Metadata is a set of standardized information about a file, such as author name, resolution, color space, copyright, and keywords applied to it. For example, most digital cameras attach some basic information to an image file, such as height, width, file format, and time the image was taken. You can use metadata to streamline your workflow and organize your files.
Metadata information is stored using the Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) standard, on which Adobe® Bridge, Adobe Illustrator®, Adobe InDesign®, and Adobe Photoshop are built. Adjustments made to images with Photoshop® Camera Raw are stored as XMP metadata. XMP is built on XML, and in most cases the metadata is stored in the file. If it isn’t possible to store the information in the file, metadata is stored in a separate file called a sidecar file. XMP facilitates the exchange of metadata between Adobe applications and across publishing workflows. For example, you can save metadata from one file as a template, and then import the metadata into other files.
Metadata that is stored in other formats, such as Exif, IPTC (IIM), GPS, and TIFF, is synchronized and described with XMP so that it can be more easily viewed and managed. Other applications and features (for example, Adobe Drive) also use XMP to communicate and store information such as version comments, which you can search using Adobe Bridge.
In most cases, the metadata remains with the file even when the file format changes (for example, from PSD to JPG). Metadata also remains when files are placed in an Adobe document or project.
If you’re a C++ or Java developer, use the XMP Toolkit SDK to customize the processing and exchange of metadata. If you’re an Adobe Flash® or Flex developer, use the XMP File Info SDK to customize the File Info dialog box. For more information, visit the Adobe website.
Many of the powerful Adobe Bridge features that allow you to organize, search, and keep track of your files and versions depend on XMP metadata in your files. Adobe Bridge provides two ways of working with metadata: through the Metadata panel and through the File Info dialog box.
In some cases, multiple views exist for the same metadata property. For example, a property may be labeled Author in one view and Creator in another, but both refer to the same underlying property. Even if you customize these views for specific workflows, they remain standardized through XMP.
The Metadata panel
A file’s metadata contains information about the contents, copyright status, origin, and history of the file. In the Metadata panel, you can view and edit the metadata for selected files, use metadata to search for files, and use templates to append and replace metadata.
Depending on the selected file, the following types of metadata may appear:
Describes the characteristics of the file, including the size, creation date, and modification date.
IPTC (IIM, Legacy)
Displays editable metadata such as a description and copyright information. This set of metadata is hidden by default because IPTC Core supersedes it. However, you can display IPTC (IIM, legacy) metadata by selecting it from the Metadata options in the Preferences dialog box.
Displays editable metadata about the file. The IPTC Core specification was developed by the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) for professional photography, especially news and stock photos.
Includes additional identifying information about photo content, including rights-related details.
Camera Data (Exif)
Displays information assigned by digital cameras, including the camera settings used when the image was taken.
Displays navigational information from a global positioning system (GPS) available in some digital cameras. Photos without GPS information don’t have GPS metadata.
Keeps a log of changes made to images with Photoshop.
Note: The History Log preference must be turned on in Photoshop for the log to be saved with the file’s metadata.
Displays information about images saved in the Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) format.
The metadata placard
A. Aperture B. Metering mode C. White balance D. Image dimensions E. Image size F. Color profile or filename extension G. Shutter speed H. Exposure compensation I. ISO
|Average or centerweighted average||Evaluative|
|Matrix or pattern||Partial|
|Centerweighted average or center weight||Other or unknown|
See the documentation that came with your camera for more information on its metering mode icons.
- Select one or more files and view the information in the Metadata panel. If you select multiple files, only metadata that is common to the files appears. Use the scroll bars to view hidden categories. Click the triangle to display everything within a category.
You can change the typeface size in the panel by choosing Increase Font Size or Decrease Font Size from the panel menu.
- Select one or more files and choose File >File Info. Then, select any of the categories listed at the top of the dialog box. Use the left and right arrows to scroll categories, or click the down arrow and select a category from the list.
Edit metadata in the Metadata panel
View Camera Raw and Lightroom metadata in Adobe Bridge
Because Adobe Bridge, Camera Raw, and Lightroom all use the XMP standard for storing metadata, each application can read metadata changes made in the others. If you add a star rating or IPTC information to a photo in Adobe Bridge, for example, Lightroom can display that metadata in the Library module. Similarly, adjustments or other metadata changes that you make to a photo in Camera Raw or Lightroom appear in Adobe Bridge. Metadata changes made in Lightroom must be saved to XMP in Lightroom in order for Adobe Bridge to recognize them.
While browsing files, Adobe Bridge rereads metadata, detects changes, and updates previews automatically. When Adobe Bridge detects metadata changes have been made to a photo, it displays a Has Settings badge in the photo thumbnail in the Content panel.
If you switch between Lightroom and Adobe Bridge rapidly, you may notice a delay in the update appearing in the Content and Preview panels. If, after waiting a few seconds, Adobe Bridge does not automatically display metadata changes from Lightroom or Camera Raw, choose View > Refresh, or press F5.
View linked InDesign files
Adobe InDesign CS5 and CS6 documents that contain linked files display a link badge in the upper-right corner of the thumbnail in the Content panel. The metadata for the linked files is available in Adobe Bridge.
View colors (Illustrator and InDesign) or fonts (InDesign)
When you select an InDesign document, the Metadata panel displays fonts and color swatches used in the document. When you select an Illustrator document, the Metadata panel displays plates and color swatches used in the document.
Add metadata using the File Info dialog box
The File Info dialog box displays camera data, file properties, an edit history, copyright, and author information. The File Info dialog box also displays custom metadata panels. You can add metadata directly in the File Info dialog box. If you select multiple files, the dialog box shows where different values exist for a text field. Any information you enter in a field overrides existing metadata and applies the new value to all selected files.
You can also view metadata in the Metadata panel, in certain views in the Content panel, and by placing the pointer over the thumbnail in the Content panel.
Use the Right Arrow and Left Arrow keys to scroll the tabs, or click the down-pointing arrow and choose a category from the list.
Lets you enter document information about the file, such as document title, author, description, and keywords that can be used to search for the document. To specify copyright information, select Copyrighted from the Copyright Status pop-up menu. Then enter the copyright owner, notice text, and the URL of the person or company holding the copyright.
Includes four areas: Content describes the visual content of the image. Contact lists the contact information for the photographer. Image lists descriptive information for the image. Status lists workflow and copyright information.
Includes additional identifying information about photo content, including rights-related details.
On the left, lists read-only information about the camera and settings used to take the photo, such as make, model, shutter speed, and f‑stop. On the right, lists read-only file information about the image file, including pixel dimensions and resolution.
Displays navigational information from a global positioning system (GPS) available in some digital cameras. Photos without GPS information don't have GPS metadata.
Lists information about the video file, including video frame width and height, and lets you enter information such as tape name and scene name.
Lists information about mobile media files, including title, author, description, and content type.
Lets you enter file information that is useful for news outlets, including when and where the file was created, transmission information, special instructions, and headline information.
Displays Adobe Photoshop history log information for images saved with Photoshop. The History option appears only if Adobe Photoshop is installed.
Work with metadata templates
You can create new metadata templates in Adobe Bridge by using the Create Metadata Template command. You can also modify the metadata in the File Info dialog box and save it as a text file with a .xmp filename extension. You share XMP files with other users or apply them to other files.
You can save metadata in a template that can be used to populate metadata in InDesign documents and other documents created with XMP‑enabled software. Templates you create are stored in a shared location that all XMP‑enabled software can access.
- To create a metadata template, choose Tools > Create Metadata Template. Enter a Template Name, and select the metadata values that you want to include. Then click Save.
If you select a metadata option and leave the corresponding box empty, Adobe Bridge clears existing metadata when you apply the template.
- To go to a saved metadata template in Explorer (Windows) or the Finder (Mac OS), choose Tools > Create Metadata Template. Click the pop-up menu in the upper-right corner of the Create Metadata template dialog box and choose Show Templates Folder.
- To delete a metadata template, select it in the Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac OS) and press Delete, or drag it to the Recycle Bin (Windows) or the Trash (Mac OS).
- To apply metadata templates to files in Adobe Bridge, select one or more files and then choose a command from the Metadata panel menu:
Append Metadata > [template name]
Applies the template metadata where no metadata value or property currently exists in the file.
Replace Metadata > [template name]
Completely replaces any existing metadata in the file with the metadata in the template.
- To edit a metadata template, choose Tools >Edit Metadata Template > [template name]. Enter different values for the included metadata and click Save.
- To save a file’s metadata as an XMP file, choose File >File Info. Click the pop-up menu at the bottom of the dialog box, next to the Preferences button, and chose Export. Type a filename, specify a location, and click Save.
You can only export metadata from one file at a time. If multiple files are selected, the Export option is not available.