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Set IPTC Photo Metadata for Search Engines

Parts of this page show information for a specific operating system, you can select the variant focusing on yours in the Navigation.


How To Use this Site and its Tools

This site will enable you to define a set of metadata, download this as a packet, and then embed this information directly into one or many of your photos in a single operation.
We invite you to read the sections Overview and Make use of this site first as they show the options in use you have. Then you can pick what you prefer.
Generic notes for reading this page:
- The guidelines below use the term directory, this is the same as the also well known term folder.
- All the file names below include file name extensions like .exe, .app, .cmd, .sh, .jpg and more. Depending on the setting of your Windows Explorer, your Apple Finder or your Linux Desktop GUI they may be displayed or not. Therefore a file named set-iptc-pmd-searchengines-tool_windows.zip may be visible as set-iptc-pmd-searchengines-tool_windows with a type like "zip file" or "compressed file" in the Explorer or Finder or Linux Desktop GUI.
Note for using downloaded files:
During expanding a downloaded ToolPackage zip file or at the first time of using a program or script your computer operating system may show a warning about an "unknown publisher" or an "unidentified developer". Please trust our tools and ...
... on a Windows computer just click on the “Run” button to continue. If you do not want to see this warning again, be sure to un-tick the checkbox at the lower-left labeled “Always ask before opening this file” before clicking “Run.”
... on a macOS computer just click on OK, then hold down the Control key and click - or on a mouse with two buttons: right-click - the icon and select open. Another warning will appear, select the option to authorize the app. This will only happen on first use, see this Apple Support page for more details.

Overview

Here is an overview of the workflow to embed IPTC photo metadata into your images:
  1. Download the Tool Package from this site and install it, and install the program ExifTool (if required for your operating system). A one-time only step.
  2. Enter your photo metadata using this site and create a file to download and embed it
  3. Embed the metadata into image files:
    Option 1: Copy the image files you want to contain the embedded metadata to a specific directory. Run a program from the installed Tool Package to embed the metadata into the file(s).
    This option may be better for embedding metadata into files gathered from many different directories.
    Option 2: Drop image files and/or directory/ies with image files on a special program which copies the file(s) to a temporary directory and embeds the metadata into all dropped files.
    This option may be better for embedding metadata into some files or subdirectories of a specific directory using a file browser (Explorer, Finder, ...).
  4. Recommended: check if metadata are embedded properly. Check some sample images at least each time you download and embed a new file with your metadata.
  5. Move the modified image files to another directory of your choice

Make use of this site - step by step

The steps below refer to steps of the workflow overview above.
Installing the Tool Package and ExifTool
  • Step 1.1:
    a) Create a directory in your file system for the purpose of embedding photo metadata displayed by search engines. It will be referenced as Tool Package directory in these guidelines.
    b) Download the Tool Package for the operating system of your computer:
    b.1) for Windows named set-iptc-pmd-searchengines-tool_windows.zip to this new directory.
    b.2) for macOS named set-iptc-pmd-searchengines-tool_macos.zip to this new directory.
    b.3) for Linux named set-iptc-pmd-searchengines-tool_linux.zip to this new directory.
    c) Uncompress this zip file there. If a warning is shown please read the Note for using downloaded files above.
    d) Check if this directory has a sub-directory named images. If not: create a directory with this name.
    Find below details about the content of this Tool Package and how to test its basic functions (recommended!).
  • Step 1.2:
    You may have to install the program ExifTool. If you have installed ExifTool already on your computer you can skip this Step 1.2.
    * If you are using Windows as operating system it is not required to install ExifTool, the ExifTool program (version 11.96) is included in the Tool Package as file named exiftool_windows.exe. (Version 11.96 of 24 April 2020 supports all metadata fields required for this purpose.)
    * If you are using Apple's macOS or Linux as operating system, install ExifTool. The ExifTool home page provides a package for macOS and Unix/Linux plus installation instructions for macOS and Unix platforms (including Linux).
Create and download your photo metadata
  • Step 2.1: Go to the Metadata Form of this site and type your values in the available fields. Finally click the  Generate Photo Metadata  button.
  • Step 2.2: This action will take you to a page showing the results. If everything worked correctly, you should see the words "It worked" below the headline "Result after ...", this is your confirmation that the generated data is ok to download.
    To download, click on the link in the green box that says  Download this IPTC Photo Metadata object ...  - and the the file myiptcpmd.json will be downloaded to a directory defined by your browser.
    If you want to see the to-be-downloaded data for ExifTool you can click on the "Show metadata object" link - the page will expand and a box will appear with the JSON code.
    The results page also shows the Structured HTML Metadata as used by Google, it corresponds to the used fields.
  • Step 2.3: Copy or move the file myiptcpmd.json from your download directory to the directory where you had installed the Tool Package. There should be already a file with this name, overwrite it (your operating system may show a popup window asking you to confirm this overwrite).
Option 1: Embed photo metadata by running a program
(Note: in a previous version a shell script was used for all operating systems. This script is replaced by an executable for Windows and macOS.)
  • Step 3.1: Select a set of photos into which you want to embed your photo metadata and copy them to this images directory - don't use original files! Be aware: If you have subdirectories of the images directory, any images within will also be embedded with metadata!
  • Step 3.2: Run the program for embedding the metadata in the directory of your installed Tool Package. Just activate the file name that starts with embedIPTCpmd_RUN.... and ends with your operating system. First the program will search for an installed ExifTool and if not found it will exit. If found, the program will launch ExifTool as a command line program and will embed the metadata of the myiptcpmd.json into all files in the images directory and its subdirectories. Be aware, only files with these file name extension are processed: .jpg .jpeg .tif .tiff .png .dng .psd.
    How to run the program ...
    ... on a Windows computer: double-click on embedIPTCpmd_RUNorDROP_windows.exe
    If a warning is shown please read the Note for using downloaded files above.
    ... on a macOS computer: Hold the Control Key down and click on embedIPTCpmd_RUNorDROP_macos.app.
    ... on a Linux computer: double-click on embedIPTCpmd_RUN_linux.sh
    Note for macOS and Linux computers: you may have to enable the program to be executed by a chmod +x embedIPTCpmd_RUNorDROP_macos.app or chmod +x embedIPTCpmd_RUN_linux.sh command.
Option 2: Embed photo metadata by dropping files or directories on a program
  • If you are using the Linux operating system: sorry, no such program is available for Linux as not all Desktop GUIs support dropping files, please use the run program option above.
  • Step 3.1: Select 1 up to 200 image files and/or directories with multiple image files into which you want to embed your photo metadata with your Windows Explorer or Mac Finder. You may select both, files and directories, for each drop.
  • Step 3.2: Drag and then drop the file(s) and/or directory/ies on the program in the Tool Package directory.
    On a Windows computer drop on embedIPTCpmd_RUNorDROP_windows.exe
    If a warning is shown please read the Note for using downloaded files above.
    On a macOS computer drop on embedIPTCpmd_RUNorDROP_macos.app.
    If a warning is shown please read the Note for using downloaded files above.
  • Step 3.3: The dropped file(s) and/or directory/ies (with all files in it) should be copied to the subdirectory dropped_images of the Tool Package directory. Before starting the copying the available free space of the drive of the Tool Package directory is checked, if it is not sufficient the program stops. A notice is written to the text file embedIPTCpmd_drop-log.txt.
  • Step 3.4: Then the program will launch ExifTool and will embed the metadata of the myiptcpmd.json into the dropped image file(s) or all image files of the dropped directory/ies. Be aware, only files with these file name extension are processed: .jpg .jpeg .tif .tiff .png .dng .psd.
  • Step 3.5: Look for the dropped and processed image file(s): any dropped file or directory should appear in the subdirectory dropped_images of the Tool Package directory. A dropped directory is a subdirectory of dropped_images.
    In the Tool Package directory all processed image files and/or directories are recorded in the text file embedIPTCpmd_drop-log.txt. Check if the correct files or directories were processed.
Checking and archiving image files with just embedded metadata
  • Step 4: You should check the metadata embedded into image files at least each time you have downloaded and embedded metadata from a new myiptcpmd.json file. See below the How to Check Embedded Metadata section.
  • Step 5.1: Copy or move all the image files from the images or dropped_images directory to a directory where they are archived.
  • Step 5.2: After clearing the images or dropped_images directory - don't forget images in subdirectories - you can select another set of your image files.
  • Step 5.3: Continue with embedding the same metadata.
    For using Option 1 (embed with program) copy other files to the images directory and embed the same photo metadata as described above.
    For using Option 2 (embed by dropping) drop other files and/or directories on a program and embed the same photo metadata as described above.
  • As long as your metadata displayed by search engines does not change you can reuse the metadata in the myiptcpmd.json file for as many times as you wish!
    If other metadata should be embedded go back to Step 2.

How to Check Embedded Metadata

You can check metadata embedded into an image file by using the Get IPTC Photo Metadata site.
  • Select the image files you will check - this should be at least a subset of images.
  • Go to https://getpmd.iptc.org - IPTC's site for displaying metadata embedded into image files
  • There use Option B (Metadata embedded into an image uploaded from your computer):
  • Pick one of the photos in the images or the dropped_images directory with the "Select image file ..." file selector.
    Select for "What is shown" the option "Metadata relevant for photos shown as result by search engines" .
  • Click on  Get Photo Metadata of Local Image .
  • Then you should see metadata embedded into this image file displayed by search engines. Check if the values are correct. If not: go back to the Metadata Form of this site, generate and download the metadata again, embed it and test again.

The Tool Package Content

Package for Windows
The compressed set-iptc-pmd-searchengines-tool_windows.zip file includes:
  • Directory images. It is empty.
  • Directory no-metadata-test-images. It includes three JPEG image files with no embedded metadata. You may use them for testing by copying one or more files into the images directory.
  • File embedIPTCpmd_RUNorDROP_windows.exe: the program for embedding metadata into image file of the images directory by running it or by dropping files on it on a Windows computer.
  • File exiftool_windows.exe: the ExifTool program file for Windows only!
  • File myiptcpmd.json: a sample of ExifTool data for embedding IPTC photo metadata into the image files in the images directory. It is not required to keep the sample file, if you want to keep it for e.g. testing you should rename it.
Package for macOS
The compressed set-iptc-pmd-searchengines-tool_macos.zip file includes:
  • Directory images. It is empty.
  • Directory no-metadata-test-images. It includes three JPEG image files with no embedded metadata. You may use them for testing by copying one or more files into the images directory.
  • File embedIPTCpmd_RUNorDROP_macos.app: the program for embedding metadata into image file of the images directory by running it or by dropping files on it on a macOS computer.
  • File myiptcpmd.json: a sample of ExifTool data for embedding IPTC photo metadata into the image files in the images directory. It is not required to keep the file, if you want to keep it you should rename it.
Package for Linux
The compressed set-iptc-pmd-searchengines-tool_linux.zip file includes:
  • Directory images. It is empty.
  • Directory no-metadata-test-images. It includes three JPEG image files with no embedded metadata. You may use them for testing by copying one or more files into the images directory.
  • File embedIPTCpmd_RUN_linux.sh: the program (strictly said: the shell script) for embedding metadata on a Linux computer.
  • File myiptcpmd.json: a sample of ExifTool data for embedding IPTC photo metadata into the image files in the images directory. It is not required to keep the file, if you want to keep it you should rename it.

Test the Basic Functions of the Tool Package (after installing it)

Test the program for embedding metadata by running it
  • Copy JPEG files from the no-metadata-test-images directory to the images directory.
  • Execute the program for your operating system, see the details in the step-by-step guideline above. If macOS or Linux complains this program cannot be executed apply the chmod command as described in the guideline above. This change should be persistent.
     Executing this program will embed the sample photo metadata of this default myiptcpmd.json, using a photographer named Jane Doe and the Photo Agency XYZ as copyright holder and licensor.
  • If executing the program looked successfully check an image file in the images directory. See above the How to Check Embedded Metadata section.
Test the program for embedding metadata by dropping image files on it
On a Linux computer: sorry, no such program is available as not all Desktop GUIs support dropping files, please use the run program option above.
  • Go to the no-metadata-test-images directory and select all three files.
  • Drag and drop these files 
    ... on a Windows computer on embedIPTCpmd_RUNorDROP_windows.exe.
    If a warning is shown please read the Note for using downloaded files above.
    ... on a macOS computer on embedIPTCpmd_RUNorDROP_macos.app.
    If a warning is shown please read the Note for using downloaded files above.
  • The dropped files, now with embedded metadata, should be in the dropped_images subdirectory of the Tool Package directory.
  • Have a look into the log file of this program: the text file embedIPTCpmd_drop-log.txt in the Tool Package directory
  • If executing the program with dropped files looked successfully check an image file in the dropped_images directory. See above the How to Check Embedded Metadata section.

Contacts

For questions regarding IPTC Photo Metadata join IPTC's public photo metadata forum.
For issues regarding this site post yours at the corresponding Github repository.
It is strongly recommended to follow the workflow described on the How To Use page.
Disclaimer: IPTC, the party running this site, is not liable for any demages to image files and embedded metadata arising from the use of this site and the associated Tool Package.