Last updated on October 3, 2022
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About metadata

Metadata is information or data that describes or is associated with other information or data, such as a keyword that describes a photo, shutter speed, geographic coordinates, etc.

For RAW files, this metadata is recorded in annex files, also called sidecars; for RGB files metadata is stored in fields provided for this purpose within the file itself. They are also saved in the DxO PhotoLab database. The saving of metadata is automatic and executed in real time.

In photo software in general, and in DxO PhotoLab in particular, you will find two types of metadata: EXIF and IPTC. These are official protocols adopted by the international image and publishing industry:

The photo software industry also uses XMP (.xmp extension), a universal format for storing and transferring information and metadata. DxO PhotoLab now uses this format for image metadata, in addition to its own proprietary DOP format (.dop extension). The first one enables assigning metadata to images, especially for IPTC fields (readable by all photo software), and the second one enables saving corrections made to images (and readable only by DxO Labs software).

You can find more information and features related to metadata in the following sections of this user guide:

The Metadata palette

Overview

Located in the right panel of the PhotoLibrarytab, the Metadata palette contains the following subpalettes:

To enter information in the input fields:

  1. Select one or more images in the Image Browser.
  2. Click in an input field to activate it.
  3. Enter the information.
  4. Move to another field or click elsewhere to confirm.

To correct or change information in a field:

  1. Select one or more images in the Image Browser.
  2. Click in an input field to activate it.
  3. Using your mouse, highlight the entire text or a portion of it and hit Backspace. You can also click in one place and then press the same key to delete the previous letter or letters.
  4. Move to another field or click elsewhere to confirm.

Only the Elite edition of DxO PhotoLab allows you to enter and modify data in IPTC fields. However, you can copy/paste IPTC fields in both the Elite and Essential editions.

EXIF sub-palette

The More subpalette displays the main image and shooting information in a table and a list (from top to bottom):

IPTC Subpalettes

The IPTC subpalette shows textual information about your images and photographic activities that you can enter and edit yourself. You have the following categories, which are standardized and readable in all photo software that recognizes the IPTC protocol:

The Keywords palette

Keywords are a great way to document your photos and describe their content. They also make it easy to find and collect them in your PhotoLibrary. DxO PhotoLab allows you to add and display keywords, including those entered in other programs.

Keywords entered are stored in the DxO PhotoLab database, but not in the images themselves (RGB files), nor in the sidecars (.dop or .xmp) of RAW files. The keywords are included with the images when they are exported.

If you start typing a keyword that is already stored in the database, the program will suggest keywords that start with the same letters. So you can select a desired keyword by using the up and down arrows on the keyboard, instead of having to type in the word completely.

Entering single keywords

You enter keywords in the Keywords palette of the Customize tab (located by default in the right panel under the Metadata palette).

  1. Select one or more images in the Image Browser.
  2. Enter a keyword into the Add Keywordsfield (you can only enter one word at a time).
  3. Confirm with the Enter/Return key.
  4. The keyword is assigned to the selected image(s) and appears as a label below the input field.

You can only enter one keyword at a time, whether it is a single word or a compound word. The latter may contain a space or a separator, and will be treated as a single keyword (for example, if you enter “red; black”, you will get a single keyword “red; black”).

You can also apply one or more keywords that are not common to the selected images:

  1. Right-click on an uncommon keyword (dark label) to select it.
  2. The label turns blue.
  3. From the context menu, select Apply keyword to selection. The keyword is assigned to the other selected images.

Entering hierarchical keywords

You can enter hierarchical keywords, that is, parent and child keywords, using signs. For example, if you enter “Parent > Child” (“Parent” is larger than “Child”) or “Child < Parent” (“Child” is smaller than “Parent”), the Keywords palette will display only the Child keyword label. The Keyword list, on the other hand, will display the “Parent” keyword, and clicking the arrow to the left of it will reveal the “Child” keyword.

This means the child keyword always takes precedence, but the parent keyword is implicitly present: if you place the mouse on the “Child” label, a tooltip will display the Parent > Child relationship. Note that the search also works on parent keywords.

Displaying parent and child keywords.

You can also filter the display so that only parent keywords are visible, by clicking on the icon to the right of the input field (when the filter is active, the icon is blue). To return to the display of child and parent keywords, click the icon again (the icon is grayed out when the filter is inactive).

Automatic suggestions during input offer both single and hierarchical keywords.

Compatibility of hierarchical keywords: Certain photo software products do not allow displaying and/or keeping hierarchical keywords and their associated tree structure.

Modifying keywords

If you want to change or correct a keyword (PC):

  1. Right-click on the keyword label (you can also double-click on the label or hit the F2 key).
  2. The label becomes blue and active, and you can proceed with the input.
  3. Confirm with the Enter/Return key.

If you want to change or correct a keyword (Mac):

  1. Click on the small arrow in the keyword label.
  2. From the context menu, select Rename.
  3. The label turns blue and becomes active.
  4. A dialog box will prompt you to edit then confirm it (click on Rename).

Editing a keyword applies to all the images that keyword has been assigned to.

Deleting keywords

To delete a keyword:

  1. Click on the small arrow in the keyword label.
  2. Select Remove Keyword from Selection.
  3. The deletion occurs directly, without a confirmation dialog.

To delete multiple keywords at once:

  1. Click on the first keyword label.
  2. Shift-click the last tag, which causes all tags to be selected and turn blue.
  3. Hit Backspace.
  4. The keywords are removed from the selected image or images.

Removing keywords:
– You can remove keywords from the images you select, but not from the DxO PhotoLab database.
– You can remove keywords from the DxO PhotoLab database using the Keyword list sub-palette.

Keyword list

The Keywords palette includes a Keyword list section. It shows the keywords in alphabetical order. When you select one or more images, the assigned keywords are indicated by a check mark to the left of each keyword. This means you can check keywords in the list to assign them to the selected images or, conversely, remove them from the images by unchecking them. This also applies to hierarchical keywords. The advantage of the Keyword list is that you can easily assign to or remove large quantities of existing keywords from the selected images.

The number to the right of each keyword indicates the total number of images the keyword is assigned to.

By right-clicking on a keyword in the list, you can access a context menu with the following functions:

The list also includes the following buttons:

Finally, you can easily create hierarchical keywords in the list, by dragging and dropping a keyword onto another keyword. The keyword you drag and drop becomes a child keyword. You can do the opposite by entering the child keyword and dropping it between two keywords (the drop location will be marked by a line with a dot). The conversion of a simple keyword into a hierarchical keyword (and vice versa) will be indicated on all images to which this keyword is assigned.

Displaying keywords

There are several ways to display keywords, whether they were entered in DxO PhotoLab or come from another program.

If you only select one image:

If you have selected several images and they contain exactly the same keywords:

If you have selected several images and they contain only different keywords:

If you have selected several images and they contain both common and different keywords:

Copying and pasting metadata

DxO PhotoLab provides a quick way to assign the information entered in the IPTC metadata fields, keywords, and sorting attributes (star ratings and Keep/Discard status) from one image to a batch of other images.

Copy/paste all metadata

To assign all the metadata, keywords, and attributes of an image to another image or group of images:

  1. In theImage Browser, right-click on the source image (the one that contains the metadata to copy).
  2. From the context menu, select Paste metadata.
  3. In theImage Browser, select and right-click the destination image(s).
  4. From the context menu, select Paste all metadata.
  5. The set of metadata is assigned to the destination image(s) (there is no dialog box to confirm).

To assign keywords or GPS coordinates to other images:

  1. In theImage Browser, right-click on the source image (the one that contains the metadata to copy).
  2. From the context menu, select Paste metadata.
  3. In theImage Browser, select and right-click the destination image(s).
  4. In the context menu, select Paste meta and then, in the submenu, choose Paste Keywords or Paste GPS Coordinates or Paste Author & Copyright.
  5. The set of metadata is assigned to the destination image(s) (there is no dialog box to confirm).

Copy and paste a selection of metadata

You can choose in detail which metadata to copy from one image to other images:

  1. In theImage Browser, right-click on the source image (the one that contains the metadata to copy).
  2. From the context menu, select Paste metadata.
  3. In theImage Browser, select and right-click the destination image(s).
  4. From the context menu, select Paste metadata and then, from the submenu, choose Paste selected metadata….
  5. A dialog box allows you to check different boxes to choose the different categories (Attributes, GPS Coordinates, Keywords, IPTC) and information in detail.
  6. Click Paste to assign the selected metadata to the destination images.

The dialog box includes the following items:

You will also find the following buttons:

Items with an asterisk (*) indicate empty metadata fields that will delete the contents of the corresponding fields in the destination image.

Renaming images

If you want to rename your images, DxO PhotoLab allows you to do so either individually or in batches. You can easily replace or add text, or rename by adding a sequence number; The renaming tools are available both in the PhotoLibrary tab and in the Customize tab.

Renaming a single image or renaming one by one (PC)

To rename a single image, or images one by one on a Windows PC:

  1. In the Image Browser, right-click on the thumbnail of the image to be renamed to select it and display the context menu. You can also right-click on the image displayed in the Viewer.
  2. Select Rename image from the context menu.
  3. The file name in the thumbnail becomes an active input field.
  4. You can remove the original name entirely and enter a new one, or change part of the existing name, by clicking on it at the desired location.
  5. Once you have entered the new name, hit Enter to confirm.
  6. Go on to the next image if necessary.

There are two other methods to rename an image:

Renaming a single image or renaming one by one (Mac)

To rename a single image or images one by one on a Mac:

  1. In the Image Browser, right-click on the thumbnail of the image to be renamed to select it and display the context menu. You can also select the image by clicking on the thumbnail and going to the Image menu.
  2. Select Rename image from the context menu.
  3. A dialog box opens and displays the file name in an active input field.
  4. You can remove the original name entirely and enter a new one, or change part of the existing name, by clicking on it at the desired location.
  5. Confirm by clicking OK.
  6. Go on to the next image if necessary.

Batch renaming images (ELITE edition)

Three methods for batch renaming are at your disposal. To access them:

  1. In Image Browser, select a series of images.
  2. Right-click and from the context menu, choose Rename selected images…
  3. A dialog box will appear, where you can choose from the following options:

Replacing text

This function lets you replace the name or a portion of the filename. For example, if your files contain the string “AAA”, you can replace it with the string “BBB” in a single click:

  1. In the Image Browser, select the files you want to change or modify the names of.
  2. Right-click and from the context menu, choose Rename selected images…
  3. From the dialog box, select Replace Text.
  4. In the Search field, enter the text to replace (“AAA” in our example).
  5. In the Replace with field, enter the replacement text (“BBB” in our example).
  6. The dialog box displays a Filename preview featuring the current name (before change) and the new name (after change).
  7. Click the Rename1 button: the text or “AAA” portion of the text is replaced with “BBB”.

1 If one or many of the selected images do not feature the text to be replaced, the Rename button will remain inactive. In this case, select the files that contain the text you want to replace.

Adding text

You can also keep the original name of your files and add additional information such as your initials, the name of your device, a date, a subject, etc., either as a suffix (after the original name) or as a prefix (before the original name). Here we will use the suffix “_DxO”:

  1. In the Image Browser, select the files that you want to change or modify the names of.
  2. Right-click and from the context menu, choose Rename selected images…
  3. From the dialog box, select Add text.
  4. In the Text field, enter the text you want to add (“_DxO” in our example).
  5. From the Position list, choose After name.
  6. In the Preview section, the dialog box displays the current name (before modification) and the new name (after modification)1.
  7. Click the Rename button: the suffix “_DxO” is added to the name of the selected files.

1 Depending on the length, the filename may be truncated. Place the mouse over one of the names to display it in full in a tooltip.

2 The Rename button also indicates the number of images.

Renaming and adding a counter

With this mode, you can add a counter (sequence number) to file names, or rename the files and add the counter.

Just adding a counter.
Adding a counter and a file name.

To add a counter to an existing file name:

  1. In the Image Browser, select the files that you want to add a counter to.
  2. Right-click and from the context menu, choose Rename selected images…
  3. From the dialog box, select Rename & Add Counter.
  4. The Custom Name field is empty by default, leave it empty if you just want to add a counter, enter the original name or another name if you want to add it with the counter.
  5. In the Start at field, the counter starts at 0 by default (file name + 0, 1, 2, 3, etc.). You can enter a different figure. To start the counter at 1, enter 1; to separate the counter from the file name, enter a dash in front of 1 (1- or 1_ for a prefix, -1 or _1 for a suffix).
  6. In the Digits field, select the number of digits in the counter (e. g. 1 digit, 2 digits, etc.). If you enter a hyphen to separate the counter from the filename, add a unit to the number of counter units (2 units for -1, 3 units for -01, etc.).
  7. From the Position list, choose the counter location (in After name or Before name).
  8. The dialog box displays a Filename preview featuring the current name (before change) and the new name (after change).
  9. Click the Rename button: figures are added to the original filenames (filename 1, filename2, filename3, etc.).

Changing image dates

You can change image dates in the Metadata palette in 3 different ways:

The Edit shot date window looks like this:

When you change the date of an image, the Date tag, in the More subpalette, displays an asterisk: Date*.

You can change the date and time on an image-by-image basis, or by batches. When you select multiple images, only the date and time of the first one (identifiable by the white frame in the thumbnail) are displayed in the More sub-palette.

Add

  1. In the Image Browser, select the image or images you want to change the date for.
  2. Right-click the thumbnail(s) and then, in the context menu, Select Edit shot date… (you can also use the Image > Edit shot date… menu, or click on the pencil in the Metadata palette, More subpalette, to the right of Shot Date.
  3. In the Edit shot date window, select the Add mode.
  4. The various counters allow for increments by unit (1). For example, if you want to add 1 day and 1 hour to the original date, select 1 in the relevant counters.
  5. Check the modification in Modified shot date.
  6. Select the presets you want to import, then click Open.

Subtract

  1. In the Image Browser, select the image or images you want to change the date for.
  2. Right-click the thumbnail(s) and then, in the context menu, Select Edit shot date… (you can also use the Image > Edit shot date… menu, or click on the pencil in the Metadata palette, More subpalette, to the right of Shot Date.
  3. In the Change shot date window, select the Subtract mode.
  4. The various counters allow for increments by unit (1). For example, if you want to subtract 1 day and 1 hour from the original date, enter 1 in the appropriate counters.
  5. Check the modification in Modified shot date.
  6. Select the presets you want to import, then click Open.

Replace with

  1. In the Image Browser, select the image or images you want to change the date for.
  2. Right-click the thumbnail(s) and then, in the context menu, Select Edit shot date… (you can also use the Image > Edit shot date… menu, or click on the pencil in the Metadata palette, More subpalette, to the right of Shot Date.
  3. In the Change shot date window, select Change to.
  4. Adjust the days, months, years, hours, minutes and seconds as desired.
  5. Check the modification in Modified shot date.
  6. Select the presets you want to import, then click Open.

Reset to original date and time

  1. In the Image Browser, select the image or images you want to reset the date for.
  2. Right-click the thumbnail(s) and then, in the context menu, Select Edit shot date… (you can also use the Image > Edit shot date… menu, or click on the pencil in the Metadata palette, More subpalette, to the right of Shot Date.
  3. In the Edit shot date window, click the Revert to original1 button.
  4. A dialog box informs you that the operation cannot be undone. Click Continue to confirm.
  5. The date and time are reset and the dialog box closes.

Synchronization, reading, writing of metadata and conflict resolution

Metadata synchronization

When you enter information in the IPTC fields and/or keywords, everything is saved in the DxO PhotoLab database and applied to exported images if desired.

If you enable metadata synchronization in Preferences, this information will also be saved in the .XMP sidecar files (for RAW images) or in the headers for DNG, JPEG and TIFF files. This will let you make use of this information in other versions of DxO PhotoLab and other photography software packages able to use it (Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, etc.).

Metadata synchronization also ensures that the information remains the same and is up to date in both the database and the XMP sidecar files. This means that if you add, modify or delete metadata outside of DxO PhotoLab, the DxO PhotoLab database will be automatically updated.

When synchronization is enabled, XMP appendix files are automatically created for files that do not have them.

Mac

To enable metadata synchronization:

  1. Go to Preferences (DxO PhotoLab menu).
  2. Go to the Advanced tab.
  3. Check Always synchronize.
  4. If there is a difference between the DxO PhotoLab database and the XMP sidecar file, a dialog box will warn that you risk losing metadata by overwriting.
  5. Click OK to confirm and exit the Preferences (enabling synchronization does not require a restart).

PC

To enable metadata synchronization:

  1. Go to Preferences (Edit menu).
  2. Go to the General tab.
  3. Check Always synchronize.
  4. If there is a difference between the DxO PhotoLab database and the XMP sidecar file, a dialog box will warn that you risk losing metadata by overwriting.
  5. Click OK to confirm and exit the Preferences (enabling synchronization does not require a restart).

Reading and writing metadata

You can also force metadata to be read from or written to files, which also helps resolve potential conflicts (see Conflict resolution below).

On both Mac and PC, you can find the following options in the File > Metadata menu:

Conflict resolution

If you are using multiple photo programs, or a cataloger, and you edit or change metadata, these changes will automatically be reflected in the DxO PhotoLab database, provided you have enabled metadata synchronization.

If you have not enabled metadata synchronization, you may find yourself with a metadata conflict, as indicated by a specific icon. However, you have the option to resolve the conflict:

  1. Click on the metadata conflict icon.
  2. A dialog box informs you that the metadata has been modified by a third-party application.
  3. If you choose Write to image, the information stored in the DxO PhotoLab database takes precedence and will overwrite the information in the XMP sidecar.
  4. If you choose Read from image, the information in the XMP sidecar file takes precedence and will overwrite the information in the DxO PhotoLab database.
  5. The checkbox lets you resolve the conflict for all images in the folder.
  6. The metadata is updated, the dialog closes and the metadata conflict icon disappears.

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