10 Responses to “Viewing EXIF information with ExifTool”

  1. Top:

    Thanks for a very informative post. I went through the steps and installed everything just as you mentioned, but am not getting an option to “run ExifTool” when I right click.

    Does this only work with a specific Windows OS install? I’m running Win XP SP2. Your registry dialog looks like XP, so not sure what might be the problem. I double checked the registry entry and even rebooted my machine. I did test out the ExifTool executable by dragging and dropping an image on the executable, and that option does work. Any suggestions on other steps to try would be welcomed.

    While the following is not a Mac only option, it does give those on the Mac platform another way to run ExifTool. Jeffrey Friedl has used Phil Harveys work and built a web front end for it. You can access this at http://regex.info/exif.cgi and either browse to an image on your local machine, or point to one on the web. The display is quite nice and he has grouped the various metadata containers together (Exif, IPTC, XMP, ICC, etc). There is also an option to add this as a javascript toolbar item if you wish, but this doesn’t work with MSIE. It does however, work great with recent versions of Firefox and Safari.

    Hope that gives folks a couple of options.


  2. 2 TopL

    Hi David,

    I’m also using XP SP2, so the OS shouldn’t be the problem.
    Check to ensure that the entry actually appears in the registry. Here’s what you’ll need to do:
    1. Start up “regedit”
    Go to Start and click on “Run…”
    Type in “regedit” and hit enter
    2. The regedit program will start up. Now navigate the lefthand column to: My Computer->HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT->*->shell
    3. There you should see a key called “ExifTool”. There should be one entry on the righthand column that says something like: “(Default)”, “REG_SZ”, “Run ExifTool”.
    This is what puts the action into the right click context menu. Make sure it’s there.
    4. Since you’re already at the right location in the registry, you might as well check that the command is correct as well. Under the “ExifTool” key, there should be another key called “command”. There should also be one entry: “(Default)”, “REG_SZ”, “C:\Program Files\ExifTool\exiftool(-k).exe %1”
    4. Ensure that the path points to where your ExifTool is installed.

    Let me know if all that is correct.

    Thanks for the info on the Mac!


  3. Top:

    I did as you said, and it looks like it may not be getting installed.

    I found the section in Reg edit:
    My Computer

    There are lots of shell setting, so I assume you mean the one that only says “shell” and not “shell.application” etc. There were also some under EXIF.EXIFImage, but none of those had any command folders.

    I do not see a key (folder) called “ExifTool” under in side the Shell key.

    What I do see is another folder called “shell” (all lower case) and within that two additional folders, called explore and open. Each of those have a folder called “command” within them, but the keys which have a name of (default) are of the Type REG_EXPAND or REG_EXPAND_SZ but both appear to be something to do with Explorer.

    So it appears that double clicking the “run_exiftool.reg” file is not putting the key where it belongs. Is there another way to do this?

    BTW, I am the administrator for this machine, and logged in as such.

    I’ll try on my laptop and see if I have any better luck there in the interim.

    Glad to help on the online access, though I should point out that this option is not limited on any particular OS. The basic http://regex.info/exif.cgi should work from any browser, windows, mac or unix. Very handy when trying to explain to an editor how they can get the Caption for an image when they don’t own Photoshop, etc.

    There is also a tie in to Maps on Google, that will work if the image has embedded GPS data. See http://tinyurl.com/37th2h for a sample of one of my images that has embedded GPS and ties into a map.


  4. Top:

    Ok, I missed that asterisk in your earlier reply. I’ve now found the entry, and it is in the registry.

    The run_exiftool.reg has:

    @=”C:\\Program Files\\ExifTool\\exiftool(-k).exe %1″

    And I verified the path in the Regedit window, as it reads,

    C:\Program Files\ExifTool\exiftool(-k).exe %1

    And the file is indeed located within the

    C:\Program Files\ExifTool\


    I have a lot of other things on my right-click menu, could it be that there are too many other things and it’s not showing because of that…. or could it be that it’s under a submenu? I check under the “Open With” menu, but it’s not showing there.

    Just repeated the process on my Laptop (also running WinXP pro, SP1). No luck there either and the entry does show up in the registry when I check Regedit.



  5. 5 TopL

    Hi David,

    That is indeed quite puzzling. Just to double check myself, I went through the same steps on my notebook computer, and it all worked. I installed exiftool, downloaded the reg file, double clicked on it and added the entry to my registry, and voila, “Run ExifTool” was in my right click context menu. I didn’t have to change anything in the registry entry file.

    Has anyone else got this to work successfully? Did anyone else run into the same problem as David?


  6. Top:

    I think that either one of my other metadata readers is preventing ExifTool from appearing in my right-click menu, or I’ve maxed out the menu with the number of items.

    I say this because I did see the option appear, but only when I happened to be looking at a different file format. I just did some checking, and I CAN see the “Run ExifTool” option appear when I right click on Acrobat (PDF), Photoshop (PSD), GIF, or DNG files.

    However, when I right click on TIFF and JPEG files it doesn’t not appear. I do have PixVue and XnView installed, so not sure if those are blocking my viewing of the ExifTool option, or if because they are appear that there are so many option that the menu can’t also show the Run ExifTool option.

    I just did quick count and there are 21 different menu options when I right-click on a TIFF file and 24 when I right-click on a JPEG. Do you or anyone else know if the issue might be that I can’t display that many options on a single right-click menu?


  7. 7 TopL

    Hi David,

    Glad that you’ve debugged it to that stage. No, I’m not aware of any limitation on the number of items you can add. I did a quick Google and didn’t find anything obvious. Maybe someone else (from the small number of people who actually read this :-)) can chime in.


  8. 8 Billy

    Why when I open an image with exiftool, it opens, they scrolls info very fast and then the window closes? Seems like its working, but closes.

  9. 9 TopL

    Hi Billy,

    Did you remove the “(-k)” in the name of the program? That’s needed to keep the window open after the info is displayed. If you did rename the program, you’ll need to add the “-k” to the invocation line again as an argument.


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