Metadata Tags for Photos (Vista)

In a previous post, my focus was on metadata tagging of photos for users of Windows XP.  For those of us using Windows Vista, the ability to use metadata for photo files is much greater with more flexibility.


One form of metadata available to Windows Vista users is a Tag. Think of tags the same way you think of labels for blog posts: tags are a series of “keywords” that you develop which allow you to group items together under a common theme. In this blog labels such as Profile or Applications are frequently used.

vista photo metadata 01

In the image below, I have used tags to label my census images for my genealogy research. I created tags such as 1900 Census, 1880 Census, etc. This tag system will then allow me to sort on the Tag column.

vista photo metadata 02

Entering data for tags, and in fact, for several basic metadata fields is made much easier in Windows Vista. There is no need to right-click over a file and select Properties. Go to the panel at the bottom of the Windows Explorer screen and you can select and edit any field.

vista photo metadata 03


The metadata fields available when using Windows Vista are much more robust than Windows XP. If you right-click over a photo file, select Properties and then select the Details tab, you will see many more fields including those automatically populated by your digital camera.

vista photo metadata 04

Warning! Genea-geek speak ahead! Instead of the EXIF standard used in Windows XP, Vista utilizes the XMP (Extensible Media Platform) standard developed by Adobe Systems, Inc. With XMP metadata, there are many more fields available plus you can perform bulk edits of metadata either using Windows Live Photo Gallery or various third-party applications. Some of the more popular XMP-based metadata programs are iTag and Pictomio.

© 2009, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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About Thomas MacEntee

What happens when a “tech guy” with a love for history gets laid off during The Great Recession of 2008? You get Thomas MacEntee, a genealogy professional who’s also a blogger, educator, author, social media connector, online community builder and more. Thomas was laid off after a 25-year career in the information technology field, so he started his own genealogy-related business called High Definition Genealogy. He also created an online community of over 3,000 family history bloggers known as GeneaBloggers. His most recent endeavor, Hack Genealogy, is an attempt to “re-purpose today’s technology for tomorrow’s genealogy.” Thomas describes himself as a lifelong learner with a background in a multitude of topics who has finally figured out what he does best: teach, inspire, instigate, and serve as a curator and go-to-guy for concept nurturing and inspiration. Thomas is a big believer in success, and that we all succeed when we help each other find success.

2 thoughts on “Metadata Tags for Photos (Vista)

  1. Brilliant! My new computer has Vista and I’ve been playing with tags. I like your system so much better than what I’ve been doing. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. Some days I’m just so overwhelmed by all the information out there! I think I am spending too much time trying to get a handle on everything FIRST and not actually doing anything. It’s just that everyone else seems to know so much – I was just getting so proud of myself for scanning to tiff and then making a jpg copy for my “play” file! I think I’ll just wander over to the corner now and cry while my head explodes…but really, thanks for sharing all this info (even if it makes me cry). I appreciate you sharing all your knowledge in such an accessible way – I even understand most of it 😉

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