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Metadata basics and actions

  1. Lightroom Classic User Guide
  2. Introduction to Lightroom Classic
    1. What's new in Lightroom Classic
    2. Lightroom Classic system requirements
    3. Lightroom Classic | Common Questions
    4. Lightroom Classic Key Concepts
    5. Lightroom Classic tutorials
    6. Feature summary | Lightroom CC 2015.x/Lightroom 6.x releases
  3. Lightroom and Adobe services
    1. Creative Cloud Libraries
    2. Using Adobe Stock in Creative Cloud apps
  4. Lightroom for mobile, TV, and the web
    1. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for mobile and Apple TV | FAQ
    2. Sync Lightroom Classic with Lightroom ecosystem
    3. Photoshop family of mobile apps
  5. Import photos
    1. Import photos from a camera or card reader
    2. Import photos from a folder on a hard drive
    3. Import photos automatically
    4. Import photos from Photoshop Elements
    5. Import photos from a tethered camera
    6. Specify import options
    7. Set import preferences
    8. The Filename Template Editor and Text Template Editor
  6. Workflows
    1. Apply Masking in photos
    2. Export and save your photos as JPEGs
    3. Export and watermark your photos
    4. Import your photos
    5. Adjustment Brush: the basics
    6. Adjustments with the Tone Curve
    7. Advanced video slideshows
    8. Control white balance
    9. Create a contact sheet
    10. Enhance your workflow with Lightroom Classic
    11. Adjustments with Lens Blur
    12. Edit and Export in HDR
  7. Workspace
    1. Workspace basics
    2. Set preferences for working in Lightroom Classic
    3. Display the Library on a second monitor
    4. Personalize identity plates and module buttons
    5. Watermark your photos in Lightroom Classic
    6. Color management
  8. Viewing photos
    1. View photos
    2. Browse and compare photos
    3. Set Library view options
    4. Share photos for comments and feedback
    5. Smart Previews
  9. Manage catalogs and files
    1. Lightroom Classic catalog FAQ
    2. How Lightroom Classic catalogs work
    3. Create and manage catalogs
    4. Back up a catalog
    5. Locate missing photos
    6. Create and manage folders
    7. Manage photos within folders
  10. Maps
    1. Work with the Map module
  11. Organize photos in Lightroom Classic
    1. Face recognition
    2. Work with photo collections
    3. Group photos into stacks
    4. Flag, label, and rate photos
    5. Use keywords
    6. Metadata basics and actions
    7. Find photos in the catalog
    8. Work with video in Lightroom Classic
    9. Advanced metadata actions
    10. Use the Quick Develop panel
  12. Process and develop photos
    1. Develop module basics
    2. Create panoramas and HDR panoramas
    3. Flat-Field Correction
    4. Correct distorted perspective in photos using Upright
    5. Improve image quality using Enhance
    6. Work with image tone and color
    7. Masking
    8. Apply local adjustments
    9. HDR photo merge
    10. Develop module options
    11. Retouch photos
    12. Cure red eye and pet eye effects
    13. Use the Radial Filter tool
    14. Use the enhanced Spot Removal tool
  13. Export photos
    1. Export files to disk or CD
    2. Export photos from Lightroom Classic
    3. Publish photos online
    4. Export to hard drive using publish services
    5. Presets for export, and other settings
  14. Work with external editors
    1. External Editing preferences
    2. Open and edit Lightroom Classic photos in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements
  15. Slideshows
    1. Create slideshows
    2. Slideshow module panels and tools
    3. Specify the slide layout
    4. Add overlays to slides
    5. Play and export slideshows
  16. Print photos
    1. Print module basics
    2. Print module layouts and templates
    3. Work with print job options and settings
  17. Photo books
    1. Create photo books
  18. Web galleries
    1. Create web galleries
    2. Use the Web module panels and tools
    3. Work with web gallery layouts
    4. Work with web gallery templates and settings
    5. Preview, export, and upload web photo galleries
  19. Keyboard shortcuts
    1. Keyboard shortcuts
  20. Troubleshooting 
    1. Fixed Issues
    2. Known Issues

About metadata and XMP

Metadata is a set of standardized information about a photo, such as the author’s name, resolution, color space, copyright, and keywords applied to it. For example, most digital cameras attach some basic information about a file, such as height, width, file format, and the time the image was taken. Lightroom Classic also supports the information standard developed by the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) to identify transmitted text and images. This standard includes entries for descriptions, keywords, categories, credits, extended descriptions, Alt text, and origins. You can use metadata to streamline your workflow and organize your files.

File information is stored using the Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) standard. XMP is built on XML. In the case of camera raw files that have a proprietary file format, XMP isn’t written into the original files. To avoid file corruption, XMP metadata is stored in a separate file called a sidecar file. For all other file formats supported by Lightroom Classic (JPEG, TIFF, PSD, and DNG), XMP metadata is written into the files in the location specified for that data. 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), and TIFF, is synchronized and described with XMP so that it can be more easily viewed and managed.

Specify where to write metadata changes

Lightroom Classic automatically writes adjustments and settings metadata to the catalog. You can also instruct Lightroom Classic to write the changes to XMP. In order for changes made in Lightroom Classic to be recognized by other applications, metadata must be written to XMP.

  1. Choose Edit > Catalog Settings (Windows) or Lightroom Classic > Catalog Settings (Mac OS).

  2. Click the Metadata tab, and then do either of the following:

    • To write adjustments and settings metadata to XMP, select Automatically Write Changes Into XMP.

    • To write adjustments and settings metadata only to the catalog, deselect Automatically Write Changes Into XMP.

If you don’t write adjustments and settings metadata to XMP automatically, you can select a file and choose Metadata > Save Metadata To File.

Metadata workflow changes that would be written to XMP in Develop module

Starting from the Lightroom Classic 13.0 release, we have changed the XMP writing frequency for the Develop module when Automatically Write Changes Into XMP is enabled. XMP writing was done for each edit operation in earlier versions of Lightroom Classic, resulting in frequent disk writes. If  “Automatically Write Changes Into XMP” is selected, the XMP file will be created for a raw file after import. The XMP writing would be done on the following user actions for a single image.

  • Change in Active Image.
  • Switch to another module.
  • Move the Lightroom Classic app in the background.
  • Quit the Lightroom Classic app.

There is no change in batch editing of images. XMP will be saved immediately after each edit.

Save metadata changes to a file manually

To manually save metadata changes to a photo in Lightroom Classic, do one of the following:

  • Select one or more photos in the Grid view of the Library module and choose Metadata > Save Metadata To File(s), or press Ctrl+S (Windows) or Command+S (Mac OS).
  • Click the Metadata File Needs To Be Updated icon  in a thumbnail in the Grid view of the Library module, and then click Save.
  • If you’re working with a DNG file, choose Metadata > Update DNG Previews & Metadata to save metadata changes to the file and also generate a preview based on the current raw processing settings.

View photo metadata

In the Library module, the Metadata panel displays the filename, file path, rating, text label, and EXIF and IPTC metadata of selected photos. Use the pop-up menu to choose a set of metadata fields. Lightroom Classic has premade sets that display different combinations of metadata.

  1. With one or more photos selected in the Grid view, or with a single photo selected in the Filmstrip in Loupe, Compare, or Survey view, choose any of the following from the pop-up menu at the top of the Metadata panel:


    Shows the filename, copy name, folder, rating, text label, and a subset of IPTC and EXIF metadata. You can customize the default metadata panel to include specific fields that you want to see.

    All Plug-In Metadata

    Displays custom metadata created by third-party plug-ins. If you don’t have any plug-ins installed, filename, copy name, and folder are displayed.


    Shows the DNG Version, DNG Compatibility, and Lightroom Compatibility


    Shows the filename, file path, dimensions, and EXIF camera metadata such as Exposure, Focal Length, ISO Speed Rating, and Flash. If your camera records GPS metadata, the information appears as EXIF metadata.

    EXIF and IPTC

    Shows the filename, size, type, location, metadata status, and all EXIF and basic IPTC metadata.


    Shows the filename and basic IPTC metadata: Contact, Content, Image, Status, and Copyright metadata.

    IPTC Extension

    Shows the filename and IPTC metadata for model and artwork releases and other types of licensing rights.

    Large Caption

    Shows a large caption edit box and the copyright box.


    Shows the filename, copy name, folder, title, caption, and location fields, including GPS coordinates.


    Shows the filename, rating, plus Caption and Copyright metadata.

    Quick Describe

    Shows the filename, copy name, file path, rating, and the following EXIF and IPTC metadata: Dimensions, Date Time, Camera, Title, Caption, Copyright, Creator, and Location.

    Three Dimensional Projection

    Shows the Projection and Created By fields.


    In the Metadata panel, if an IPTC metadata field displays an arrow, clicking the arrow is a quick way to find and view all photos containing the specific metadata.

View Metadata for Target Photo

Starting with Lightroom Classic version 11.0, you can make a precise decision to view the metadata for your image selection. When multiple images are selected, you can choose to view metadata for the active image or across all selected images. To view the metadata for the active image, select Target Photo or select Selected Photos to view metadata of all the selected images. By default, Target Photo is selected as the option to view metadata.

View metadata for a target photo.

View metadata for selected photos.

Customize Default Metadata Panel

Lightroom Classic now has a Customize button at the bottom of the Metadata panel. 

customize metadata panel
Customize default metadata panel

Click the Customize button to select the specific metadata fields that you want to display in the Metadata panel. Use the drop-down to select specific fields from the given menu.

Customize default metadata panel
Customized default metadata panel


Selecting a high number of metadata fields might have an impact on the performance of the Metadata Panel.

You can also arrange the order in which the selected metadata fields should appear in the Metadata Panel. Click Arrange in the Customize Metadata Default Panel dialog box and drag and drop the selected fields to rearrange them. Any new field added to the customized Metadata Panel will be added at the end of the rearranged list.

Arrange metadata fields in Customized Default Metadata Panel.

Edit-only Mode

You can edit all visible metadata fields in the Metadata panel by enabling the Edit-Only mode. The current metadata values are not displayed in this mode.

Edit-only metadata
Edit-only Mode in Metadata Panel

Add and edit IPTC metadata

Metadata is added to photos by entering the information in the Metadata panel. Premade metadata sets make it easy to make all or only a subset of the photo’s metadata available for adding or editing.


Choosing a metadata preset, copying and pasting metadata from another photo, and synchronizing metadata are quick ways to add metadata to photos that will share the same metadata.

  1. With one or more photos selected in the Grid view, or with a single photo selected in the Filmstrip in Loupe, Compare, or Survey view, choose a metadata set from the pop-up menu at the top of the Metadata panel. See View photo metadata.
  2. Do any of the following:
    • To add metadata, type in a metadata text box.

    • To add metadata from a preset, choose a metadata preset from the Preset menu.

    • To edit metadata, overwrite an entry in a metadata text box.

    • To perform a related action, click the action icon to the right of the metadata field. For example, to view all photos with the specified label, click the icon to the right of the Label field.

      Tip: Separate fields are available for sending e-mail and for jumping to a website link. By clicking the link to the right of Website, for example, you can open the browser to the specified website.

If more than one photo is selected in the Filmstrip in Loupe, Compare, or Survey view, the metadata is added only to the active photo.

Change the photo capture time

Sometimes you need to change the capture time for your photos. For example, you might need to change the capture times if you traveled to a different time zone and didn’t change your camera’s date/time setting before you started photographing, or if you imported a scanned photo into Lightroom Classic, the photo would contain the creation date of when it was scanned, rather than when it was taken.

In order to save an edited capture time to a raw photo, you must enable the option in the Catalog Settings dialog box. See Customize catalog settings.

Changing the capture time changes the Date Time Original EXIF metadata in the Metadata panel. For most cameras, Date Time Original and Date Time Digitized are the same, so Date Time Digitized changes, too. The Date Time metadata indicates the last time the photo was updated and is not affected when you change the capture time.


The Edit Capture Time command cannot be undone by pressing Ctrl+Z (Windows) or Command+Z (Mac OS). You would need to use the Revert Capture Time To Original command.

  1. With one or more photos selected in the Grid view, or with a single photo selected in the Filmstrip in Loupe, Compare, or Survey view, do one of the following:
    • Choose Metadata > Edit Capture Time.

    • In the Metadata panel with EXIF information displayed, click the arrow in the Date Time field.

  2. In the Edit Capture Time dialog box, select the type of adjustment:

    Adjust To A Specified Date And Time

    Changes the capture time to the date and time you specify.

    Shift By Set Number Of Hours (Time Zone Adjust)

    Changes the capture time by the number of hours you add to or subtract from the original time.

    Change To File Creation Date For Each Image

    Changes the capture time in the camera EXIF data to the file creation date. If you select this option, skip step 3.


    If you're adjusting to a specified date and time for multiple images, it's recommended to select images of a single timezone. When images of multiple timezones are selected, other images are also set to the adjusted date and time but offset by the time difference between the image used and other images selected to change the date and time.

  3. In the New Time area of the dialog box, do one of the following:
    • If you selected Adjust To A Specified Date And Time, type a new date and time in the Corrected Time text box. You can also select the date and time values and then use the Up or Down Arrow buttons to increase or decrease the values.

    • If you selected Shift By Set Number Of Hours, choose a value from the pop-up menu to adjust the time forward or back.


    If more than one photo is selected in the Grid view, Lightroom Classic changes the capture time for the active photo by the specified adjustment. (The active photo is previewed in the Edit Capture Time dialog box.) Other photos in the selection are adjusted by the same amount of time. If more than one photo is selected in the Filmstrip in Loupe, Compare, or Survey view, the capture time is changed only on the active photo.

  4. (Optional) To revert the capture time back to the original, select the photos in the Grid view or the Filmstrip and choose Metadata > Revert Capture Time To Original.


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