a different export-to-SmugMug plugin, probably they’re just sending the Lightroom Caption field directly and so you’ll have to ask them to make it optional. —Jeffrey

— comment by Douglas Penman on February 3rd, 2014 at 8:23pm JST (1 year, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,
I use the current version of your Metadata Wrangler plugin and I like it very much. It’s a great tool!

Unfortunately there is one problem: During the export of some pictures which will be posted in forums I like to exclude author, creator and copyright information. This was handled by Metadata Wrangler very easily except for the IPTC section. Is there a way to exclude the full author, creator and copyright information without loosing the IPTC block?

Thank you!

You can enable the “with prejudice” options and hope to get lucky, but there are some limits to the granularity, depending on the block. —Jeffrey

— comment by Lameth on April 27th, 2014 at 11:25pm JST (1 year, 5 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,

Just stumbled upon your plugin as I was looking for a way to remove the thumbnail that Lightroom embeds upon export to keep the file sizes of the photos (including my own thumbnails) on my website to a minimum.

I noticed two specific problems related to thumbnail removal that I wanted to bring to your attention:

1) If I Preserve everything but just Remove the embedded thumbnail, the IPTC Coded Character Set (UTF8 in my case) is also removed. This causes special characters in my metadata like accented characters and the copyright logo in certain fields to become corrupt. It seems that removing the thumbnail triggers this. I can remove most everything else and keep the Character Set but as soon as I remove the thumbnail, the Character Set goes too.

2) When I select to Remove the embedded thumbnail and also select to Remove “Any metadata item not explicitly listed” (but leave every other item marked as Preserve) the thumbnail isn’t removed. (Note that in this case the IPTC Coded Character Set still goes missing.)

I’m using: Windows 8.1 and Lightroom 5.4
Metadata Wrangler: 20140422.105

Thanks for your help and for the tools that you provide!

–jason from San Francisco, CA

Good catch. I just pushed a fix. Thanks for the report. —Jeffrey

— comment by Jason Waltman on May 10th, 2014 at 12:34pm JST (1 year, 5 months ago) comment permalink

Would it possible to add a feature that changed all keywords to lowercase on export? This would be very helpful for stock libraries that require lowercase keywords/tags.


Metadata Wrangler (20140510.106)

The engineer (and common-sense customer) in me wants to ask why they don’t downcase keywords themselves, if that’s what they want. It doesn’t seem like a generally-useful thing, so it’s probably not something I’d weight down the plugin with…. —Jeffrey

— comment by Sam on May 16th, 2014 at 8:49am JST (1 year, 5 months ago) comment permalink

I recently started trying this plugin. This is an awesome plug-in with lots of function. However, when I use this plug-in and tried to strip a keyword and uploaded to Flickr. It seems like this stripping function did not work, and Flickr still has my keyword in the tag list. I also notice in Flickr, it called tags. In Lightroom, it called keyword. Does this do anything with the problem? Maybe I am doing something wrong with this?

This plugin strips the data from the uploaded copy, but my Flickr plugin also sends the keywords directly. There’s an option to turn that off; check the Flickr Metadata section. —Jeffrey

— comment by Lucas on July 2nd, 2014 at 12:55am JST (1 year, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,

I downloaded this plugin to try and remove some custom profiles that have been embedded in my DNG files… Is this plugin capable of that? Thanks!


No, it’s for removing metadata in exported copies. Perhaps give the command-line version of exiftool a try. —Jeffrey

— comment by Andre on February 23rd, 2015 at 6:52am JST (7 months, 14 days ago) comment permalink

Thanks so much for this plugin! I need to export raw files for clients now and then, but didn’t want them having all the metadata, etc… Found this plugin and seems to be just what I needed to help automate the process and save me time!


— comment by Nick on May 10th, 2015 at 1:08pm JST (4 months, 30 days ago) comment permalink

I am trying the flickr plugin together with the metadata wrangler. Especially I am interested in the keyword stripping using wildcards. When I try this with a normal export it works just fine. But with the flickr plugin it just does not work.
Any ideas?

Cool plugin!

Cheers Arne
My Flickr plugin has a way to send keywords even if they’ve been removed from the uploaded file, so you probably have that option on. Look for “Explicitly send keywords from Lightroom’s catalog” in the “Flickr: Metadata Management” section of the dialog. &mash;Jeffrey

— comment by Arne on May 31st, 2015 at 10:15pm JST (4 months, 9 days ago) comment permalink

I installed the plug-in to be able to remove the ICC-Profile but it only works when choosing ProPhoto in Export/File-Settings/Color Space. If I set the Color Space to Adobe RGB or Srgb the ICC profile will not be removed. Is this a bug?

If you’ve told it to remove the profile and it’s not being removed, it’s a bug. I’d appreciate it if you could send a log of one such experience. —Jeffrey

— comment by Alex on June 8th, 2015 at 6:58pm JST (4 months ago) comment permalink

I’m new to Lightroom and I’m looking around to see if there are plugins that solve a couple of “problems” I have. I’ve got all my photos in a single LR Catalog and then publish them to various sites, my problem is that I want to publish the same photos to “private” och public sites but I don’t want my person tags to be exported to the public sites. Is there some way to prevent this using this plugin?

Sure, make separate Publish Services for those sites, and ensure that the “Remove Person Info” option is enabled in the standard “Metadata” section of the Publish Service Manager. —Jeffrey

— comment by Jan Erik Moström on July 28th, 2015 at 4:39am JST (2 months, 12 days ago) comment permalink

Hello Jeffrey, thanks for this great plugin. I’m having encoding issues with the “Sublocation” field. Please see these screenshots: In Lightroom, unicode characters entered in Title are correctly output to image metadata, but the Sublocation field looks incorrect. Maybe I’m doing something wrong?

Lightroom CC 2015.1.1
Plugin 20150808.133
OS X 10.10.4


The error was in my Exif-viewer site; I’ve corrected it. Thanks for the heads up. —Jeffrey

— comment by Ray Shan on September 14th, 2015 at 4:18pm JST (3 weeks, 4 days ago) comment permalink
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See the known issues before reporting bugs. Also, when reporting bugs, please include the OS, the version number of Lightroom, and the version number of the plugin. PLEASE REPORT THE NAME AND FULL VERSION NUMBER OF THE PLUGIN WITH EVERY REPORT. Seriously. I need the full version number or I likely can't do anything but ignore the message.

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