You have likely heard the oft-repeated claim that a “picture is worth a thousand words” many times before, yet with the majority of photos now being taken digitally, they hold more information than just their contents.
A photo’s EXIF data can identify a great deal about it, including the date and time of capture and the device used to take the photo in the first place. Not everyone wants this kind of information stored in their pictures, but it isn’t easy to see how this can be changed. Here’s how you can do so in Windows.
“Build” the EXIF Tool
Begin by downloading EXIF Tool; it’s a piece of freeware that allows you to modify EXIF data via Command Prompt, though we’ll be using it differently. The download contains an .exe called “exiftool(-k).exe”.
Remove the (-k) from the file name. Depending on your archival tool, you may need to extract it beforehand. WinRAR, in our experience, was able to rename it prior to extraction. Regardless of when renamed, move the .exe to somewhere suitable. Though EXIF Tool is more frequently updated than the GUI, the two still manage to work together without issue.
Having placed EXIF Tool in a position you feel happy with, download EXIFToolGUI: this is a third-party graphical interface for the tool. The folder will contain “EXIFToolGUI.exe,” and this can be extracted to the same location as the tool.
When both components have been moved to the same directory, you can open the GUI. Depending on the version of Windows being used, you may need to give it permission to run.
Should you open the “About” section of the GUI, it is possible you’ll see two components marked as “Missing.” To rectify this, open the GUI archive and look in the folder marked “jpegtran.” Inside the folder you’ll find two .exes. Move them to the same location, then open the GUI again. After doing this, they should appear as “Ready.”
Edit EXIF Tags
Now that the tool is ready to accomplish the task, you can navigate the folders on your computer using the menus on the left.
When in a folder containing images you can click them to view a preview in the corner and the current EXIF information in the right-side pane. Along the top are three labelled buttons with three further buttons below them. Clicking the buttons below will open a window in which various elements can be edited.
Simply change the fields you desire, and then click “save.” In many cases, it can be surprising just how much is stored in the picture’s EXIF tags. Should you have a meticulously curated image library, you can then adjust tags to sort things to your liking.
Upon saving changes to an image, you will notice an “Original” version of the picture with the older tags intact as well. This is convenient in the event something goes wrong or the program crashes; in our experience this did not happen, though it is quite clear the GUI’s developer had this possibility in mind. The checkbox above the “Save” button allows this to be enabled or disabled as desired.
Editing EXIF files might seem an arduous process considering just how much is put into getting a powerful tool for doing so. However, it is not nearly as complex as it might seem: while EXIF Tool is extremely powerful on its own, a GUI simply makes it that much more usable for the majority. While developed by two different parties, the two work together exceptionally well and should hopefully make very fine edits of pictures easier.
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